Super Mario on a Human-Machine-Interface!

super mario

Getting Super Mario to work on your TI-83 calculator is almost a rite of passage for young geeks, so we really liked this project where [Chad Boughton] managed to get it running on a PLC’s HMI screen instead!

He’s using a Danfoss DP600LX microcontroller with an HMI display along with a CAN bus joystick. This kind of equipment is typically used to control hydraulic systems, as well as display sensor data — [Chad] was curious to see if he could do animation with it as well — it looks like he’s succeeded! The funny thing is we’ve seen those “joysticks” before and it’s cool to see them used for something like this — like [Chad] said, they’re normally used for actuating hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders.

Stick around after the break to see Mario eat some mushrooms.

[Read more...]

Mario Doorbell Guaranteed To Drive A-You A-Crazy

marioDoorbell

Is your doorbell not exciting enough for your guests? [Joe] wanted to provide a little entertainment for his visitors, so he redesigned his doorbell with a Mario theme.

Whenever someone presses the button—which carries the Mario coin image—the segment display increments and the Mario coin sound plays. To add variety, the life-up sound plays at every 10 coins and the mushroom upgrade sound plays upon reaching 100. [Joe] tried putting the life-up sound at its appropriate 100’s place and the mushroom sound at every 10, but he decided the brevity of life-up was more tolerable in the 10’s slot.

The project was divided into two components. The door button has a PIC16F628A microcontroller with a dual 7-segment LED display, a button, and a homemade circuit board. All this lives in a simple box covered by a Yoshi’s Island-themed decal. The button’s board connects to a separate ringer board—based around a PIC16F87—with a MCP4822 DAC and a 25LC1024 EEPROM. Button presses on the first board prompt a request for a sound clip read on the EEPROM. Keep clicking for a demo video below.

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Mario plays piano with a little help from Raspberry Pi

mario-piano

[David] has created his own live robot band to play live versions of the music and sound effects of NES games. Most of us who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s have the music of Nintendo games burned into our brains. While there have been some amazing remixes created over the years, [David] has managed to do something truly unique. Armed with an emulator, some software prowess, and a pair of Raspberry Pis, [Dave] created a system that plays game music and sound effects on analog instruments. A Yamaha Disklavier player piano handles most of the work through a connection to a Raspberry Pi. Percussion is handled by a second Pi.  Snare drum, wood block, and tambourine are all actuated by a custom solenoid setup.

The conversion process all happens on the fly as the game is played. [Dave] says the process has about ½ second of lag when played live, but we’re sure that could be fixed with some software tweaks. [Read more...]

Teaching a computer to play Mario… seemingly through voodoo

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Some people know [Tom Murphy] as [Dr. Tom Murphy VII Ph.D.] and this hack makes it obvious that he earned those accolades. He decided to see if he could teach a computer to win at Super Mario Bros. But he went about it in a way that we’d bet is different that 99.9% of readers would first think of. The game doesn’t care about Mario, power-ups, or really even about enemies. It’s simply looking at the metrics which indicate you’re doing well at the game, namely score and world/level.

The link above includes his whitepaper, but we think you’ll want to watch the 16-minute video (after the break) before trying to tackle that. In the clip he explains the process in laymen’s terms which so far is the only part we really understand (hence the reference to voodoo in the title). His program uses heuristics to assemble a set of evolving controller inputs to drive the scores ever higher. In other words, instead of following in the footstep of Minesweeper solvers or Bejeweled Blitz bots which play as a human would by observing the game space, his software plays the game over and over, learning what combinations of controller inputs result in success and which do not. The image to the right is a graph of it’s learning progress. Makes total sense, huh?

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Booting a 1989 Mac with Mario

As a new recruit to the 68k Macintosh Liberation Army, [dougg3] is really showing off his hardware hacking ability. He came up with a replacement ROM SIMM for his Mac IIci and made it play the Mario theme on boot instead of the normal chimes.

Swapping out the ROM in these old macs isn’t an uncommon procedure. On some 68k machines, there’s a SIMM slot to either replace or expand the soldered ROM. In fact, it’s fairly common to take the ROM SIMM out of a IIsi and put it in the king of kings computer to make an SE/30 32-bit clean. We’ve never seen a re-writable ROM SIMM for these old macs, so we’re pretty sure [dougg3] just spared a Mac IIsi from the dumpster.

Now that the entire 68k Liberation Army is clamoring for one of [dougg3]‘s re-writable ROMs (we’ve got cash), the question of what to do with it comes up. Of course, SE/30s can now be 32-bit clean without installing MODE32 and new startup chimes can be added. We’d really like to see some hard-core ROM hacking going on, like installing a 68060 in a Quadra 950.

[Read more...]

No quarters required for this sidescrolling game in a box

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[Adam] from Teague Labs wrote in to share a new gadget they built to help demonstrate the capabilities of the Teagueduino. Their table top video game in a box was made with a bunch of electronic components they had sitting around, as well as soda straws, plenty of painter’s tape, and some popscicle sticks.

When someone pulls the string on the front of the box, a servo opens it automatically, and a second servo starts spinning the game reel. As the reel moves, the player is presented with a set of obstacles to dodge, guiding the “hero” via a knob-controlled servo. A hall sensor attached to the back of the character is tripped when passing over any of the obstacles, which are attached to the reel with magnetic tape. When the hero collides with an obstacle, the game ends and proceeds to close itself, much to the chagrin of the player.

As you can see in the video below, it’s a pretty entertaining and challenging game.

Looking to make one of your own? Swing by the Teagueduino site to grab the game’s code and be sure to share your creations with us in the comments.

[Read more...]

Super Mario coin block lamp is a Nintendo fanboy’s dream come true

super_mario_coin_block_lamp

[Laurence] was racking his brain coming up with potential birthday gifts for his friend when the idea of a Super Mario Bros. coin block lamp popped into his head. The block is constructed from drain pipe, a few pieces of plywood, some perspex, and a whole lot of awesome.

He wanted the lamp to make sounds when it was turned on and off, so he put together an audio circuit based on [LadyAda’s] WaveShield. His design is similar, though he swapped out the DIP packages for SOIC versions, adding a DAC, Op amp, and an audio buffer to fit his needs.

Once he had his electronics in order, he started construction of the lamp, painting the drain pipe green and mounting it under his light’s base. He built a large perspex box to serve as the coin block itself, printing the familiar graphics on tracing paper which he then glued into place. An arcade button adorns the top of the box, making for a very appropriate and fun light switch.

Be sure to check out the video below to see the lamp in action. We’re just a bit jealous of [Laurence’s] friend, and we sure wouldn’t mind having one of these in our office to sit alongside this mechanical coin block we featured a while back.

[Read more...]

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