HID crafting with a PIC and a joystick

[Amr Bekhit] converted his gameport joystick to use as a USB joystick. Much like a universal USB joystick interface, this uses an additional microcontroller to talk to the serial bus while monitoring the controls on the stick. [Amr's] discussion about creating HID descriptors is clear and easy to understand. What he’s laid out can be translated to any custom HID your heart desires. Give it a try with that old peripheral that’s been gathering dust in the corner.

Interfacing with an analog joystick

[Firestorm_x1] put together a tutorial about interfacing an analog joystick with a microcontroller. These analog sticks are easy to find; he got his from Goodwill but we’ve got a couple in our junk box right now. The stick uses variable resistors to report its position so it’s just a matter of reading and interpreting that data. After explaining the concepts he demonstrates how to use the joystick to control a Basic Stamp 2 based robot, the Boe-Bot. This could easily be adapted for use with other robot platforms.

Cubicle-dwellers rewarded for reflexes

[StudioJooj] is trying to torture or test his colleagues in his office. A lot of folks leave a candy jar on their desks for all to enjoy but he’s making his friends work for their reward. Like cubicle-dwelling lab subjects, they must successfully navigate his maze to be rewarded with chocolate. The game piece is an amazingly orb-like peanut M&M candy. The maze is constructed from plywood and moves on two axis with the help of a couple of servos. The user interface includes a couple of NES console buttons to release the game piece and a PS2 joystick to control the maze. [StudioJooj] was nice enough to include a music video in his project clip.

We wonder the M&Ms will disappear faster or slower than they would from a candy jar.

[via SparkFun]

Joystick controlled alarm clock

While it may sound like a dirty joke, turning off the alarm clock with a wiggle of your joystick is entirely possible here. [Sean] was inspired by the light gun alarm clock featured in Make magazine a while back and decided to build something similar. Instead of going the light gun route, he chose to use a joystick. You set the time on the clock using the joystick and the fire button works as a snooze button. Though it currently doesn’t have a snooze-waggle feature, it could without too much effort.

[Sean]‘s server is small. He notes in his comments that he can’t handle the traffic from us. This is why we had to find it our selves instead of him submitting it. Tsk Tsk. To help, we have included the few other pictures of his build after the break. If you really want to overload his poor little server, you’ll find the link to his site here, instead of at the beginning of the article.

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USB accelerometer controller

As you can see above, there is no wiimote in that accessory steering wheel. There is, instead, a home-made accelerometer controller that connects to the pc via USB. Based around a PIC 18F2550 and a 2 axis accelerometer, this device is detected by windows as a standard controller. The schematic and source code are available on his website. He says it can also be used as a “motion mouse”. You can see a video of that after the break.

When we first saw the video, we thought it might be the same person as the accelerometer controlled maze project, due to the wiimote steering wheel casing.

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Build your own joystick

macgyver_joystick

What can you build with a ballpoint pen and some extra parts? [gzip] found himself with a bonus box of right angle switches and other miscellaneous parts and set out to build a joystick. Simple arcade joysticks use switches that are actuated by the movement of the stick and this design embraces the concept. The four tactile switches are mounted on protoboard facing each other with part of a ballpoint pen in the middle. When the pen is moved it presses against one or more switches to close, completing a circuit. For good measure he even incorporated a fire button into the top of the “stick”. Now we just need someone to make this work with a tiny Ms. Pac-Man emulator.

2 axis joystick from VCR parts

joy

[eric] has found that he can build a pretty nice 2 axis joystick out of some VCR parts. Specifically, he’s using the idler wheel. When you disassemble the idler wheel, you’ll find that it has a bevelled washer in the perfect location to help with smooth joystick operation. Add a spring and a hole in some wood and you’ve got the basics. All you need to add now are the switches. This is a fantastic example of recycling parts, you never would have guessed that it was made from trash.