Arduino based multiboot cable for Game Boy Advance

[Steve] wanted to do some ARM development and set his sights on the Game Boy Advance as a development package. In order to get his code onto the device he build an Arduino-based communications cable. It is necessary to have a microcontroller involved because the GBA uses a peculiar 16-bit serial communications protocol. This cable is an adaptation from the 8051-based cable developed by [Matt Evans] several years ago. [Steve's] got it working by porting the 8051 assembler over for the Arduino, but we’d recommend adding a level converter to his hardware setup to step down from the Arduino’s 5v logic to the 3.3v logic the GBA expects.

He didn’t make up a wiring diagram, but in the code comments [Steve's] laid out the connections as follows:

Arduino 8 to GBA SO
Arduino 9 to GBA SI
Arduino 10 to GBA SD
Arduino 11 to GBA SC

That’s it, follow the README in his source code package and you’re on your way to some ARM development.

Ditch the LPs and build your own 3D scanner

Find yourself an old record player, a laser level, and a digital scanner and you can build a 3D scanner. That’s what [Rob] did. The camera and laser level are mounted on the turntable for steady rotation. The camera captures the vertical laser line traveling around the room by recording 30 fps at a resolution of 640×480. This data is then translated into a Blender 3D file via a Python script and the Python Image Library. You can scan a whole room or just a small object. The face above is the result of this image capture after a bit of processing. [Rob] found this worked best in the dark and when scanning surfaces that are not reflective.

Make sure you also check out the camera-and-projector scanning method.

Google Summer of Code 2010

Today’s the day the Google announces this year’s participant organizations in the Google Summer of Code. If you’re not tied down to a job this summer we hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity to learn by doing and contribute code to a great open source project all at the same time.

A lot of our favorite software has benefited from GSoC in the past. XBMC has participated before, as well as WordPress, Asterisk, MySQL, Bluez, Natural User Interface Group, and many more.

Student applications are accepted between March 29th and April 9th. If you’re accepted in the program and excel at your work with passing grades at mid-term and final project dates, you’ll see your pockets grow by $5000. Get out there and put your mad coding skills to good use while you have the chance.

LED lighting, a learning experience

[Joel] has a very specific color temperature of lighting he wants in his home. So specific, he’s decided to build his own LED lighting to get it. Actually, he’s still searching for that perfect shade of white, but doing so has learned a lot.  He initially made some very pretty PCBs, but then found that hand soldering them made quite a mess. What better time to delve into reflowing? He shares his positive initiation to the skillet method in his latest update. The search still continues for that nice warm glow he’s desiring. We’ve actually seen [Joel] before, he likes smoked meat.

PCB drill press on a budget

An accurate drill press is an essential tool for making your own through-hole printed circuit boards at home. Reader [Josh Ashby] offers up a solid design using scrap bin materials.

A major issue with PCB drilling is that even the slightest horizontal play will snap the delicate carbide drill bit. Hobbyist-grade tools such as Dremel’s drill press attachment are usually too sloppy for this task, while a more precise instrument might set you back a couple hundred bucks.

[Josh’s] design uses a nylon “sled” moving vertically in an aluminum u-channel track. Most of these materials were salvaged or were acquired inexpensively from a local hardware store, and assembled in less than a day. Surprisingly, this low-tech approach has proven sufficiently smooth that he’s yet to break a bit while drilling. And the entire setup, including the knockoff Harbor Freight rotary tool, cost less than the wobbly name-brand accessory alone.