Building the second tiniest Tetris

A few years ago, [Richard] pulled a crushed camcorder out of a junk box at a hamfest. After pulling the half-inch CRT out of the viewfinder, he needed to find a project. [Richard] ended up building the second tiniest game of Tetris we’ve ever seen.

After futzing around with the CRT, [Richard] discovered that one of the pins would accept an NTSC input. He also found a similar project that used a dime-sized CRT to play Tetris. With ready to go code, [Richard] started assembling his project into a handsome wooden box.

There are two PCBs for the build – a CRT driver circuit, and a small custom board that handles the game and controller code. The circuit for the game board was found on this site, but the featured boards there were too large for the project. A stripped-down board was fabricated by BatchPCB and put into the box.

There aren’t any controls on the console itself, for that a standard DB-9 connector was installed so a vintage Atari joystick could be used. For a more ergonomic Tetris experience, a Sega Genesis controller could be used. For something that looks like it comes out a steampunk laboratory, playing Tetris is a bit unexpected. Check out the demo video of the screen at 20x magnification after the break.

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Cypherbot uses older uC and retro-controller

[PJ Allen] has been working on a little robot which he calls Cypherbot. The control circuitry is quite familiar; a Board of Education which features the Basic Stamp 2 microcontroller. This is an older and slower microprocessor, but it works quite well for this application since there’s no need for speed or heavy number crunching. The wheels of the bot are made out of plastic lids (we’re thinking peanut butter jars) with rubber bands for traction that are each driven by a servo motor. The third wheel is tiny and swivels as needed.

The front of the bot has a PING ultrasonic sensor mounted on a servo motor which lets the bot scan back and forth for a wider obstacle avoidance angle. In addition to the autonomous mode there’s an Xbee remote control. [PJ] picked up an Atari keyboard and is using that as the user input. Check out the little guy driving around the house in the video after the break.

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Tiny Atari 810 Disk Drive upgrade

Everything gets smaller as technology improves. [Rossum] reduced the space needed for an Atari 810 disk drive by building this tiny replacement. Of course it doesn’t use floppy disks, but takes a microSD card instead. And it doesn’t stand in the place of one floppy drive, but can emulate up to eight different drives. The best part is that [Rossum] went to the trouble of designing an enclosure and having it fabricated via 3D printing in order to look just like a doll house version of the original hardware. It uses an LPC1114 ARM Cortex-M0 microprocessor to translate data transmissions to and from the Atari hardware, storing it on the 8 GB card.

As usual, you’ll soon find the schematic, board artwork, and code up on his git repository soon.

Retrode gets an upgrade

We’ve been following the Retrode since it was an obscure video on YouTube that we swore was an elaborate hoax. Now, [Matthias] tell us it’s getting its third major upgrade, and it is really starting to resemble a commercial project. The video features the new prototype case for the Retrode II, which has been 3d printed. The fact that such advanced protyping facilities are availavble to the common hacker is just incredible.  The new Retrode II will have ports built in so SEGA and SNES controllers can be plugged in. Since its launch the community has been collaborating to build plug-in boards allowing people to play Virtual Boy, Atari 2600, GBx, Turbografix-16, Neo Geo Pocket, and even N-64 cartridges directly from the cartridge on their computers. Very Cool.

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Hackaday Links: March 22, 2011

3D holographic fog display

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Some researchers in Japan are hard at work building a 3D volumetric fog display that would allow you to live out some of your Leia-related Star Wars fantasies. Using a column of fog and three projectors, they were able to create a display that looks three-dimensional from any angle. It might be a while before the technology hits your living room, so don’t clear your calendar just yet, Obi Wan. [via Neatorama]

The Claw – a three-fingered robotic gripper

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Instructables user [AntMan] has been hard at work revising his robotic claw gripping mechanism. Laser cut from wood, this servo-driven claw can easily grasp small objects with little effort. We can’t wait to see someone build a version from milled aluminum!

Ben Heck’s retro Xbox 360

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[Ben Heck] is at it again, and has recently given the Xbox 360 a sweet retro makeover. Taking inspiration from gaming consoles of the 70’s, he converted an Xbox 360 into a laptop-style portable (again), but this time with the look and feel of an old Atari 2600. Retro gamers rejoice, you can now get your Xbox on while enjoying the sweet simulated wood-grain you grew up with.

Rocket-based ice fishing notification system

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What fun is ice fishing if you have to sit outside freezing your butt off? We’re assuming that was the driving thought behind [Mike's] rocket-based ice fishing rig. A model rocket is attached to his fishing sledge, which is triggered when a fish is detected on the line. Using a low-tech detonator, the rocket lets him know it’s time to check the lines. Now only if we could get the fish to fillet themselves…

Case modding video series hits the web

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The “Mod Men” is a fairly new web series that takes you out of the basement and into the garage for some professionally constructed case mods. Described as “American Chopper for geeks with a dash of This Old House”, the creators aim to showcase over-the-top case mods with a professional flair. They already have three episodes under their belt, all of which are available on their site.

Portable gaming for retro console lovers

atari_2600_portable

There have been a fair share of portable video game console conversions over the years, but few tug at our retro-loving heart strings more than this one. Modretro forum member [Mario] constructed a fantastic looking portable Atari 2600 using a Flashback 2 Atari console clone.

He hacked apart the Flashback board to fit inside a small plastic case, then added a 3.5″ LCD screen, as well as some donated controller bits from other portable game systems. A pair of rechargeable batteries were added along with a small amplifier and speaker for sound.

While the Flashback comes with 40 games built in, he really wanted to add a cartridge port, so with the little bit of space he had left in the case, he did just that. When everything was finished, he sprayed on a few coats of retro orange paint and called it a day. Really the only thing that’s missing is some nice fake wood veneer and maybe some shag carpet.

Continue reading to see his portable creation in action.

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Portable Atari the size of a Game Boy

This portable Atari is the result of [Mario's] toils. The core system is an Atari Flashback 2, an embedded system released in 2005 with several built-in games. The stock titles weren’t enough so [Mario] added a cartridge slot in order to play whichever games he wishes. The case was originally the packaging for an iPod touch so you know it’s sturdy. We also like the free-formed audio amplifier as seen in the work log. Does anyone know if the Flashback 2 has a pause feature?

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