Portable gets a proper home in an arcade controller

[Luke] wanted an arcade-style controller that he could use for some gaming at home. He decided to use a portable game emulator as a base and then added his own joystick and buttons along with a custom case.

The donor hardware is a Dingo A320. It’s a nice little handheld with a 2.8″ screen, and plenty of potential to emulate games like Donkey Kong seen above, or to play homebrew. It’s even been the target of some RAM upgrades we looked in on in the past. The best part for [Luke's] project is that it includes a video out port.

In the clip after the break you can see that [Luke] now has a compact controller with a huge arcade joystick, four buttons on the top surface, and the rest of the controls all around the edges of the enclosure. The video out option is selected in the menu system, so he preserved the original LCD for use during configuration.

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Most useless machine upgrade — now with a button!

There’s a soft spot in our hearts for pointless projects, as long as they’re well executed. [Bertho] really hit the mark with his take on the most useless machine. We’ve seen several renditions of this concept, most of them hinging on a box that will turn a mechanical switch off whenever you turn it on. But this take uses a push button to activate a switch flipping mechanism on another part of the machine.

You can see the drive gears in the image above. The final gear has a small bar which flips a switch to one side or the other. The circuit does this without the need of a microcontroller. A 7400 series NAND gate chip, some passive components, and two mechanical relays are all it takes. At each push of the button, the logic chip trips one of the relays to trigger the appropriate motor direction based on the current state of that switch. You can press the button during movement, but all that will do is delay the inevitable flip of the switch.

1 Chip USB AVR Development

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an AVR microcontroller with USB device support built in so you would not need a separate programmer or serial link? Well in fact there are quite a few of them, and this awesome tutorial (google translate) is a quick and easy crash course in using the ATMega 16/32U4 micro controllers.

These 8 bit AVR’s (16k and 32k) have the usual list of features you would expect in a Mega AVR. 26 GPIO pins and a pretty easy to solder 44 pin surface mount package, the micro controller also has a USB 2.0 Full-speed/Low Speed Device Module and allows programming though a standard bootloader.

Once you have a pretty standard board assembled you need Atmel’s FLIP RS232, USB, or CAN device programming software (Windows or Linux) and your favorite AVR IDE setup, you’re good to go!

Join us after the break for a quick video.

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RC car hack saves lives in war zone

R.I.P sand-colored radio-controlled truck. Your life ended with a bang and in doing so, saved some lives. This little work-horse is a hack that [Ernie Fessenden] put together and sent to his brother [Sergeant Chris Fessenden] who is on a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

[Chris'] team is trained to be on the lookout for roadside bombs, but [Ernie] wanted to sent him something cool that could also keep him safe. By adding a camera to the hood of the Traxxis Stampede and using a gun-mountable LCD screen, the soldiers now have a way to see what’s on the road ahead from their armored Humvee. Sounds like it would work just fine right? Well the hack just got a big endorsement when it tripped an IED made of around 500 pounds of explosives. [Chris] and five other soldiers on patrol were unharmed in the event, and [Ernie] already has a replacement model on the way.

[Thanks Rioexxo and Alex]

More proof that battlefield hacks deserve a place next to some of the high-ticket items you’d usually associate with weapons of war.

Blow your mind with the Brainwave Disruptor


Whether you believe in it or not, the science behind brainwave entrainment is incredibly intriguing. [Rich Decibels] became interested in the subject, and after doing some research, decided to build an entrainment device of his own.

If you are not familiar with the concept, brainwave entrainment theory suggests that low-frequency light and sound can be used to alter brain states, based on the assumption that the human brain will change its frequency to correspond to dominant external stimulus. [Rich’s] device is very similar to [Mitch Altman’s] “Brain Machine”, and uses both of these methods in an attempt to place the user in an altered state of mind.

[Rich] installed a trio of LEDs into a set of goggles, wiring them along with a set of headphones to his laser-cut enclosure. Inside, the Brainwave Disruptor contains an Arduino, which is tasked with both generating light patterns as well as bit-banged audio streams.

Well, how does it work? [Rich] reports that it performs quite nicely, causing both visual and auditory hallucinations along with the complete loss of a sense of time. Sounds interesting enough to give it a try!

VTOL airplane / quadracopter mashup

A few guys from Jobi Robotics came up with a really interesting RC plane called the Quadshot. With 4 motors, the plane is very similar to the quadcopter builds we’ve seen, but an added wing allows it to fly horizontally much faster than a pile of carbon fiber and electronics.

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