Flaming guitar hero

[Chris Marion] knew he wanted to play with fire, or more accurately with fireball spewing valves, but he need a good project in which he could use them. Inspiration finally struck and he built this controller that matches fireballs to the fret buttons on a Guitar Hero controller. There’s quite a lot that goes into this but we think that he hit a home run. The basic components are a manifold with electronically actuated valves, another manifold for the pilot lights, and a modified Guitar Hero controller.

To interface the controller he used an Arduino along with [Bill Porter's] PS2 library to read signals from the buttons. But the real labor intensive part of the build came with the manifold. There’s a hardware store’s worth of fittings and flexible copper pipe that go into that assembly. In the end this all came together in just one week.

[Thanks Bill]

Sluggy Wind Speed Sensor

Sometimes when we look at a hack, its to see how someone chose those parts for the project. In this case, it would have been hard to see it coming. [Janne Jansson] decided to combine a set of measuring cups, a hacked Linksys NSLU2 NAS, and a PS/2 Mouse together to make a self-contained Wind Speed Sensor for his roof. The measuring cups act as wind catchers, which in turns drives the rotation of one of the mouse ball sensors. This data is then logged and transmitted by the NSLU2. The NSLU2 is running a custom Linux based firmware, similar to how OpenWRT works for wireless routers.

To calibrate the device, he also made the best logical choice: to duct tape it to the hood of his car along with a much more expensive wind sensor and use that data to make his own device as accurate as possible. When placed atop his house with a 1500VA 220V UPS, the device managed 250 days of uptime before meeting its demise. Those 250 days also included 5 days of being frozen solid, yet still transmitting (somewhat meaningless) data. All of the relevant code and build instructions are available, for those of you with similar parts to spare.

Czech Discovery Ressurects PS/2 Keyboard

Like us, you probably have piles of old PS/2 keyboards occupying strategic positions in your house and causing all sorts of trouble with the neighbours. As luck would have it, there is a way to put those lazy peripherals to work!

Our friends in the Czech Republic have successfully interfaced a PS/2 keyboard to an STM32 Discovery board (translated), and not a moment too soon—just in time for you to integrate their work into your entries for those juicy contests we told you about (the European one and the North American one).

The project page contains an in-depth walkthrough of how the PS/2 connection talks to the keyboard hardware along with source code and links, more than enough information to get started with a PS/2 keyboard hack on your Discovery application. And why stop at keyboards? Give your old PS/2 mouse a new lease on life, or even hook up your custom game controller to spice up the experience.

PC game controller with a touch of class

The above is a specially designed game controller made by [Giorgos] solely for the RTS game Men Of War (now that’s dedication to a game). [Giorgos] started off with a rough breadboard and 11 buttons. Slowly overtime he included a joystick, countdown timers, and the wonderfully lit case. Under the hood is a couple of PIC microcontrollers multiplexing the switches, LEDs, timers, and also interfacing with the computer via how is it not dead yet PS/2 port. The build log is a very detailed read and well worth it, even if you’re not planning on making a custom controller. [Ben Heck] better watch out, there is a new controller making enthusiast on the loose.

Electric mountainboard with wireless control

[Andres Guzman] is chauffuering himself around the University of Illinois campus thanks to his wirelessly controlled mountainboard. He added a brushless motor to drive the rear axel with the help of a chain. Power is provided by a Lithium Iron Phosphate battery which we’ve seen used in other electric vehicles due to its lightweight properties. A wireless PlayStation 2 controller operates the motor but steering remains a lean-to-turn system.

PlayStation 2 portable

[Raizer04] just completed his PlayStation 2 portable build. He feels that the PS2 hardware has much more to offer than the PSP and that’s why he chose to cram the PS2 slim hardware into a portable case. He started with an electronic toy to serve as a case donor and used bondo to form openings for the controller, speakers, lights, and screen. A beautiful paint job and some metal work resulted in the pleasant finish seen above. On the back you’ll find a lighted case fan, hard drive, and USB port. There’s no optical drive as games are loaded from a thumb drive. Take a look at the demo video after the break, but do yourself a favor and turn your sound all the way down first.

If this doesn’t quench your thirst for portable console projects you might also take a look at this N64 build.

[Read more...]

Keyboard input for PlayStation

Anyone who has tried their hand at RPG Maker 1 (or any text input with a controller) knows how difficult it can be typing long paragraphs into the console. [Thutmose] is here to save the day with Kupid 1.0 (2.0 in production). A PICAXE takes ps/2 keyboard input and converts it to a series of d-pad button presses for PS1 and PS2 controllers, providing quick data entry compared to the previously monotonous task.

We’re happy to learn that the source code and hardware is released, meaning it has the potential to be easily adapted to any controller/console.

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