Hackaday Links: March 20, 2011

SNES Arcade Cabinet

arcade_cabinet

[Daniel] let us know that he finished up a SNES arcade cabinet he has been working on for awhile. It looks so good, he says that his wife has even agreed to let him keep it in the house!

DIY Overhead projector beamer

diy_beamer

[Liquider] sent us some information about a DIY beamer he built using an overhead projector and an old LCD panel. It looks like a great way to get a big-screen wall display set up in no time.

WordClock gets a makeover

wordclock

[Doug] wrote in to share with us some progress he has made on his WordClock. You might remember our coverage of this creative timepiece a little while back. This time around, he has built a new control board, and is using vinyl stencils for a much cleaner look.

Interactive water fountain

interactive_fountain

[Gerry Chu] is well known for his water-based imagery and projects. His most recent project is a water fountain that interacts with passers by. There are no real build details as of yet, but we hope to see some soon.

Sixty Symbols explains why glass is transparent

glass

Do you think you know why glass is transparent, but a brick is not? If you looked it up via Google, you are likely mistaken. A professor from the University of Nottingham explains why the Internet is so, so wrong about this, as well as how energy gap determines if photons of light can make it through a piece of glass. [via i09]

Simple fixes breathe new life into aging game consoles

dreamcast_repair

While the Sega Dreamcast has long been out of production, there is an avid fanbase that loves the console dearly. As with many CD/DVD-based consoles, the Dreamcast can sometimes run into issues reading discs, at which point all games are unplayable.

Instructables user [Andrew] got his hands on a pair of the consoles and found that one could not read CDs, while the other suffered from a fried controller interface board, the result of a controller wiring mix-up on his part. Determined to get the consoles up and running again, he disassembled them and got to work, sharing his fixes with us.

The CD drive fix is a pretty standard one. He first needed to locate the potentiometer that regulates the laser. Once he did, a slight counter-clockwise turn is all it required in order to increase the laser’s voltage. Once he did this, he popped in a game to see if it worked. No longer greeted with a disc read error when he powered on his Dreamcast, he reassembled the console and began work on the other one.

To fix his controller issues, [Andrew] had to remove the entire controller board from the console. He eventually located a resistor that had been damaged by his wiring mishap, and replaced it. The console was tested and seeing that the controllers worked again, he put everything back together.

While this pair of fixes is not incredibly complex, it’s nice to see people sharing their tips for bringing these consoles back to life.

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.

[Read more...]

Odroid: all the open, none of the contract

The Odroid derives its name from the combination of Open and Android. The hardware is aimed at the portable gaming market and runs Android. The specs are amazing, the device is open and begging you to develop for the platform.

The Samsung S5PC100 System-On-A-Chip provides the device with an ARM Cortex-A8 processor running at 833MHz. The usual suspects are all here, a capacitive touchscreen, accelerometer, SDHC slot, and WiFi. What you usually don’t expect to see is a serial debugger and 720p HD output. But the best part, we get all of this without a 2 year contract or the hardware being locked down as we’re used to with and Android based cell phone.

[Thanks Stillbourne via LinuxDevices]

Uzebox in an NES controller

[David Cranor] has managed to fit a fully working Uzebox system into an old NES controller. Uzebox, an open source gaming platform based on the ATmega 644 and an AD725 NTSC encoder, is one of a couple systems that are becoming more and more widespread and accessible. There are a number of ready-to-go Uzebox kits available, but for the more hands-on types, [David] has been very generous with his schematics and step by step instructions. These schematics can all be readily reshaped, and would easily fit into controllers with less fun applications and sentimental value.

Virtual pool, real-world interface

Sunday we saw robots playing pool and an augmented reality pool game. Today we’ll complete the pool trifecta: virtual pool using a real cue stick and ball in another vintage video from Hack a Day’s secret underground vault. The video is noteworthy for a couple of reasons:

First is the year it was made: 1990. There’s been much buzz lately over real-world gaming interfaces like the Nintendo Wii motion controller or Microsoft’s Project Natal. Here we’re seeing a much simpler but very effective physical interface nearly twenty years prior.

Second: the middle section of the video reveals the trick behind it all, and it turns out to be surprisingly simple. No complex sensors or computer vision algorithms; the ball’s speed and direction are calculated by an 8-bit processor and a clever arrangement of four infrared emitter/detector pairs.

The visuals may be dated, but the interface itself is ingenious and impressive even today, and the approach is easily within reach of the casual garage tinkerer. What could you make of this? Is it just a matter of time before we see a reader’s Mini-Golf Hero III game here?

C64 emulator for iPhone approved — minus BASIC

c64

After a lengthy process that had previously met with rejection, Manomio’s Commodore 64 emulator for the iPhone and iPod touch has finally been accepted by Apple. This marks the first time a multi-purpose emulation title has been approved by the App Store. The $4.99 C64 app comes bundled with five fully-licensed classic games, and additional titles can be purchased and downloaded directly within the application.

App Store policies prohibit software that could run downloadable code, which barred most emulation attempts in the past. A couple of Sega titles worked around this by nature of being single-purpose emulators. The condition by which the C64 title was finally approved was the removal of the BASIC programming language (though ironically it’s still shown in screen shots, even on the App Store). Since only sanctioned programs can be installed and run from within the application, no user-alterable code is present.

The C64 emulator is neat enough in itself, but the really encouraging news here is that a precedent has been set; the business model may open the floodgates for developers to bring more classic gaming titles to the iPhone platform. So download that SDK and get hacking!

[via TouchArcade]

Update: The iPhone Blog has a simple work-around for accessing BASIC!

Update 2: App pulled, no surprise. If you jumped on the opportunity while it was available, [George’s] comment might be of interest.