VR Telepresence Tank from Raspberry Pi, Google Cardboard, and Xbox Controller

It’s great to see different kinds of hardware and software tossed into a project together, allowing someone to mix things that don’t normally go together into something new. [Freddy Kilo] did just that with a project he calls his VR Robot Tank. It’s a telepresence device that uses a wireless Xbox controller to drive a tracked platform, which is itself headed by a Raspberry Pi.

The Pi has two cameras on a pan-tilt mount, and those cameras are both aimed and viewed via a Google Cardboard-like setup. A healthy dose of free software glues it together, allowing things like video streaming (with U4VL) and steering via the wireless controller (with xboxdrv). A bit of fiddling was required for some parts – viewing the stereoscopic cameras for example is done by opening and positioning two video windows just right so as to see them through the headset lenses. It doesn’t warp the image to account for the lens distortion in the headset, and the wireless range might be limited, but the end result seems to work well enough.

The tank is driven with the wireless controller while a mobile phone mounted in a headset lets the user see through the cameras; motion sensing in the phone moves those cameras whenever you move your head to look around. Remote Control hobbyists will recognize the project as doing essentially the same job as FPV setups for model aircraft (for example, Drone Racing or even Snow Sleds) but this project uses a completely different hardware and software toolchain. It demonstrates the benefits of having access to open tools to use as virtual “duct tape”, letting people stick different things together to test a concept. It proves almost anything can be made to work if you have a willingness to fiddle!

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Shoving a Raspberry Pi Zero Into an Xbox Controller

With the release of the Raspberry Pi Zero last month, we’ve been waiting in excitement to see the first creative hacks to come out, making use of its tiny size; which if you didn’t know, is smaller than a business card. [Terence Eden] hopped to it and made what might be the first Raspberry Pi Zero emulator: inside an Xbox controller.

10-Pi-Cardboard-insulatorThanks to its small size it’s actually a fairly straight forward hack with minimal modification to the controller in order to make it fit. In fact, you only need to remove the memory card holder from the controller and snip one bit of plastic in order to make it fit right in the middle — awesome.

Now it does stick out a bit as you can see in the pictures, but we’re sure it won’t take someone long to make a 3D printed part that snaps into the controller giving it a more stock appearance. Unfortunately since HDMI can’t carry a power source to the Pi, [Terence] is using a micro-USB to power it — but there is enough space inside the controller for a battery pack if you wanted to make it truly portable.

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Using A TeensyLC To Emulate The XBOX 360 Controller

After the release of Mortal Kombat X, [Zachery’s] gaming group wanted to branch out into the fighter genre. They quickly learned that in order to maximize their experience, they would need a better controller than a standard gamepad. A keyboard wasn’t going to cut it either. They wanted a fight stick. These are large controllers that look very much like arcade fighting controls and include a joystick and large buttons. [Zachery’s] group decided to build their own fight stick for use with a PC.

[Zachery] based his build around the TeensyLC, which is a 32 bit development board with an ARM processor. It’s also compatible with Arduino. The original version of his project setup the controller as a HID, essentially emulating a keyboard. This worked for a while until they ran into compatibility issues with some games. [Zachery] learned that his controller was compatible with DirectInput, which has been deprecated. The new thing is Xinput, and it was going to require more work.

Using Xinput meant that [Zachery] could no longer use the generic Microsoft HID driver. Rather than write his own drivers, he decided to emulate the XBOX 360 controller. When the fight stick is plugged into the computer, it shows up as an XBOX 360 controller and Windows easily installs the pre-built driver. To perform the emulation, [Zachery] first had to set the VID and PID of the device to be identical to the XBOX controller. This is what allows the Microsoft driver to recognize the device.

Next, the device descriptor and configuration descriptor had to be added to the Teensy’s firmware. The device descriptor includes information such as USB version, device class, protocol, etc. The configuration descriptor includes additional information about the device configuration. [Zachery] used Microsoft Message Analyzer to pull the configuration descriptor from a real XBOX 360 controller, then used the same data in his own custom controller.

[Zachery] programmed the TeensyLC using the Arduino IDE. He ran into some trouble here because the IDE did not include the correct device type for an Xinput device. [Zachery] had to edit the boards.txt file and add three lines of code in order to add a new hardware device to the IDE’s menu. Several other files also had to be modified to make sure the compiler knew what an Xinput device type was.  With all of that out of the way, [Zachery] was finally able to write the code for his controller.

Xbox 360 Slim Gets Gutted and… Painted White?

XBox in a Briefcase

We love portable console builds, and this one by [Daniel Fürstauer] is no exception. It’s a beautifully hacked Xbox 360 slim into an aluminum briefcase — complete with a screen and a full audio system!

He started by gutting the Xbox 360 slim and throwing out pretty much all of the original enclosure, minus the disc drive cover. Now what he did next was completely for aesthetics, but freaking awesome. He actually took the motherboard out, taped off some of the important components, and spray painted the entire thing white! We’re not too sure what effect this will have on some of the components, but it seems to work, and gives it a really unique look underneath his Plexiglas enclosure.

He housed the rest of it (complete with custom cooling fans!) inside of one of those nice aluminum briefcases, complete with a widescreen LCD monitor, and computer speakers. He even fit the power supply inside — all you have to do is plug it in! There’s also room for at least one controller, whose holding spot doubles as space for the disc drive to eject. Continue reading “Xbox 360 Slim Gets Gutted and… Painted White?”

The Homebrew XBox 360 And PS3 portable

Cross

For the past few years now, [Downing] has been working on the dream of all console modders – a console made in the last ten years made portable. He’s spend a lot of time on the effort, and now thanks to a commission, he’s finally done it. Not just one console, either: this thing makes both the Xbox 360 and PS3 a handheld, battery-powered device thanks to some awesome wireless tech and a great deal of skill.

A few months ago, [Downing] and friends [Hailrazer] and [RDC] started a Kickstarter for the Cross Plane, a portable device that uses a wireless HDMI transmitter to offload the heavy and hot parts of running a game to a console, while the display and controls are kept portable. That Kickstarter didn’t see the success [Downing] was looking for, but that didn’t stop one enthusiastic supporter from commissioning a piece.

The display in the Cross Plane is a 7″ HD display, and the latency on the WHDMI transmitter is just about 1ms – basically unnoticeable. The controls on the front of the portable are wired to ‘controller packs’ that plug into the back, one for Xbox and one for PS3. The build quality is immaculate, and if you’ve ever wanted to know how to expertly finish a 3D printed part so it looks like it came off an assembly line, you should probably check out the build log.

Video walkthrough below.

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Dr. Frankenstein’s Wireless Xbox One Steering Wheel

Buy an Xbox One controller and hack it immediately? That’s exactly what [tEEonE] did so he could merge it with a Simraceway SRW-S1 steering wheel. He loves racing games and was psyched to play Forza 5. He already had the steering wheel, but it’s strictly a PC peripheral. [tEEonE] wanted the wheel to control the steering, gas, and brakes and found both the XB1 controller and the SRW-S1 well-suited to the hack.

For steering, [tEEonE] substituted the SRW-S1’s accelerometer for the XB1’s left joystick pot. He connected the X and Y to analog pins on an Arduino Pro. Then he mapped the rotation angles to voltage levels using a DAC and wired that to the XB1 joystick output. The XB1 controller uses Hall effect sensors and magnets on the triggers to control the gas and brake. He removed these and wired the SRW-S1 paddles to their outputs and the XB1 controller is none the wiser.

He also rigged up a 3-point control system to control the sensitivity and calibrate the angles: a button to toggle through menu items and two touch modules to increment and decrement the value. These he wired up to a feedback interface made by reusing a 15-LED strip from the SRW-S1. Finally, he had space left inside the housing for the XB1’s big rumble motors and was able to attach the small motors to the gas and brake paddles with the help of some 3-D printed attachments. Check out this awesome hack in action after the break.

 

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Xbox One Headset 2.5 mm Plug Adapter

In all of Microsoft’s grand wisdom they found it necessary to make the new Xbox One headset adapter without a standard 2.5 mm headset jack. People have invested great amounts of money in quality headsets for previous game platforms that now cannot jack into the Xbox One controllers. This may seem like a déjà vu hack from a week ago but it is different and adds more solutions for the annoying Xbox One headset compatibility problem.

[Jon Senkiw] A.K.A [Xandrel] wasn’t having any of this Microsoft nonsense so he cracked open the headset adapter case that plugs into the Xbox One controller. He photographed the PCB and wiring and realized he could fit a 2.5 mm headset jack from an old donor cellphone into the case. A dap of hot glue, some AWG 30 jumper wires and a bit of plastic trimming was all it took to get a jack inside the headset adapter just the way Microsoft should have done from the factory.

Previously when [octanechicken] added a 2.5 mm female phone adapter at the end of the cable he did not connect the black wire to anything being it was the 2nd side of a push-pull speaker. However, from looking at [Jon’s] photos he connected the speaker output wire to a solder pad on the PCB where the black wire originally connected, marked HPL, and he had nothing connected to the HPR pad. This seemed to work for [Jon] just fine, but is the opposite of what [octanechicken] did last week when he connected the blue wire to the speaker output which would have traced back to the HPR pad on the PCB.

This hack makes these controllers backwards compatible without too much issue being reported. If you have issues please report here or on [Jon’s] SE7ENSINS thread. He has also made comments on the thread that he is willing to help mod headsets, so if you’re not able to hack this yourself [Jon] might be willing to help.