Bringing the game of tag into the digital age

tagurit

How long has it been since you’ve played a game of tag?

[Sylvia Cheng, Kibum Kim, and Roel Vertegaal] from Queen’s University’s human media lab have concocted a fun twist on the classic game that just might compel you to start playing again.

Their game, called TagURIt, arms two players with Lumalive LED t-shirts which sport embedded touch sensors. A third player, known as the “chaser” attempts to touch either of the other players in order to capture the token displayed on the player’s chest-based LED matrix. The game is score-based, awarding points to the chaser for capturing tokens, while giving the other players points for avoiding capture.

If both players wearing the LED shirts are near to one another, the token will jump to the other player in an attempt to thwart the chaser. In this game, each player is a location-tagged URI, and proximity is determined by either tracking the users with cameras indoors, or via RF sensors if the game is played outside.

It is definitely an interesting way of playing tag, and we imagine it could be quite fun in large groups.

Continue reading to see a video demonstration of the TagURIt game being played.

[via Adafruit blog]

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Jeri Ellsworth’s shooting gallery

Back with another interesting vidoe, [Jeri Ellsworth] once again brings us an amusing and educational hack. This time she’s made a “shooting gallery” in the style of the old arcade games that actually used projectiles. In her version however, she’s using LEDs in the targets which are detected by the gun.  In an effort to keep the feel the same, she rigged up a pinball bell to ding at the appropriate times and it is quite effective.

As usual, she does a great job of breaking everything down and explaining how it all works. She shows us around her prototype so you can see how it is constructed, if you can make it through the solder gun shootout in the beginning.  If she were to continue with this project beyond the functional prototype stage, we’d love to see small video clips being displayed for the targets pepper’s ghost style. Maybe we’re just having fond memories of Time Traveler.

Internet-controlled robotic arm

internet_robotic_arm

[Trav] was pondering virtual reality and decided it was no longer all that it was cracked up to be, so he created an experience in what he calls “Remote Reality”. While we have seen many installations over the years that allow people to remotely interact with objects across the globe, his Orbduino project consists of more than simply toggling lights on and off (though he’ll let you do that too).

In his house, he has set up a robotic playground of sorts that allows anyone who visits a chance to play around with the robotic arm he has installed there. The arm is situated in a pen filled with random objects which can be stacked and moved around. He also promises to show you something fun, provided you can guide the arm to pick up an object and hold it against the target positioned outside the pen.

He didn’t forget the obligatory remote light controls either. You can turn the overhead lights on and off, as well as control a multi-colored orb situated in the corner of the room. Most of the project’s interface is done with an Arduino Mega, which handles the robot arm interface, as well as messing with the light installations.

If you have some free time, swing by his site and give the robotic arm a try. It’s a fun little time waster that you will likely enjoy.  Just make sure to take it easy on his web server!

DrunkenNES makes a game out of getting hammered

drunkenNES_cart

While handheld breathalyzers are pretty novel to have around while drinking with friends, there’s nothing exciting about a $50 off the shelf unit. If you really want to grab people’s attention, you have to get creative and built something like [Batsly Adams] and his friends did.

One evening, he was casually drinking with some friends and playing around with an electronic alcohol sensor. They quickly put together a NES ROM that would play sounds, changing the pitch depending on how much alcohol the sensor detected. It quickly became apparent to them that a full-fledged breathalyzer video game was in order. In no time, he and his friends had compiled graphics, a soundtrack, and the code to drive their game, DrunkenNES.

To play the game, each player must blow into a gutted NES cartridge that has been fitted with the alcohol sensor. The Nintendo computes the player’s BAC, reporting how intoxicated they are using simple graphics and cheesy animal puns. We don’t know when the code and schematics will be made available, but when they are, you can guarantee we will be building one for “research” purposes to pair with our Power Hour shot glass.

Keep reading to see some in game video of DrunkenNES

[Thanks Adam]

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Gameduino

Gameduino is an FPGA based sound and graphics adapter for microcontrollers. Laid out as an Arduino shield, all it really takes is a microcontroller with SPI and some code to send commands to the board which lets you toggle registers, handle memory, and drawing functions.

Once the data gets there, it is greeted by a Xilinx FPGA which puts out a 800×600 72Hz SVGA sync signal, large 512×512 pixel character scrolling backgrounds, piles of 16×16 (up to 256 color) sprites, each with per pixel transparency, rotation, flip, and if that was not enough a 12 bit frequency synth that can do 16 independent voices.

All the resources to make one of these is listed on the site under the Making a Gameduino link, but if youre interested in getting a made board there is also a kickstarter page available. There are other ways to squeeze video out of micro controllers from the basic like hackvision to AVGA or even Lucidscience AVR VGA v2, and tons of propeller projects, but this one being stand alone and portable, has a certain appeal.

Join us after the break for a quick video.

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555 Video Game

[Thrashbarg] is back up to some 555 timer madness again, this time with his sort of dodge ball video game. Featuring twenty three 555 timers, op amps (the LM324) and atari paddles slightly modded so the pots act as voltage dividers.

Output is on a monochrome composite tv signal, and the game plays like a dodge ball game where the object is to avoid the ball and take out the other player. You can also launch your own ball and deflect the oncoming attack. When hit the defeated player disappears from the screen for 3 seconds and then another round starts.

On a personal note this project hits close to home, as the project I had planned was a 555 based pong game, and just days before the deadline all I have is a wobbly sync generator, so seeing something close to what I had imagined, and working, makes me smile and feel a little better about my mental status.

Check out a short video after the break, and [Thrashbarg's] previous 555 project, The Synthanola.

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Pactuator: Mechanical Pac-Man Frame

As a proof of concept for his long term work in progress “The Pac-Machina” (an electro-mechanical reimagining of a Pac-Man cabinet), [Jonathan] needed some way to make a mechanical Pac-Man, flappy jaw and all. After working through a couple different design possibilities, he decided on an interesting setup which includes using a cog with only half its teeth to make the mouth open and close. Unfortunately, NAMCO BANDAI has asked him nicely not to sell these as kits, but he has helpfully included just about all that is required to make one of these from scratch. [Jonathan] even cut and laser etched his own faux-Victorian frame to keep his proof of concept Pac-Man ready until needed for the main project.