A pair of N64 portables

portables

Casemodding has moved far beyond the old portabalized Ataris and NESes of only a few years ago. Now, the new hotness is more modern consoles including the GameCube, Dreamcast, and the venerable N64. Two N64 case mods rolled into our tip line over the past few days, and we can’t think of a better display of case fabrication and console modification than these two.

First up is [Travis]‘s N64 handheld. The case was constructed out of a sheet of ABS plastic with Bondo used to make everything sleek and smooth. There’s a 7″ display in this handheld as well as two LiIon batteries able to provide up to three hours of play time. The fit and finish on this build is spectacular, a testament to [Travis]‘ patience and Bondo skills.

Next up is a very very tiny build claiming to be the smallest N64 portable. It’s the work of [bud] and is barely larger than an N64 cartridge. Inside is a 3.5 inch screen and enough LiPos to provide about 2 hours of gaming time. Unlike other (larger) builds, [bud] put the cartridge slot on the outside of the case allowing the cartridge to stick out at a 90 degree angle.

Both very awesome builds that really show off what can be done with a lot of sanding and body filler. You can check out the videos for each casemod after the break.

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Fantastic programming makes this Arduino gaming device something special

The hardware that went into this Arduino gaming console is just fine. But the coding that produced this game called Twisted SNAKE is beyond compare. [Rodot] has programmed several games for the hardware, which uses an Arduino, 160×168 TFT screen, a 3 axis accelerometer, and two input buttons. If you’re interested, there is a forum thread in which he talks a bit more about the hardware design. But you’re not going to want to pass up either of the two videos embedded after the break.

The first clip shows off a bouncing-ball platforming game. The accelerometer moves the ball back and forth, and the top scrolling level brings more ledges into play. This in itself is a great game. But the Twisted SNAKE game shown off in the second video makes our own ARM-based Snake game look like a 3-year-old programmed it. [Rodot] filled up all of the program memory of the ATmega328 chip to  make this happen. There’s a menu system which allows for color themes and difficulty selection. The game play itself lets the snake travel anywhere it wishes with the tail following behind in graceful curves. Wow!

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Adding voice labels to real life objects for the visually impaired

[Matt Oppenheim] wrote in to share his work with us. He has been modifying the interfaces of electronics for the visually impaired. It started off with cassette decks. As [Matt] points out, many people who are visually impaired use cassettes for their audio books and newspapers. [Matt] added some touch sensors to the buttons so that he could have something announce what each button was as the user felt them. This allowed them to quickly learn the layout of the device.

After finding that the simple interface on the cassette player was learned very quickly, thereby making his addition no longer needed, he decided to go after something a little more complex. [Matt] set out to modify a digital radio with many more buttons that are less touch friendly. As you can see in the video after the break, he was able to pull this off quite nicely.

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The most portable GameCube ever

Here’s the smallest GameCube we’ve seen, straight from the fruitful workbench of [lyberty5] over on the ModRetro forums. Even though we’ve seen disc-less GameCubes before, [lyberty5] puts this project together so well it wouldn’t look out-of-place in the Nintendo product lineup.

Unlike most of the other portable GameCubes we’ve seen, [lyberty5]‘s build doesn’t have a disk drive. The games are loaded off an SD card with the help of a Wiikey Fusion, a small FPGA’d device that replaces the CD drive in GameCubes and Wiis with an SD card.

The enclosure was constructed out of vacuum formed plastic with the always popular ‘dremeling and bondoing a controller for proper button placement’ method. Inside the enclosure is the hacked up GameCube, a 3.5 inch screen capable of displaying NTSC video at 640×480 resolution and enough battery power to get two or three hours of playtime from a single charge.

After the break you can check out [lyberty5] fast-paced demo video that really sets the bar for portablized console presentation.

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Tricorder project brings the fabled devices into existence

Whether or not you love Star Trek we’d bet you know what a Tricorder is. The handheld device capable of gathering information about the environment around you, or taking health diagnostics about an injured crew member, seemed like unfathomably advanced technology when first seen on the original television series. But our technology has advance so quickly that you can now build a Tricorder of your own. That’s exactly what [Peter Jansen] has done. He founded the Tricorder project as a way to put a useful scientific instrument in the hands for the curious masses.

In the promo video embedded after the break [Dr. Jansen] gives us a recap of his progress so far. Three versions of the project have already been produced, and a fourth is under way. The first iteration could take atmospheric, spacial, and magnetic readings. This covers things like temperature, humidity, GPS data, light intensity, and distance measurements among others. Housed in a dark grey case it looks much like the original prop.

The second model, which is seen above, implements a swapable sensor board. That’s the part hanging off the top, but the finished model will enclose that part of the case. The hardware on this is fantastic, using an ARM processor running Linux and two 2.8″ OLED touchscreen displays. But both of these models have a price tag that’s just too high for widespread use. He’s been working on two more, the Mark 3 and Mark 4. The most recent is in software development right now with the hopes of mass production when all the details are worked out.

There’s a lot of info to dig through on the project’s site. It’s open source and all the goodies we usually look for are there.

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GeneBoy is the portable Sega Genesis you’ve always wanted

geneboy-portable-sega-genesis

There’s something about portable gaming systems that just doesn’t get old. Perhaps its the nostalgia, or the unique cases and form factors the modders come up with. Whatever it might be, we think they’re great.

[Downing] wrote in to share a portable system he just wrapped up, called the GeneBoy. He broke down a Sega Genesis console to the bare necessities, then attached a 3.5” backup camera screen to serve as the display. A 3rd party Genesis controller donated its buttons to the GeneBoy, while his D-Pad was salvaged from an original Playstation controller.

The case was built from vacuum formed plastic, which made it easy to get just the size and shape he needed to hold everything together perfectly. Even though he says that the outside of the case got a bit roughed up during final assembly, we think it looks great. I would certainly enjoy having all the fun of [Sonic the Hedgehog] or Road Rash in the palm of my hand any day!

Continue reading to see the GeneBoy in action, and be sure to check out [Downing’s] blog along with the Modded by Bacteria forum thread where he discusses the finer details of its assembly.

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Handheld Jaguar makes 32 or 64 bits portable

There’s nothing wrong with portable NESs, Super Nintendos, N64, or even a portable Sega CD. What about a portable version the oft-maligned Atari Jaguar, though? [Evil Nod] pulled it off, and it looks great.

The build is fairly standard for a portable console. A PS1 screen is used for the display, and a cut up and re-wired controller provides the input. From what we see on the build log, moving the 104-pin cartridge slot onto ribbon cables was an exercise in patience. The case is absolutely phenomenal with a textured finish we would expect to see on an early 90s console. Of course, [Nod] kept the numeric keypad; there was space left over anyway.

We can’t rag on the Jaguar or [Nod]‘s build. It’s a great execution and there’s an impressive library of games that include Worms, Rayman, Doom, and Myst. Still, we wonder what the build would look like with the Jaguar CD-ROM attached.