Sci-Fi Contest Roundup: Alien Autopsy And Jacking On

There’s still a few days left in our sci-fi contest, and unless you really pull out the stops today, it might be too late to get your entry in. Even though the contest is wrapping up, a lot of projects are wrapping things up and posting their finished projects. Here’s a few good ones.

These puns are awesome

chestbursterThe folks at the LVL1 hackerspace had the idea of making a life-sized game of Operation. This plan changed when someone at the hackerspace had the great idea of making it an alien autopsy. The game play remains the same, but this time the puns are awesome.

The play field is a life-sized alien, stuffed with metal-lined holes that set off a buzzer whenever the modified hemostat touches the side. Inside these holes are incredible puns that include, “Farscraped knee”, “Phantom Tentacle”, a “Tattoine removal”, “Jeffries Tuberculosis”, “HALatosis, “Babelfish in the Ear”, and “Grabthar’s Hammertoe”

The hackerspace took their alien autopsy game to the Louisville 2013 Mini Maker Faire where it was a huge hit. We’re thinking some of the puns were a little too obscure for the general population, but the attention to detail is impressive; there’s a 3D print of Pilot from Farscape. Awesome.

Jacking On

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In the Futurama universe, immoral robots get their fun by “Jacking On”, or supplanting their 6502-based CPUs with a ton of electricity. This is contraindicated by Bender’s operational manual, but a robot needs his fix, right?

[RodolpheH] and [pierrep] are building one of these jack dispensers, but instead of simply supplying a whole lot of electricity through a jack, they’re creating a Raspi-powered wireless audio streaming device. Plug some speakers into the jack, connect to the Raspi, and you’ve got a very cool audio system on your hands.

The team is going all out with the design of their jack dispenser, using random bits of plastic stuff for the enclosure and a USB-powered plasma ball for the top. It impresses random strangers, and that’s the only thing that’s important, right?

Shocking Operation makes sure you have skin in the game

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Odds are you played the game of Operation when you were a kid. The classic electronic toy challenges you to use a tethered tweezers to extract plastic pieces without touching the sides of the holes they’re hiding in. This upgrade makes the challenge more interesting for a grown-up audience. If you touch the sides you won’t hear a jarring sound, you’ll get a painful shock!

The modification starts by clipping off the melted plastic portions that hold the paperboard face plate on the game. From there the original electronics are completely removed. We think this a bit of a mistake as we’d still like spectators to hear the sound as the player gets a shock. But we digress. The circuit board from a disposable camera is patched into the game. A wrist band forms an electrical connection with your body, providing a path for the camera’s flash capacitor to discharge if you happen to touch the sides with the tweezers.

This write-up is missing one important thing: video of someone getting shocked. [Psycosisnine] promises to add some soon, but for now you’ll just have to fall back on our absolute favorite Mindflex shock project.

Adding a sound synthesizer to a ‘don’t-touch-the-sides’ maze game

Part of the fun of the classic game of Operation is the jump you get from the loud buzzer which sounds if you touch the sides. This exhibit piece uses the same principle of lining the edges of a track with metal, but instead of an annoying buzz, each touch will issue a bit of music. That’s because the maze has been paired with a synthesizer. Instead of one sound wherever the stylus touches the sides, different parts of the maze act as one of 94 keys for the synthesizer.

There’s a lot more built into the base of the device than just a maze game. The knobs are used to alter the audio effects and the buttons work in conjunction with they stylus to sequence audio samples. There’s even a graphic LCD screen which shows the currently playing wave form. You can get a better look at the project in the video after the break.

[Read more...]

Large version of Operation isn’t much easier than the original

Last weekend at the Detroit Maker Faire, the folks at the Lansing Makers Network brought a large-scale version of the classic electronic board game Operation.

MegOperation, as the Lansing hackerspace calls their build, is a gigantic printout of the chronically ill guy from Operation plastered onto a sheet of plywood. Wire loops surround each incision to detect when a surgeon’s unsteady hand when retrieving unnecessary body parts. These wire loops are connected to an Arduino that regulates the bell and light-up nose the team didn’t quite have time to finish.

Even though the team used an Arduino for their large-scale version of Operation – a game that doesn’t require any electronics besides a battery, wire, and buzzer – breaking out each body part to a separate Arduino pin seems pretty smart. A processing app keeps track of the time elapsed for each operation and can detect when the wire surrounding a particular incision is touched, perfect for competitive Operation play.

Wire loop game penalizes for touches by shrinking your wand

We really like this take on a conductive wire maze game. It’s the result of a 48-hour hackathon in Belgium which required that all projects stemming from the event use an Arduino. We think [Jan] and [Kristof] made perfect use of the prototyping device in the time allotted. The event organizers thought so too because this took top prize.

As you can see, the gaming area is two-sided, and consists of some copper wire bent into a maze. There’s a wand made out of a PVC pipe with a loop of braided cable running through it. The loop surrounds the copper track and each player needs to get from the beginning to the end, touching checkpoints along the way without coming in contact with the track.

Pretty standard, right? Well there’s a twist. At each checkpoint the Arduino signals a servo motor in the wand to make the loop smaller. Add to that a penalty/reward system: if you touch the track, your loop gets smaller and your opponent’s loop grows larger. Don’t miss the head-to-head action after the break.

This reminds us of that wire-based cave racer from a few years back. [Read more...]

Metal Race combines operation and calculator game

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[Greg] was feeling nostalgic about the game RACE for to TI-83 graphing calculator. In the game, your car is stationary with controls to move the scrolling maze from side to side in order to avoid a crash. He set out to build a physical version of the game with a don’t-touch-the-side concept that reminds us of Operation.

The game board is a wire frame constructed from paperclips then attached to a motorized frame. The vehicle is also metal and is attached to the lens sled from a scrapped CD-ROM drive. The maze scrolls from left to right with up and down vehicle motion controlled by two arcade buttons. An Arduino controls the motors and monitors the button inputs. He has plans to add a buzzer that sounds when the metal car “crashes” in to the wire walls of the maze. We’ve embedded video of the working game after the break. For more build photos take a look at his flickr set. [Read more...]

Lockpicking operation game

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[Moritz Waldemeyer], a favorite artist of ours, has a brand new project. He went wanting to design a 3D version of the game Operation. The piece he ended up with is called Keyhole Surgery. It’s essentially the laparoscopic version of operation. The player guides a metal key through the passages of a translucent block while attempting not to touch the walls. A counter on the side displays how many hits it has detected. The player with the smallest number wins. We love the modular potential of this project: the number of layers could be increased, the order could be changed, and more.

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