Broken Xbox 360 converted into an arcade controller

xbox_360_arcade_controller

Like many Xbox 360s out there, [Aaron’s] console succumbed to the dreaded three red lights of death. Since it seemed to be unrepairable, there wasn’t a lot that could be done with it other than throw it out. Rather than be wasteful however, [Aaron] thought of a great way to reuse the console’s outer shell.

He’s a big fan of fighting games, and as everyone knows, this genre is best played with an arcade-style controller. The 360’s shell seemed to be just about the right size, so he gutted it and got busy constructing his own arcade controller. With the console cleared out, he installed all of his arcade bits, wiring them to a stripped third-party Xbox controller.

He installed a four port USB hub to the front of the console, enabling use of the 360’s USB ports, and rewired the power button to trigger the Xbox Guide button. A shiny coat of paint later, and he was ready to play.

Keep reading to see a short video of [Aaron's] arcade stick in action, and check out the picture gallery he put together of the controller’s construction.

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Hybrid control scheme using an Xbox game pad and Kinect

hybrid_game_control_using_kinect

The Kinect is an interesting beast. On one hand, it’s fantastic for hacking – a purpose for which it was not designed. On the other hand, it’s “just OK” when it comes to gaming – its entire reason for being.

One of the big complaints regarding the Kinect’s control scheme is that it’s no good for games such as first person shooters, where a large majority of the action involves walking, jumping, and aiming. For his Master’s project, [Alex Poolton] put together a fantastic demonstration showing how the Kinect can be paired with a standard Xbox controller to provide hybrid gaming input.

While you might expect a simple game that shows the fundamentals of the hybrid control system, he has put together a full fledged game demo that shows how this control scheme might be implemented in a real game. [Alex] admits that it’s still a bit rough around the edges, but there’s some real potential in his design.

Continue reading to see a video demonstration of [Alex’s] project in action, and be sure to check out his blog for news and updates on the project.

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Run unsigned code on any xbox

A ton of people sent in the latest development on the Xbox homebrew front. A console hacker that goes by the name of [GliGli] released a new exploit that boots any Xbox into a Linux loader.

The hack requires some hardware – in this case an Xilinx CLPD. The hack works by sending a tiny reset pulse (no word on what ‘tiny’ means) that glitches the hardware and gets around the hash checks during boot. If that’s not technical enough for you, check out the readme on the project’s github.

This isn’t a silver bullet to cracking Xboxen wide open. The glitch only has about a 25% chance of success for each boot. The glitch also take a few minutes to boot into unsigned code. This being said, the hack works on all 360s, including the slim models that can’t be opened up with the JTAG method.

Check out the demo of one of the beta testers demonstrating the exploit after the break. Again, thanks to everyone for sending this one in.

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“Extrem Konsolen Modding”

Not to be outdone by their North American counterparts, these German-speaking hackers have come up with a truly unique console mod. Although modding one system may be OK for most, the builders of this console decided to combine three systems into one clear plastic box. A stripped down Xbox360, Playstation3, and Nintendo Wii were all put together to form this “Extrem” system.

The build style should be very appealing to those interested in video game hardware. Combining the look of a tower PC with a clear plastic allows one to see all components in action. Since the box is lit up with electroluminescent lighting, one is able to show off this system in the day or at night. [Read more...]

extMEDIA: An XBMC disc changer interface

extmedia_dvd_bluray_changer_integration

A while back, [Ben Gilstad] built his first HTPC, loading XBMC on it to manage all of his digital media. He loved XBMC’s features and flexibility, but he needed a way to enjoy his DVD and Blu Ray collection on the device without too much hassle. Far before [Ben Heck] considered fitting his Xbox 360 DVD drive into a CD carousel, this [Ben] was busy hacking a Blu Ray player into his.

He bought a broken disc changer at a garage sale, and tore apart a standard SATA Blu Ray player in preparation for the optical drive transplant. An ATMega168 controls the changer’s mechanics, monitoring the carousel’s position and triggering the proper motors when discs need to be swapped out. The AVR currently takes its direction from the HTPC over its serial port via a UDP proxy as XBMC did not support a serial interface at the time he was building the changer.

The second half of [Ben’s] project is an XBMC add-on that he uses to manage his huge collection of optical discs. In order to get XBMC to recognize each disc as a valid ‘file’, he created a clever workaround involving blank WMV clips. This enables him to view his DVDs as if they were digital files on his hard drive, complete with cover art.

It’s a fantastic project, and [Ben] says that his system should be able to support any number of physical disc changers simultaneously, without much issue. Unfortunately the project went on hiatus when he lost his job, so it’s packed away in storage for the time being. Once he gets back on his feet however, he has a whole list of planned changes and improvements to work on – we can’t wait to see it once complete!

Keep reading to check out a video demonstration of his XBMC add-on in action.

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Xbox 360 DVD changer is the ultimate in gaming laziness

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Let’s face it – gamers have a reputation for being pretty lazy. In the most recent episode of his web series, [Ben Heck] takes on the stereotypical gamer role and cranks the laziness factor to 11, lamenting the fact that he needs to get up off the couch to swap discs in his Xbox 360 console. Never allowing laziness get in the way of his hacking, he springs into action, hauling off to his shop in order to construct an Xbox DVD changer system.

He grabbed a pair of CD changers and popped them open to see how they operated. After choosing the best candidate based on its CD loading method, he got to work disassembling the changer. The old CD player and its guts were removed, which he replaced with DVD drive components ripped from his Xbox. Quite a bit of trimming and tweaking was required to swap out the components, but it seems that [Ben] got things working just fine.

With the mechanical portion of the project out of the way, he dug into the electronics. The CD changer had no way of knowing how to interface with the Xbox and vice versa, so [Ben] had to devise a way for the two devices to communicate. He used an Arduino Uno to control the systems, triggering the CD carousel only when the Xbox thought it had its drive slot opened.

While the system looks a bit unpolished, and the controller quite bulky, we love this thing!  No matter if you are lazy or not, jamming these two devices together is exactly what hacking is all about.

Play dress up with Kinect

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While we have seen Kinect-based virtual dressing rooms before, the team at Arbuzz is taking a slightly different approach (Translation) to the digital dress up game. Rather than using flat images of clothes superimposed on the subject’s body, their solution uses full 3D models of the clothing to achieve the desired effect. This method allows them to create a more true to life experience, where the clothing follows the subject around, flowing naturally with the user’s movements.

Like many other Kinect hacks, they use openNI and NITE to obtain skeletal data from the sensor. The application itself was written in C# with Microsoft’s XNA game development tools, and uses a special physics engine to render the simulated cloth in a realistic fashion

[Lukasz] says that the system is still in its infancy, and will require plenty of work before they are completely happy with the results. From where we’re sitting, the demo video embedded below is pretty neat, even if it is a bit rough around the edges. We were particularly pleased to see the Xbox’s native Kinect interface put to work in a DIY project, and we are quite interested to see how things look once they put the final touches on it.

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