External pinball controls for an Android tablet

android-pinball-controls

This hack, which adds external flipper controls to Android pinball, is a great way to cut your teeth at Android hardware hacking.

[Ruben] decided to go with the TI Launchpad for this project. The MSP430 dev board offers serial communications via a USB connection, but it’s not quite as easy as just finding the right cable. His tablet does support USB On the Go (OTG), but the board identifies itself as an ACM device which needs to be handled differently. In order to get the tablet talking to the Launchpad he compiled a CDC_ACM module for the Linux underpinnings that make up every Android OS. In this case the module is tailored for the Allwinner A10 chip inside his model of tablet, but it shouldn’t be too hard to adapt his guide for other processors.

Of course you could go a different route and use Bluetooth for connectivity. We’ve seen several gaming peripherals that use this technique with Android devices.

11 thoughts on “External pinball controls for an Android tablet

    1. I assume you mean you are about to begin post 12th grade education. While I’m no expert on the various μprosessor development kits out there, my gut tells me if you are going to do independent study, start using what is going to be used in your classes. The class syllabuses should contain that information.

    2. Now that you know it can be done (this post shows a working example), it’s not hard at all.

      First you copy, then you improve a new version, then you create your very own.

  1. As a veteran in this industry for 30 years, follow vonskippy’s advice. Start with something that works, understand how it works, improve/customize it, then make your own. It’s challeging at first, but easier as time goes on and you can create amazing stuff.

  2. I’m with vonskippy and mike — if you dive in head first, make sure you dive into other folks’ functional projects (software OR hardware related) and learn to understand the work. Also, hang out in forums (I still like IRC for stuff like this) and ask the veterans questions…most will help unless/until you frustrate them!

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