Computers Playing Flappy Bird. Skynet Imminent. Humans Flapping Arms.


After viral popularity, developer rage quits, and crazy eBay auctions, the world at large is just about done with Flappy Bird. Here at Hackaday, we can’t let it go without showcasing two more hacks. The first is the one that we’ve all been waiting for: a robot that will play the damn game for us. Your eyes don’t deceive you in that title image. The Flappy Bird bot is up to 147 points and going strong. [Shi Xuekun] and [Liu Yang], two hackers from China, have taken full responsibility for this hack. They used OpenCV with a webcam on Ubuntu to determine the position of both the bird and the pipes. Once positions are known, the computer calculates the next move. When it’s time to flap, a signal is sent to an Arduino Mega 2560. The genius of this hack is the actuator. Most servos or motors would have been too slow for this application. [Shi] and [Liu] used the Arduino and a motor driver to activate a hard drive voice coil. The voice coil was fast enough to touch the screen at exactly the right time, but not so powerful as to smash their tablet.

If you would like to make flapping a bit more of a physical affair, [Jérémie] created Flappy Bird with Kinect. He wrote a quick Processing sketch which uses the Microsoft Kinect to look for humans flapping their arms. If flapping is detected, a command is sent to an Android tablet. [Jérémie] initially wanted to use Android Debug Bridge (ADB) to send the touch commands, but found it was too laggy for this sort of hardcore gaming. The workaround is to use a serial connected Arduino as a mouse. The Processing sketch sends a ‘#’ to the Arduino via serial. The Arduino then sends a mouse click to the computer, which is running  hidclient.  Hidclient finally sends Bluetooth mouse clicks to the tablet. Admittedly, this is a bit of a Rube Goldberg approach, but it does add an Arduino to a Flappy Bird hack, which we think is a perfect pairing.

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Real Life Flappy Bird in a Box


Flappy bird this, flappy bird that, we’re really not too sure how a clone of the original helicopter game became so darn popular. Anyway, [Fawn Qiu] — founder of MakeAnything — decided to hop on the bandwagon and made this awesome physical version of Flappy Bird!

She threw it together at the Tribeca Hacks Hackathon, and it uses an Arduino, two servo motors, a reed switch and some magnets. She was inspired by the original Mario in a Box game and this is a great example of her project MakeAnything, which is a technology project community which helps foster the new culture of STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) for kids and adults alike, in the United States. They believe that “with the right tool and instructions, we can all make anything and everything!”.

Stick around for the following video where [Fawn] takes it to the streets to let random strangers try their hand at the now iconic game!

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Arduino Gets Fowl with Flappy Bit


We have to swallow our pride and hand it to [Dan200]. He may have finally found an application that everyone can agree is a perfect fit for Arduino. Flappy Bit is [Dan's] Arduino Uno based Flappy Bird clone. [Dan] is a software guy at heart, but he’s taken a peck at electronics of late. Flappy Bit was just a fun side project for him to learn how to program the Arduino. The hardware consists of an 8×8 LED matrix, current limiting resistors, and a single button.

[Dan's] implementation isn’t 100% faithful to the iOS/Android original. Rather than simply parrot Flappy Bird, he changed it up a bit. The user presses and holds the button to climb, and releases it to descend. This seems to make the game a bit more forgiving. We also won’t be missing all the lovely sound effects from Flappy Bird.  While there is less flapping in Flappy Bit, it does make us more nostalgic for those  tabletop LCD/LED games we played in the 80′s and can’t stop crowing about today.

[Dan] has released the full source code to the project (Pastebin link), and there is more information available on his reddit thread. Give flappy bit a try. You won’t egret it!

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