3W handheld laser raises hope for a real Lightsaber someday

That banner image may seem a little bit theatric, but it’s a good representation of what this 3W handheld laser can really do. Turn the thing on in a slightly smoky room and it looks exactly like a thin beam Lightsaber.

What kind of tricks would you expect this thing to perform? Perhaps it’ll pop some black balloons? Prepare to be shocked because it’s orders of magnitude more powerful than that. The video below shows it burning and igniting a collection of items almost instantly. [Styropyro] tested his creation by igniting paper, cardboard, flash paper, flash powder, burning through a stick of wood, and igniting an undisclosed substance at the end of the video. But one of our favorites is when he drives a solar powered toy car with the intense beam.

He pulled the diode from a DLP projector, and drives it with a pair of 18650 Lithium Ion batteries which are commonly found in laptops. He made the enclosure himself. It looks great but we can’t help but wonder if the components would fit in a painstakingly made replica.

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Fantastic programming makes this Arduino gaming device something special

The hardware that went into this Arduino gaming console is just fine. But the coding that produced this game called Twisted SNAKE is beyond compare. [Rodot] has programmed several games for the hardware, which uses an Arduino, 160×168 TFT screen, a 3 axis accelerometer, and two input buttons. If you’re interested, there is a forum thread in which he talks a bit more about the hardware design. But you’re not going to want to pass up either of the two videos embedded after the break.

The first clip shows off a bouncing-ball platforming game. The accelerometer moves the ball back and forth, and the top scrolling level brings more ledges into play. This in itself is a great game. But the Twisted SNAKE game shown off in the second video makes our own ARM-based Snake game look like a 3-year-old programmed it. [Rodot] filled up all of the program memory of the ATmega328 chip to  make this happen. There’s a menu system which allows for color themes and difficulty selection. The game play itself lets the snake travel anywhere it wishes with the tail following behind in graceful curves. Wow!

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Name these parts: Verifone payment module tear down

[Jerzmacow] got his hands on this Verifone Vx570 handheld payment terminal at a flea market. It’s got a thermal printer, a magnetic card reader, and then there’s the big LCD screen and buttons. In other words, lots of parts for his hacking amusement. But first, he decided to take a look at the parts that went into the design. He carefully disassembled the device, documenting what he found along the way. He mentions that there’s a switch pressing against the underside of the LCD which disables the hardware when disassembled. So it sounds like he won’t be able to get it to work again (there’s a Lithium battery inside which we’d guess powers some type of hardware kill switch circuit).

He posted an HD video of the tear down which we’ve embedded after the break. We find some of the design to be quite peculiar. Normally we have [Dave Jones] to walk us through design choices in his EEVblog hardware reviews. Since [Jerzmacow] wasn’t able to provide that level of insight, we’d love to hear what you think each piece of hardware is for. Leave your comments, along with time-stamps from the video. Specifically, what’s up with that strange board shown at 1:51? Continue reading “Name these parts: Verifone payment module tear down”

Portable gets a proper home in an arcade controller

[Luke] wanted an arcade-style controller that he could use for some gaming at home. He decided to use a portable game emulator as a base and then added his own joystick and buttons along with a custom case.

The donor hardware is a Dingo A320. It’s a nice little handheld with a 2.8″ screen, and plenty of potential to emulate games like Donkey Kong seen above, or to play homebrew. It’s even been the target of some RAM upgrades we looked in on in the past. The best part for [Luke’s] project is that it includes a video out port.

In the clip after the break you can see that [Luke] now has a compact controller with a huge arcade joystick, four buttons on the top surface, and the rest of the controls all around the edges of the enclosure. The video out option is selected in the menu system, so he preserved the original LCD for use during configuration.

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Sleek, disc-less GameCube handheld

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Console hacker [techknott] has a skill set that is quite possibly second to none. We do love [Ben Heck] and think that his portable consoles are beyond awesome, but you’ve got to check out this portable GameCube [techknott] put together.

While the construction details are pretty sparse, the video below shows off the bulk of the portable ‘Cube’s best features. Far smaller than his Flip-Top GameCube or Dreamcast portables we’ve featured in the past, his new handheld sports a wider screen and is completely disc-less. While the legality of booting backup copies of games from an SD card is something we won’t delve into, we do like the concept.

The console itself is probably only about one and a half times the width of a standard GameCube controller, and while it doesn’t sport an internal battery pack, we wouldn’t turn one down. Besides, who wants to play GameCube outside? With one of these in hand, we are more than happy to keep our pasty selves indoors, thank you very much.

The only complaint we have here is the lack of build details. [techknott’s] handheld consoles are pretty amazing – we just wish that we could see how the magic was made!

Be sure to check out the video below to see the console in action.

[Thanks, Dave]

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Solar-powered GameBoy Color never runs out of juice

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Instructables user [Andrew] was given a free, but damaged GameBoy color by a friend. The friend’s dog had done quite a number on the outside of the handheld, but it was definitely usable.  After replacing some of the outer shell, [Andrew] decided that he would try tweaking the GameBoy to utilize a solar cell in order to keep the batteries topped off.

He bought a solar garden light for $5 and disassembled it, being careful not to damage the heavily-glued solar panel in the process. The GameBoy was pulled apart next, and the solar panel was soldered to the handheld’s battery leads. Once the wires were properly routed through the case, he reassembled the handheld and picked up a pair of rechargeable AA batteries to test things out.

[Andrew] tells us that the solar panel works nicely, and that simply setting it out face-down keeps his batteries charged and ready to go.

Stick around for a quick video demo of his solar-powered GameBoy.

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Palm-sized Atari 2600

[The Longhorn Engineer] is working on a portable Atari 2600. Instead of taking the old gaming system and cramming it into a portable form factor he’s designed his own circuit board in a new-hardware initiative he calls Project Unity. The handheld will include everything you need to play, including video, audio, controller buttons, paddle control, and a cartridge connector. For the demonstration, embedded after the break, he’s using the Harmony Cartridge to store his Atari ROMs but do note that the system is designed to use cartridges rather than work solely as a game jukebox.

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