Using The Wii U Controller With Everything

It’s been just a bit over a year since the Wii U was released along with the extremely impressive Wii U controller. With a D-pad, analog sticks, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, camera and 6.2 inch touchscreen, this controller is ripe for a million and one projects ranging from FPV quadcopters and robots to things we can’t even think of yet. At this year’s Chaos Communication Congress, [booto], [delroth], and [shuffle2] demonstrated how they cracked open the Wii U controller’s encryption allowing for Wii U controller ‘emulation’ and giving us full documentation on how the whole thing works.

The guys started on their reverse engineering journey by dumping all the flash chips found on the controller’s board. In those binary blobs, they found Nintendo used a truly ingenious way of obfuscating the WiFi keys used to connect the controller to the Wii: rotate left by three. To be fair to Nintendo engineers, it was secure until someone figured it out.

Connecting the controller to a PC over WiFi is only half the battle, though. Initial information from the Wii U launch suggested Nintendo used Miracast for all the I/O between the controller and the console. This isn’t the case; instead the video, audio, camera, and button input are non-standard but very simple protocols. The hardest to break into was the video display for the touchscreen, but the guys discovered it’s pretty much H.264. After getting around some Nintendo weirdness, it’s possible to display video on the controller.

The guys have put together a small, extremely alpha library that comes with all the demos, documentation, and reverse engineering information. There’s a large wish list of what this library should include, but now that the information is public, it might be the time to pick up a Wii U.

Video of the talk below, here’s the presentation slides, and a demo of emulating a Wii U game pad on a PC.

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Wiimote Controlled RPi Robot

Wiimote RPi Robot

[Brian] has brought together a powerful collection of hardware to build a robot. The end goal is to have a robot that’s controlled by a Wiimote.

The Wiimote communicates over Bluetooth with a Raspberry Pi, which is running a Python script. This script uses the CWiid Python module to communicate with the controller, and [Brian] has detailed instructions on getting the Wiimote working with a RPi. The RPi controls an ATmega based development board over SPI, which drives an h-bridge to control the two DC motors that move the robot.

[Brian]‘s code for this could be helpful for anyone looking to control their RPi with a Wiimote. Since Wiimotes and Bluetooth dongles are fairly cheap nowadays, this is a great way to drop in wireless control to any RPi project, or even to control your media center from the couch.

After the break, check out a video of the build in action

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Turning a Game Boy into an Android gamepad

gameboy

[Chad] has been messing around with emulators on his phone, but as anyone with a smart phone knows, even the most advanced touchscreen controls are terrible. Wanting something that pays tribute to the classic systems he was emulating, he decided to turn a classic old school brick Game Boy into an Android gamepad.

After gutting an old DMG-01, [Chad] set to work turning the D-pad and buttons in the Game Boy into something his Galaxy Nexus could understand. He chose a Bluetooth connection to provide input for his emulators, with the hardware generously donated from a Nintendo Wiimote.

The Game Boy PCB was cut up and a few leads attached to the Wiimote PCB. After modifying the case to include space for the Wiimote and a cell phone mount, [Chad] had a functional game pad, perfect for his adventures in emulation.

You can see [Chad]‘s demo of his game pad after the break,

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One console to rule them all

[Bacteria] retro console modder extraordinaire, is back at it with a rather massive project. “Unity”(originally Dubbed Alpha Omega), this will be a single unit that can play games from 20 different console systems. It will run from one power supply, have one video output, and strangely enough, one controller.

[Chris Downing] was nice enough to tip us off to a video of the Unity controller in action.  The controller isn’t quite as bulky as we would have assumed with the extensive list of consoles it has to support, but that could be, in part, due to the fact that you actually swap out the brains for the controller for each system’s compatibility.

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Hide your repeater and gain a radio

[Bradley]‘s workplace was recently put into a position where they needed to install a WIFI network to operate some wireless barcode scanners, which was left open for anyone to connect to. Management thought that the people in the shop, who didn’t really need internet, would get less work done if they had access to it. So they just simply stuck the access point as far away as they could. Problem with that theory is that the signal still reaches a little bit where they don’t want it, and people in the shop really want access, so a repeater is needed.

Of course this repeater cant be just sitting out in the open. so [Bradley] decided to hide the it inside of an old radio. Searching around he finally settled on a 10$ ebay radio from the 1980’s, which is large enough to hold the guts of a WRT54G. The routers AC adapter was popped open and wired into the AC input of the radio, the main board and antennas were epoxied to the back. Once everything is buttoned back up you’re left with a hidden repeater, and a fully functional radio.

Now hopefully none of his bosses read his blog!

Self Balancing Robot with Wii parts

[Moser] is looking to build a quadrocopter sometime in the future, without plunking down a good chunk of change for a kit model. Looking for a good place to start he figured why not work on the control system. Thinking that the balance of the flying platform of doom would be similar to working out a self balancing robot he spent a couple days and made his self balancing robot.

Armed with a plan, and a logic analyzer, he went out and got a  Wii Motion Plus, which is an inexpensive three axis gyroscope, and a nunchuck which features an accelerometer which both can be found in just about any strip mall. After fiddling for a day getting the Wii nunchuck and motion plus to play nice all it took was a little more time to code up the self balancing routines.

And while its not perfect, all its going to take is a little tweaking and maybe some faster servo motors to get things up to top notch.

Join us after the break for a couple quick videos.

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For the Trade Show Booth That Has Everything, a Blimp!

Trade shows are all about attracting attention and getting people to learn about your product, so what could be better than a custom-built RC blimp? Sure, you could just buy one, but what’s the fun in that? After several design iterations, [Tretton37] came up with a blimp known as the [LeetZeppelin] controlled by an Arduino, an XBee module, as well as a Wiimote controller connected to a computer.

The hack itself is a great example of repurposing off-the-shelf materials into something more interesting and unique. In addition to the components listed above, hobby servos were modded to allow for thrust motor control in conjunction with Legos for the gearing and “pillow-block bearings.” A list of the “important” parts used in this hack is furnished on their site as well as a video of it in action, which is also after the break.

As for the results of this hack as a trade-show attention grabber, Fredrik Leijon had this to say: “We think that all the gazing at the sky and half opened mouths proves that it was a huge success!”

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