Full-color eBook reader needs only 8-bits of muscle

[Rossum's] still coming up with great ways to use his microtouch hardware. This time, he’s taken his inspiration from Amazon’s announcement that a full-color eBook reader (and movie player) is on the way. Judging from the video after the break, his fully functional reader is a big win for the device.

You’re probably familiar with the hardware, an ATmega644-based board connected to a touch sensitive LCD screen. You can make your own or buy one pre-assembled (but currently out-of-stock). The board has a microSD card slot making it quite easy to add books to the device. At the start of the project [Rossum] thought he might be able to read ePub files directly, but the embedded images, and unzip function needed to open the package file is a bit too much for the 8-bit processor’s restrictions. One simple step does the trick. A helper script can be used to format the files before transferring them to the device. This does the unzipping, scales the images, and repaginates the text into a format friendly for the display size.

Now if we only had a nice little case to house the hardware we’d be in business.

[Read more...]

Super Pixel Bros now with manufactured PCB and rewritten software

[Retro Brad] has come a long way with his 8×8 gaming device which he calls Super Pixel Bros. The newest rendition has a fab house PCB and freshly rewritten code. The game is still played on an 8×8 LED matrix, but it looks like he’s sourced a version with square pixels, which is a nice touch since he was inspired by the block-based Super Mario games. Also new in this version is the character LCD screen which displays score, level, and life information. But it’s not just the shiny new hardware that’s different, he’s rewritten the software in Swordfish Basic to run on the PIC 18F4550. The new code allowed him to tweak how levels are loaded and stored. He’s even written a level editor and has finished 20 levels thus far.

The demo after the break does a great job of showing off the hardware and the game play. He’s added a lot, including enemies, the ability to shoot fire, and of course the common moves of jumping and breaking blocks is all there. He mentioned that the fab house he used is selling boards for around $5 and he’s looking into the possibility of getting a kit service up and running.

His progress since we last checked in on the project is quite impressive.

[Read more...]

Hackaday Links: August 21, 2011

Arduino + PS2 controller + R2D2

Here’s an unbelievably real-looking R2D2 replica driven by a PS2 controller with an Arduino inside that plays sounds from the movies. Too bad we couldn’t find any more details about it. [Thanks Bill]

Server build time-lapse

[Justin] and his colleagues spent five days upgrading their server by building a 29-unit cluster. Lucky for us they set up a web-cam to capture the process.

Cockroach computer

Behold this working desktop computer, complete with monitor and mouse. We’re not sure how it was done, or what it’s for, but worth a peek just because of its size. [Thanks Harald via Dvice]

Modelling self-assembling viruses

A 3D printer and magnets were used to build this model of a self-assembling virus. Shake the jar and it falls apart. Shake a bit more and it’ll rebuild itself… it has the technology.

Tardis cufflinks

[Simon] is exercising his geek chic with these Tardis cuff links. The Doctor Who inspired accessories were made from a model railroad telephone booth.

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.

[Read more...]

Sleek, disc-less GameCube handheld

sd_card_gamecube_handheld

Console hacker [techknott] has a skill set that is quite possibly second to none. We do love [Ben Heck] and think that his portable consoles are beyond awesome, but you’ve got to check out this portable GameCube [techknott] put together.

While the construction details are pretty sparse, the video below shows off the bulk of the portable ‘Cube’s best features. Far smaller than his Flip-Top GameCube or Dreamcast portables we’ve featured in the past, his new handheld sports a wider screen and is completely disc-less. While the legality of booting backup copies of games from an SD card is something we won’t delve into, we do like the concept.

The console itself is probably only about one and a half times the width of a standard GameCube controller, and while it doesn’t sport an internal battery pack, we wouldn’t turn one down. Besides, who wants to play GameCube outside? With one of these in hand, we are more than happy to keep our pasty selves indoors, thank you very much.

The only complaint we have here is the lack of build details. [techknott’s] handheld consoles are pretty amazing – we just wish that we could see how the magic was made!

Be sure to check out the video below to see the console in action.

[Thanks, Dave]

[Read more...]

FrankenKindle: building an alternate Kindle keyboard

If you’ve ever thought the Kindle keyboard was a bit cramped you’re not alone. [Glenn's] been working on developing an external keyboard for the Kindle for quite some time. It may not make easier for everyone to use, but he’s motivated to improve usability for his sister who has Cerebral Palsy.

We see a lot of keyboard hacks that solder straight to the pads under the buttons, but for a compact device like the Kindle this would really mess things up. Instead of going that route, [Glenn] sourced a 20-pin Flexible Flat Cable and breakout board that match the internal Kindle connector. The prototype seen above uses a TS3A5017 serial multiplexer chip to simulate the keyboard button presses. That multiplexer is driven by a Teensy++ microcontroller board which is monitoring a larger set of buttons on the V.Reader seen above. Check out the video after the break for a brief demonstration, then look around at the rest of [Glenn's] blog posts to view different steps of the development cycle.

[Read more...]

A Professional Looking N64 Portable Build

Although Hack A Day is no stranger to console conversions, this portable N64 build is worthy of note. The article itself is in Spanish, but for those that don’t speak the language, the steps and components necessary are well documented in pictures. There’s even a video of the finished product after the break.

What is especially interesting about this project is the professional looking build quality of the finished product. One might think it’s a custom injection molding job or possibly 3D printed, but everything is done with only glue, filler, and paint. A controller and console is hacked up to provide the raw materials for this build. An expansion pack is even attached to this console for good measure.

Power is provided by a 6800mA battery, and the console features a generous 7 inch display. A good wiring schematic is also provided in this article, so maybe it will inspire other quality console hacking in the future. [Read more...]