1.37″ CRT Restored by Hacklab for Miniature MAME Cabinet

For $5, [William] of Toronto’s Hacklab hackerspace got a hold of one of the smallest CRT screens ever made – about the size of a large coin. Over the course of a couple sessions – including a public hack boothside at their Mini Makerfaire – [William], [Igor], and several other members managed to connect it as a monitor directly off a Raspberry Pi. The end-goal is the world’s smallest MAME cabinet (smaller by almost half than this LCD one).

As Canada followed the US and stopped broadcasting analog back in 2011, it became quite a challenge to feed the screen a video source. They disclosed early that the easiest solution would just be an RF transmitter on the Pi and then tune the micro-set to that channel. Too easy. They wanted something elegant and challenging so they went digging into the circuitry to find a place to insert a composite video signal directly.

The real story here is their persistence at reverse engineering. The PCB was folded like a cardboard box to fit in the original case, making large portions of the circuitboard and wiring inaccessible. Even when they managed to trace the signal to what they thought was the appropriate chip (marked C80580), they could not find any information on the 30 year old chip. Noting that every other chip on the board was Panasonic and started with “AN5″, [Igor] suspected the mystery silicon was just renamed and went through every single datasheet he could find with that prefix. Combined with form factor, pin count and purpose, his sleuthing was rewarded with a guess for a match – the AN5715. His hunch was correct – using that datasheet led him to the answers they required.

Then they just had to figure out how get the composite signal the Pi outputted into something the chip would use to display the correct image. There were no shortage of challenges, failures and dead ends here either, but they had help from the rest of their membership.

Their project log is an interesting narrative through the process and in the end of course, it worked. It is displayed beautifully with a clear acrylic case and ready for a cabinet to be built.

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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Make an HD Projector for Next to Nothing!

Need a high definition projector? Don’t have a thousand bucks sitting around? Then this hack is for you! [TheJinxster] threw together this awesome HD projector, and it cost him absolutely nothing to build!

He started by picking up an old overhead projector off of Freecycle. Freecycle is a great grassroots network, kind of like Kijiji or Craigslist — but everything is free. It’s all about reuse and keeping useful things out of the landfills. Anyway, he also had an old LCD monitor sitting around gathering dust…

Putting two and two together he took apart the LCD, laid the bare screen on top of the glass and, well, that’s it! It’s seriously that simple. The hardest part was taking apart the monitor — the overhead projector and mounted lens took care of the rest. The beauty with a system like this is you can get high definition out of a relatively small and cheap LCD panel! The only thing is it won’t last forever — LCDs (especially monitor LCDs) aren’t designed to pass through that much light.

Don’t believe us? Check out the following video.

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R2D2 cake plays Leia’s distress message

R2

As all 6-year-olds should, [Marc]’s son is a huge fan of Star Wars. For his birthday party, he wanted a Star Wars themed cake, and making one in the shape of R2D2 seemed to be right up [Marc]’s alley. Of course any clone of everyone’s favorite R2 unit should also display Leia’s distress message to Ben Kenobi, and [Marc] figured out a way to do just that.

Because of R2’s strange and decidedly non-cake shape, [Marc] first constructed a stand out of wood, cardboard, and a PVC pipe to hold the cake into place. The cylindrical droid body is of course made of cake and frosting, with R2’s dome made out of fondant.

The PVC pipe running up the center of the droid provided [Marc] with the ability to run a power and video connector up R2’s spine. These are connected to a small projector receiving video from a netbook placed out of the way.

You can check out a video of the R2 cake playing Leia’s holographic distress message below. At the end of the video, there’s a 6-year-old birthday party guest saying, “what is that?” It might be time to dig out the VHS player and the non-remastered trilogy, [Marc].

3d printed nes portable looks fantastic and contains no hot glue

[Parker] emailed us today to show off his latest NES portable build. This time he’s using the standard “top loader” NES instead of the typically used NES on a chip. This is pretty cool since the NES on a chip has compatibility issues with some games. For the screen, he uses a common PSone screen with a slight power modification. From the factory, the screen takes 7.4 V and converts it down to 5V to use. He removed this and ran it directly from his own 5V power source. It may not seem like that big of a deal, but with portables, every bit counts. He also ditched the sound amplifier from the PSone screen in favor of something a little more efficient. He seems to have done a pretty good job because he says it gets roughly 10 hours at full volume right now.

Another cool aspect of this deign is that the cartridge serves as a sort of stand for the unit, although the button placement looks like it might be a tiny bit awkward when used this way.

 

3D sphere display and controller

[Nirav] has been working on a spherical display for about a year now, and he just came up with a great way of interacting with this screen: an adjacent reality tracker that rotates the display to match the current orientation of the controller.

Earlier, [Nirav] built an 8-inch sphere display using a few 3D printed parts and a Showwx laser pico projector. The display looked great, but [Nirav] had no way to interact with it. To solve that problem, he put an inertial measurement unit inside a 3d printed model of the globe. The IMU communicates with a computer to read the rotation and orientation of [Nirav]’s controller and adjust the spherical display accordingly.

It’s a very nice build that gets very close to futuristic sci-fi displays. At least now, [Nirav] can interact with the awesome satellite tracking app and continental drift simulation he created.

There’s a bunch of videos [Nirav] put up demoing what his display can do. You can check those out after the break.

via MAKE

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DIY “Project Glass” clone looks almost too good to be true

vuzix-project-glass

By now we’re assuming you are all familiar with Google’s “Project Glass”, an ambitious augmented reality project for which they revealed a promotional video last week. [Will Powell] saw the promo vid and was so inspired that he attempted to rig up a demo of Project Glass for himself at home.

While it might seem like a daunting project to take on, [Will] does a lot of work with Kinect-based augmented reality, so his Vuzix/HD webcam/Dragon Naturally Speaking mashup wasn’t a huge step beyond what he does at work. As you can see in the video below, the interface he implemented looks very much like the one Google showed off in their demo, responding to his voice commands in a similar fashion.

He says that the video was recorded in “real time”, though there are plenty of people who debate that claim. We’re guessing that he recorded the video stream fed into the Vuzix glasses rather than recording what was being shown in the glasses, which would make the most sense.

We’d hate to think that the video was faked, mostly because we would love to see Google encounter some healthy competition, but you can decide for yourself.

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