Controlling your webcam with an old Guitar Hero pedal

Hackaday reader [Tom Price] often uses Skype to communicate with family near and far, but he was getting tired of adjusting his webcam each time his kids moved out of frame. While the solution he came up with isn’t fully automated, it is hands-free, which is good enough for his purposes.

[Tom] was looking around for an electronic foot pedal of some sort when he came across a wireless 3rd party Guitar Hero peripheral that happened to fit the bill. Using an Arduino library created by [Bill Porter], he was quickly able to get the toy to communicate with an Arduino-flashed Atmega8, but things kind of fell flat when it came time to relay signals back to his computer. Using another Atmega8 along with the PS2X library, he was able to emulate the Guitar Hero controller that his foot pedal was looking for.

With the pedal portion of his project wrapped up, he focused on his webcam. [Tom] mounted the camera on a small servo, which he then wired up to the receiving end of his foot pedal rig. As you can see in the video below, he can now pan his camera across the room with a tap of his foot, rather than leaning in and manually adjusting it.

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Nyan Cat: the PlayStation game

We’d bet you didn’t know there was a Nyan Cat game for the original PlayStation. Well, there wasn’t one until very recently. This isn’t a title that has been licensed by Sony, and we bet you won’t spend hours playing such a thing. But the concept has let [Haunted] hone his development skills.

We’re not certain how he’s getting around the copy protection for PSX games, but we know there are a few different exploits out there. If you happen to have your own method playing homebrew games you can even download the bin/cue files to try this out for yourself.

After the break you can watch a demo clip of the game. It boots like normal until you hit a black screen with white text which displays a loading percentage. This is followed closely by the rainbow spewing feline pastry. The sound takes a minute to play but you can be sure it’s there. Currently there’s no scoring system but that’s in the works for a future revision.

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PlayStation gaming on a NOOK Simple Touch

Improvements in processing power really hit home when you see an eBook reader playing PlayStation games. Sure, we’re talking about a system which launched more than 15 years ago (the original PlayStation launched way back in 1995), but this is a $99 device which seems to be playing the games at full speed!

[Sean] wrote in to share the project with us. After rooting the device he installed System 7 (aka Mac OS 7) using Mini vMac for Android. He uses Free PlayStation Emulator (FPSE) to run the games. There is an Android version which provides the touch-screen controls you see above. We figured the graphics would be awful, but the video after the break proves us wrong. Other than being in black and white we think the graphics are fantastic. Just one hack was necessary to make this happen. [Sean] uses NoRefresh to keep the Nook from refreshing the screen which is what causes the film-negative type of flashing after several page turns.

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Resurrecting a PS3 controller that won’t charge

[SJM4306] grabbed a used PlayStation 3 from a game store that was going out of business. He got a pretty good deal on what had obviously been the floor model for a number of years. The one real problem was the controller that came with it. The thing was so filthy that he literally used gloves to disassemble and sanitize it. It worked just fine after that,until he discovered that it wouldn’t charge from the USB port as it’s supposed to. But he managed to replace the charging circuitry with some of his own.

When cleaning the insides of the controller he found there were numerous deposits of sludge which he attributes to spilled soda. This must have damage one of the chips responsible for charging because he was probing an unstable 2V rather than the regulated 5V which should be coming in on the USB lines. His solution was to desolder the USB port in order to separate its 5V pin from the PCB. He then etched a tiny board to host a MAX1555 charging IC. With the new hardware in place the controller is back in action.

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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Universal 20 channel project controller from a Ps2 controller

So you’ve got a really cool project that requires a wireless controller and a ton of different channels. What are you going to do? Are you going to go pick up an expensive RC controller? Nah, you’re going to build your own. This project makes a generic 20 channel controller for your projects by stuffing an SMDuino and an XBee module inside a ps2 controller.  Unfortunately you lose the force feedback since you have to remove the motors to make space for the extra components and batteries. You do end up with a decently ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing controller though.

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PS3 IR dongle tamed for use with a Linux box

So a man walks into a Radio Shack and the clerk says “Why the long face?”. No, that’s not it. [Ms3fgx] walks into a Radio Shack and says “holy crap, that PS3 IR dongle is only two bucks”. He’s been looking for an IR remote receiver to use with a Linux machine and decided to bend this PS3 dongle to his will. It’s a lot less expensive that the parts to build the simplest IR receivers like this FTDI cable version, or a microcontroller based receiver.

He plugged it in and was delighted to find that it enumerates. The kernel has PlayStation 3 controller support built-in and has no problem picking up this device. When he uses ‘cat’ to display the incoming data all he gets is repetitive garbage. This is because the dongle only supports Sony remote control codes. But after a bit of universal remote setup, he’s got unique commands for each button. The last piece of the puzzle is to map the controller commands to keyboard keys. This is done with the QJoyPad package, but there are a myriad of ways to remap these buttons so go with what you know.