Turning a MIDI sequencer display into a Tetris clone

led-midi-display-tetris

Tetris is unquestionably a game for the ages. Despite its simplicity, someone, somewhere will always find a way to port the game (Translation) to just about any electronic device that can handle it.

Earlier this year we showed you a slick MIDI sequencer project that was constructed using an Arduino Mega, which also happened to drive an incredibly detailed touch screen display. [Christian] must have gotten bored with his awesome creation one day, because he pulled the drum level display out of his Arduino Sequencer 808, and turned the LED array into a mini Tetris game.

As you can see in the video below, the game runs pretty well, though from what we can see it lacks any sort of score keeping. We dig it because we never really tire of Tetris clones, and we think it’s great that he kept his 808 sequencer design modular enough that he can pluck different components out for reuse in other projects.

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Open source tracking system gets a Kickstarter

open-source-tracker

Many of the hacks featured here inspire others to build on the creator’s work, and on occasion the positive feedback brings the hack to market. Last year we told you about [Wayne’s] creation, a system aimed at tracking down would-be game console thieves. He received a bunch of requests to document the tracker in full, so he decided to revise his creation and release it as Open Source Hardware.

As you might remember, his original tracking device was powered by an Arduino, which monitored an accelerometer and GPS sensor, reporting coordinates and movements to his mobile phone on demand. He combined the disparate components together on a single board, and started a Kickstarter for the project.

Aside from his original purpose of tracking stolen goods, he lists off an array of other uses, such as tracking the driving habits of your newly licensed teen, geofencing objects in certain areas and more.

If an SMS controlled all-in-one tracking system is something you might be interested in, check out his Kickstarter, or take a look at the documentation and build one of your own.

The Dish-o-Tron 6000 is back and better than ever

dish_o_tron_6000_extreme

When designing a circuit on the bench, sometimes things work far better than they do in real life. [Quinn Dunki] learned this lesson over the last few months as she struggled with one of her recent creations, the Dish-o-Tron 6000. We featured the Dish-o-Tron back in April, and at that point things seemed to be working out well for [Quinn]. As time passed however, she found the device to be an unreliable power hog. Aside from eating through a battery every few weeks, it kept spontaneously switching states from ‘Dirty’ to ‘Clean’ and back. It was time to take the Dish-o-Tron back to the bench for some debugging.

The random status flip from ‘Dirty’ to ‘Clean’ was a relatively easy fix, and required a small capacitor between the set pin and ground to eliminate the electrical noise that was tripping things up. She nailed down the spontaneous ‘Clean’ to ‘Dirty’ flip to a stuck tilt switch, which she swapped out for a mercury-based model, making things far more reliable. She solved her battery problems by wiring in a 12v wall wart, which might not be any more energy efficient, but it does save her from swapping out batteries all the time.

It’s always nice to see how projects evolve over time, and how the inevitable bugs are worked out of an initial design.

Follow-up: Radio-controlled LED light show

travelling_light_circus

[Alan] shared an update with us regarding a project he has been working on for some time, radio-controlled LED light strips destined for use by the Travelling Light Circus. If you are not familiar with the project or need a quick refresher, you can read our post about it here.

He recently met up with the guys from TLC to finish things up and was happily surprised that they did not want to mount his lights on the performers, as was originally planned. He would have had to make a few modifications if that was the case, but instead, they planned on attaching them to bicycle wheels. The light strips were mounted inside translucent plastic tubes that fan out from the center of the wheels, where the battery and radio equipment is located. The wheels were mounted on aluminum poles, allowing the performers to create a visually stunning show, just by spinning the pole.

Check out the pair of videos we have embedded below, the project came together quite nicely.

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Follow-up: Hacking OnStar

Reader [regulatre] has provided us with his furthering of hacking the OnStar system in GM cars. Previously, we wrote about some initial attempts to gain access to the system that OnStar uses to monitor and control cars called GMLAN. [regulatre] has managed to create an adapter between the GMLAN connector and a standard OBD2 plug, which should allow a number of standard readers to be able to retrieve data.

This method details using a bluetooth OBD2 reader, and passing the data onto a linux machine. It looks as though the writer of this method is looking to integrate OnStar reading and writing into an Android App which currently is an OBD monitor.

We love seeing follow-ups like this, because it puts everyone one step closer to full control of closed devices. As always, let us know if you take any of this in a new direction.

Update: Foundation PC Cooling

coolupdate

[gigs], whose foundation-based PC cooling project we covered earlier, has posted his initial test results. There was a large debate going back and forth in the comments as to whether or not this would work, and hopefully this should clear most of it up. He used a 150W fish tank heater to simulated his system’s heat output, and used a quiet fish tank pump to keep the water flowing. Over 8 hours, he was able to maintain a constant temperature 16° C (61° F). While not quite frigid, this would definitely provide ample cooling for normal operation with some headroom for overclocking.

Chart of results after the jump.

[thanks to gigs for getting back with real data so soon]

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