[Alex] shows us what happens when Dance Dance Revolution meets Simon


[Alex] was digging through his closet and came upon an old PS2 game pad for Dance Dance Revolution. He hated the idea of throwing it out just slightly more than the idea of playing DDR again, so he decided to find a way to reuse it.

He was a big fan of the game Simon (aka Genius) as a kid and thought that the DDR pad would make a novel interface for the classic game. Using the PS2XLib by [Bill Porter], which allows an Arduino to easily communicate with a PS2 controller, [Alex] put his Simon replica together in no time flat.

He painted an empty ice cream container with the classic Simon colors, installing a small LED under each quadrant, then wrote the game’s code.

As you can see in the video below, his version of the game works nicely, and forces you to actually get up and move a bit, which we like.

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USB and PS/2 key loggers and mess with your grammar

[Irongeek] is up to his old tricks once again with this new key logger prototype. It’s in the early stages, as attested by the breadboard built circuit, but [Adrian] still gives us a demo video after the break showing where he’s at right now. It comes in two flavors, the USB pass through seen above, or another that still connects to the computer via USB but functions with a PS/2 keyboard.

Aside from the obvious issue of a key logger stealing everything you type, there’s some prank value in this device too. The Teensy has more than enough processing power to watch what you typing and make changes as it goes. He shows off blatant rewrites, like changing “has” to “haz” or “you” to “U”. We think it would be better to change things like “they’re” to “their” or “it’s” to “its”. These would be very difficult to see happening and if you added randomness to how often the replacements occur, your victim would sooner come to the conclusion that they’re going crazy than that they’re the target of a little hazing. In fact, that’s probably the reason for our own grammar errors though the years; blast!

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Interfacing with a PS/2 mouse

[David] sent in his implementation of reading a PS/2 mouse with a PIC microcontroller and some LED displays. Of course, this follows hot on the heels of using a PIC with a PS/2 keyboard so now might be the time to start digging out your old peripherals out of your junk pile.

[David] began his project trying to figure out how to connect a mouse to his breadboard. After hacking the plastic off a PS/2 mouse extension cord, he wired everything up according to the pinout. Programming the PIC to understand PS/2 commands was a little strange. [David] is used to having his microcontrollers provide the clock signal. The PS/2 protocol is a bit strange as the peripheral sets the clock. Since PS/2 is a bidirectional protocol, the mouse also accepts commands. The host – [David]’s PIC – must send the mouse a command to start sending movement data.

Because USB keyboards and mice are backwards compatible with PS/2 ports, [David] tried out a few USB mice with a USB to PS/2 adapter. Every attempt at using a USB mouse failed. Strangely, when a Bluetooth mouse was tried (via Bluetooth to USB to PS/2), everything worked perfectly. Check out [David]’s PIC mouse demo after the break.

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Interfacing with a PS/2 Keyboard

Anyone reading this post has undoubtedly used a keyboard. How they work, however, is a bit more complicated than “one button, one input.”  [PyroElectro] has a great tutorial about building a PS/2 keyboard interface with a 7-segment LED display (video after the break). The tutorial also includes quite a bit of theory behind it.

The system displayed below uses a PIC controller to display the letter or number pressed. A schematic of the whole project is given here as well as a detailed bill of materials.

As for how the PS/2 keyboard works, each keystroke is encoded into a binary number or “scan code”. Most of these codes are 8-bit, but some special symbols use a longer code. Although the article doesn’t fully address it, a very similar method can be used to send data back to the keyboard for such purposes as tuning on a “capslock” or “numlock” key. Although turning on a light is fun, we could see this being used as an expedient method to control a relay for automation purposes.

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God’s own keyboard, now with Bluetooth

For decades a thunderous roar rose from the bowels of IBM keyboards like the animus of angry and forgotten gods. These keyboards have fallen silent of late, due only to incompatibility with newer hardware. Now, Model Ms have been given a reprieve from landfills or recycling centers because of the work of [wulax] of geekhack and his Model M Bluetooth controller board.

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Be lazy, and get somewhere at the same time

Cruise the beach in comfortable Jamaican style with this motorized hammock. [Stephen Shaffer] and his friends built it for the Red Bull Creation contest which has as its number one requirement, the need to include an Arduino. We’re basically looking at a hammock frame made out of square pipe that has been put on wheels. Watch the video after the break to see the prototyping, construction, and final product. Looks like originally the electric wheelchair base that’s used for propulsion was centered below the hammock. One sharp turn and the rider/operator gets dumped out on the concrete.

The final version includes a couple of wheels that serve as outriggers, keeping the vehicle upright. A PlayStation 2 controller is used for steering and directional control. It’s polled by the Arduino, which then uses servo motors to control the original wheelchair joystick. At least that’s what we were able to figure out by watching the video.

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Keyboard Converter 2 Pack

[REVENGE] pointed out a couple cool little project posts from the geekhack fourms converting vintage keyboards to USB with a Teensy. They both have VUSB support, so any avr micro controller that meets VUSB’s requirements in theory could be used.

First up is a PS/2 to USB keyboard converter, and while yes this has been done many times before, this one sports some extra features not often seen, like mouse keys, system and multimedia keys, and keymap customization. Instructions are also provided for use with a non USB enabled avr controller (like a mega 168, or 328) through the VUSB library (though with not all features available).

Next is pretty much the same thing, but it converts Apple Desktop Bus to USB, which is not exactly rare, but its lack of a clock serial signal, somewhat variable timing, and the fact that you wont find a bucket of Apple keyboards for a buck at the thrift store makes any ADB converter worth mentioning.

VUSB instructions seem to be the same for either, source is available and there are some cool pictures and info listed, and besides what is more fun than being able to plug your Model M into your netbook, or your Apple Extended Keyboard into your mac mini.