Bejeweled Blitz bot makes your high score look just sad

Programmers don’t need to get good at a game to achieve a high score, they code a bot for that instead. Take [hypnotizd] for instance. He was learning to write in the C# language and decided to make a bot that plays Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook. He figures he took between 48 and 72 hours of coding over a couple of weeks, but remember, he was learning the language at the same time. We think you’d be hard pressed to achieve a 1.5 million range score by yourself, even with that amount of practice time.

We spoke with [hypnotizd] yesterday afternoon to get a bit of background on how he made this happen. His code (he’s not releasing it so you’ll have to write your own) scrapes the screen image as input. You can see at the beginning of the video after the break that he sizes his app to properly align each jewel in its grid. The program then identifies each game piece by finding the center of the cell and taking a 25 square-pixel average color. Many of the jewels are easily recognized in this first pass, but some are harder and require several different tests to identify. That’s the difficult part, choosing the best move is just a matter of coming up with your own rules on how the bot should play the game.

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Locking notebook enclosure

[Dombeef] made a locking enclosure for his sketchbook. The diamond seen in the center of the book is formed by the four sliding parts of the lock. Only with the proper movements will you get the cover open so you can plan your next hack.

He was inspired by this wooden version created by artist [Kagen Schaefer]. There were no tips about how the mechanism was made but a bit of deep thinking led [Dombeef] to discover the secret. Being the papercraft ninja that he is (he makes things like gyroscopes, strandbeests, and claws) this was created using cardstock as the parts. There is a wooden pin on the right that serves as the latch. Each of the four puzzle pieces moves around each other to free a slot from its hold on the notched latch.

There is a diagram showing the parts and their movements in the post linked above. [Dombeef] also mentioned an animated GIF that he promises to publish soon.

MB LED is next generation of LED video block puzzles

Meet MBLed, a set of interactive 8×8 LED tiles. Put them next to each other and they will orient themselves into a video screen which is the sum of the parts. If this sounds familiar it’s because we’ve seen the concept before in the GLiP project. [Guillaume] tells us that MB Led is the new version of GLiP and from what we’ve seen they’ve made a lot of progress.

The hardware is well designed. A PCB hosts the STM32 microcontroller and a pair of pin headers which receive the RGB LED matrix module. A pair of AA battery holders make up the legs for the device. Each has infrared receiver/emitter pairs on each of the four edges and constantly polls for its neighbors.

What really impresses us is the algorithms they’re using for communications. FreeRTOS runs on the ARM processors, and a series of messages was developed which allow the blocks to elect a leader, and follow its commands via the distributed system. Check out more about those algorithms on the page linked above, and join us after the break to see the demo video.

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Mystery Box out of Lego

[Todd] recently completed completed his biggest LEGO project, and its pretty wild. The Mystery Box is an 8 compartment LEGO brick puzzle box, covered in a psychedelic pattern of interconnecting question marks.

The question mark pattern was inspired by a few things, the book called “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” contained an illustration that looked sort of like a M.C. Escher painting, which with some looking around brought up tessellation. With the look in mind [Todd] sat down with a paint program, drew out a grid, and started flood filling blocks until the pattern was perfect.

In puzzle box tradition, to gain access to the contents you must remove each compartment in the specific mystery order, and to accomplish this was no easy task. Lego Digital Designer was used to prototype everything on the box and then once happy, [Todd] broke the model down for a parts count.

Nearly 8,000 parts, 35 brick orders, and some long waits, the box was finally completed and its definetly worth a look. If you’re not that extreme, they also make cool electronics enclosures.

Reverse geocache features UI and is reprogrammable

Here is yet another offering in the Reverse Geocache puzzle arena. We’ve been getting a lot of tips about these projects but this one in particular stuck out from the others. [Mure] packed in a bunch of features, starting with the LCD screen seen above. You can just make out the single red button near the bottom of the image which is used to traverse the menu. The octagonal box has an octagonal PCB inside that includes a USB connector. As you can see in the video after the break, this can be used for charging the batteries, and communicating with the internals. An accompanying program is used to generate puzzle data, which can then be programmed via that USB connection to set a new puzzle location. This functionality certainly protects against accidental lock-outs which were a problem with the last puzzle we looked in on.

Great interactive LED puzzle

The GLIP project takes the delight of blinking LEDs and combines it with the ingenuity of modular communications. This takes the Puzzlemation concept a few steps further. In that project the modules were programmed through a base station and could be removed and used as a puzzle from there. The GLIP project uses a master block that you can see tethered in the photo. But the blocks communicate with each other via an infrared protocol. This way they can be continuously updated as they are place next to each other. Each module includes an STM32F105 ARM Cortex-M3 processor, quite a punch for the little blocks. Take a look at what they can do after the break.

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Reverse GeoCache puzzle gets downsized

[Markus] built his own reverse geocache puzzle box but on a smaller scale than the original. His is based around a PIC 18F2520 and powered by two AAA batteries. The user interface includes one button, a 16×2 character LCD, and a piezo speaker. The box unlocks itself when the GPS module inside detects the proper location on the globe. There is also a secret code that can be tapped on the button to unlock the box prematurely, and another to show the locations in which the user attempted to open the box. This build doesn’t leave much room for a payload, but [Markus] did a great job designing the board and making the components fit as efficiently as possible.