Video game installations for kids’ parties

Why won’t someone think of the children?! Actually, some of the best hacks come from entertaining the little ones. Take [Piles of Spam's] two video game builds. The first is a telescope-based controller that is used to shoot virtual cannon balls at a projection of a pirate ship. The second is a two-player cooperative game where one player drives and the other shoots. Both of them use a projector to display the playing field, an IR laser for targeting, and an NTSC camera to pick up the location of the laser dot. This works really well, thanks to the quality of the physical builds, and great audio and video on the game side of things. See for yourself in the clips after the break.

A couple of posts into the thread [Piles of Spam] talks about laser intensity. He wanted to make sure that there wouldn’t be a room full of half-blind five year olds thanks to the targeting system. [Read more...]

555s for your mouse and R/C airplane

[lenny] decided to build a 555-based auto-firing mouse based on a 555 after seeing a similar PIC-based project we posted earlier. Lenny’s version is self-contained in one mouse without requiring a second mouse to act as the rapid-fire button. It uses only a handful of components, costs less than $5 to build, and doesn’t require any programming.

But then, [wfdudley] shakes things up a bit. He added a 4022 counter IC and some diodes to act as logical “OR” gates in order to create a unique blinking pattern (short-short-long) for the lights on a friend’s RC airplane. While this project involves more components, it’s definitely a trickier problem to solve with a 555 timer IC. We love seeing people choosing simplicity in design over popular off-the-shelf microcontroller frameworks as these two have done.

Don’t forget, the 555 Design Contest is still going strong, and you’ve got the entire month of February to submit your awesome designs. We wanted to highlight two of the more clever 555-based hacks that we’ve had in our backlog for a while, though.