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MSP430 gaming shield based on the Gameduino

Get your 8-bit gaming fix with this gaming shield for the TI Launchpad. It’s called the Launchpad GamingPack and was developed as part of TI’s 2012 Intern Design Contest. The team had just six weeks to complete the project.

The video after the break starts off with some fast-motion PCB layout. It is followed by footage of the board being populated, then anchored with graphics testing and some game play demonstrations. It looks like a real blast! NES controller ports were included on the board, and the device puts out 400×300 VGA, as well as audio.

As with the Gameduino, the hard work is done by the FPGA at the center of this board. It handles all of the VGA timing work, using what looks like 3-bit color. It is also responsible for generating the audio and monitoring the inputs. Since the team was under a time crunch the shield also includes a 10-pin header on the underside which was added for easy connection with a logic analyzer.

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Tracking satellites with an Arduino

The guys over at brainwagon just finished up ANGST, the Arduino n’ Gameduinio Satellite Tracker, a build that displays 160 different satellites in Earth orbit on any SVGA monitor.

The build is of course based off an Arduino and Gameduino shield. A real-time clock is always needed for a satellite tracker, so a DS1307 RTC is thrown into the mix. The satellite data is stored on a 128KB EEPROM that is big enough to hold 750 different satellites and orbits.

The software side of things is a bit trickier. The guys at brainwagon used [James Miller]‘s very popular and very old-school PLAN-13 sat tracking software. This orbit calculation program was published in 1983 and has since been ported from BBC Basic to just about every system imaginable.

Once the ANGST is hooked up and powered on, it reads the real-time clock and calculates the position of a satellite. This is done in real-time and updated every three minutes. On the screen, the last orbit (and a little more) is displayed along with the sun and the location of the ANGST. You might not find something like ANGST at the Space Command at NORAD, but we can’t think of a better way to keep track of the cubesats and spy sats above our heads.

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