The first Raspberry Pi build is a MAME machine

The Raspberry Pi was launched nearly a month ago, but these wonderful cheap single-board computers are still on their way from China to the workbenches of hackers and builders around the globe. Although they haven’t shipped yet, plenty of people are chomping at the bit to do something useful with the Raspi. [Nicholas] figured he should hit the ground running, so he emulated a Raspberry Pi to get everything ready for the MAME machine he’ll build when his new toy arrives.

[Nick] found a Raspi VirtualBox image on the official Raspberry Pi forums. After getting a web browser up and running with a few console keystrokes, he turned his attention to a MAME emulator. It’s a relatively simple install (although it did take six hours to compile), but we’re sure the Raspi will be featured in quite a few MAME builds so it was time well spent.

Sure, the Raspberry Pi you ordered a month ago is probably on a container ship in the middle of the ocean right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start planning your build. Just load up a VirtualBox image, check out a few of the tutorials, and you’re ready to go.

Hackaday Links: January 5, 2012

Now make it life size

Here’s a scale model of the classic Playstation game Wipeout. It uses quantum levitation, superconductors, liquid nitrogen, and incredibly detailed models of the cars in Wipeout. They’re able control the speed and direction of the cars electronically. Somebody get on making one of these I can drive. Never mind, it’s totally fake, but here’s a choo-choo that does the same thing. Thanks for the link, [Ben].

Found a use for eight copies of Deep Impact

Where do you keep all your wire? [Paul] keeps his inside VHS tapes. It’s one of the most efficient ways of storing wire we’ve seen, just don’t touch those VHS copies of the original Star Wars trilogy.

There’s MAME machines for pinball?

MAME arcade machines are old hat, but we’ve never seen something to emulate pinball. The build uses two LCD monitors, a small computer and PinMAME. There’s videos in the build log; tell us if we’re stupid for wanting to build one. Thanks go to [Adrian] for sending this one in.

LEGO binary to decimal conversion

[Carl] is doing a few experiments to see if it’s possible to build a calculating machine out of LEGO. He managed to convert four bits of binary into decimal. We’ve seen a LEGO Antikythera mechanism but nothing on the order of an Analytical Engine or some Diamond Age rod logic. Keep it up, [Carl].

Lubs and Dubs that aren’t for dubstep

The folks at Toymaker Television posted a neat demo of heart rhythms emulated with a microprocessor. It cycles through normal sinus rhythm, atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, and everything else that can go wrong with your heart. We know some nurses that would have loved this in school.

MAMEing a CNC router

[Ed] is pretty old school. He loves the functionality of old industrial shop tools that have their own dedicated systems. With huge candy-like buttons, who wouldn’t? [Ed] decided to replicate this aesthetic by building a MAME controller for his Mach3 controlled router.

[Ed] had a bunch of MAME buttons and joysticks sitting around from a forgotten project. With his vinyl plotter, it was relatively easy to make a very nice looking control panel. To connect the buttons to the Mach3 computer, a disused I-Pac was brought into the mix. The I-Pac reads the state of the buttons and sends keyboard codes over USB to the computer.

Because the very popular Mach3 CNC software responds to hotkeys, it was very simple to make the buttons do as they say. [Ed] has full control over the X, Y, and Z axes as well as the spindle speed. It seems like this would be interesting to do some ‘free form’ CNC work on [Ed]‘s router.

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MAME cabinet 3D modeled and CNC milled

[Entropia] is just putting the final touches on his bar-top MAME cabinet (translated). The project started out as a 3D model to get the case dimensions just right. An old laptop is being, so the enclosure was designed to fit the bare LCD assembly and hide the rest of the computer. [Entropia] had access to a CNC mill through an education program and used it to cut most of the parts for the case out of MDF.

From there the build proceeds as normal. Mounting holes for the controls were cut with a drill and hole saws. We think it’s a bit easier to lay this design out once you have the control panel itself milled, rather than try to get it right in the 3D model. The image above is part way through the build. Since it was taken the case has been painted and a sound system was added but it looks like it’s still waiting for a bezel over the LCD and a marquee for the masthead.

You can see a demo of the game selection UI after the break.

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Turn your Wireless Keyboard into a MAME Controller!

For those of you that have a wireless keyboard laying around, you might be tempted to turn it into something else, like a wireless MAME controller. For those not familiar with it, MAME stands for “Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator” and is generally used to run older arcade games on a computer.

Encoders are available for this purpose, however, intending to save some money, and having an unused wireless keyboard, I decided to try to make one myself.  As far as I know there are no wireless encoders available for this purpose, so that was part of the motivation for trying this.

In this post I go over my mechanical design for the cabinet as well as the electrical process of going from keyboard to MAME controller. I did eventually get the thing working, but if more than a couple buttons were pressed simultaneously, some presses were omitted. The conclusion I eventually came to was that it was better to use an encoder to control everything. Not wireless, but much more reliable. If I absolutely needed a wireless controller in the future, I would think modding an actual wireless controller (or two) in a similar manner would have worked better for my purposes.

A MAME cabinet fit for a Doctor (Who)

tardis_mame_console

While many people would be satisfied leaving a MAME console on their desk, others take the time to put their MAME creations in a nice, authentic arcade cabinet. Some people like [Simon Jansen] take the craft to a whole new level, crafting a TARDIS from the ground up in order to house a MAME console.

It all started with a computer that had no real purpose. [Simon] decided it would be great to use as a MAME console, so he started brainstorming ideas for an enclosure. As he tells it, he was staring out a window looking for inspiration when his eye caught a giant billboard for [Dr. Who], complete with a TARDIS. The rest was history.

The MAME cabinet is about 3/4 the size of an on-set TARDIS, and crafted mostly from MDF. Plenty of time was spent analyzing the different TARDIS designs featured on the show over the years, paying special attention to even the smallest of details. Once the construction of the TARDIS was complete, [Simon] started work on the MAME portion of the project.

His MAME console was built to completely fit inside the TARDIS when closed, but it also had to take into account the box’s inward folding doors, which take up a good bit of space. The base was also made from MDF, and includes a durable white plastic panel in which the controls are mounted.

The final result is amazing – it does the TARDIS justice, and it looks like plenty of fun to play as well.

Androcade is a controller and stand in one

We remember when retro-gaming required a lot of equipment and a serious time commitment to put together a gaming interface. [Scooter2084] proves that we’ve come a long way with this gaming controller built to complement Android hardware.

It’s not immediately obvious from the image above, but the controller itself looks just like Andy the Android. His head is tilted upward and acts as the tablet stand, while his torso hosts the controls. We don’t the arms and legs have a functional use but they are necessary to complete the look.

Traditionally arcade controls have used a hacked gamepad, or dedicated hardware like the MAME cabinets that use iPac control boards. But this rendition interfaces the joystick and four buttons using an Arduino. A Bluetooth shield lets you control the Android device wirelessly, and opens up the possibility to use this as a controller for laptop-based emulators and the like. Don’t miss the video after the break.

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