Pick up that can, [Jeri]

We all need an excuse to play Half-Life 2 sometimes. [Jeri Ellsworth] put together a My First Crowbar controller to throw a few headcrabs across the room. It’s pretty much Half-Life 2 for the Wii.

The build is very simple – just a tilt switch hot glued to the underside of a childs-size crowbar. Two leads go from the tilt switch to the contacts on a (PS3?) controller. All you need to do to attack is swing the crowbar wildly.

[Jeri] has us wondering what other awesome game controllers could be made. Of course we’ve been wanting a real-life Gravity Gun or Portal Gun for years now, but right now we’re thinking about a real Katamari. We might need more hot glue.

As far as building our own, we’re thinking about using one of the Cheap DIY tilt switches we saw the other day. It’s a simple build, and sure looks like a lot of fun.

Continue reading “Pick up that can, [Jeri]”

Hybrid control scheme using an Xbox game pad and Kinect


The Kinect is an interesting beast. On one hand, it’s fantastic for hacking – a purpose for which it was not designed. On the other hand, it’s “just OK” when it comes to gaming – its entire reason for being.

One of the big complaints regarding the Kinect’s control scheme is that it’s no good for games such as first person shooters, where a large majority of the action involves walking, jumping, and aiming. For his Master’s project, [Alex Poolton] put together a fantastic demonstration showing how the Kinect can be paired with a standard Xbox controller to provide hybrid gaming input.

While you might expect a simple game that shows the fundamentals of the hybrid control system, he has put together a full fledged game demo that shows how this control scheme might be implemented in a real game. [Alex] admits that it’s still a bit rough around the edges, but there’s some real potential in his design.

Continue reading to see a video demonstration of [Alex’s] project in action, and be sure to check out his blog for news and updates on the project.

Continue reading “Hybrid control scheme using an Xbox game pad and Kinect”

Xbox 360 DVD changer is the ultimate in gaming laziness


Let’s face it – gamers have a reputation for being pretty lazy. In the most recent episode of his web series, [Ben Heck] takes on the stereotypical gamer role and cranks the laziness factor to 11, lamenting the fact that he needs to get up off the couch to swap discs in his Xbox 360 console. Never allowing laziness get in the way of his hacking, he springs into action, hauling off to his shop in order to construct an Xbox DVD changer system.

He grabbed a pair of CD changers and popped them open to see how they operated. After choosing the best candidate based on its CD loading method, he got to work disassembling the changer. The old CD player and its guts were removed, which he replaced with DVD drive components ripped from his Xbox. Quite a bit of trimming and tweaking was required to swap out the components, but it seems that [Ben] got things working just fine.

With the mechanical portion of the project out of the way, he dug into the electronics. The CD changer had no way of knowing how to interface with the Xbox and vice versa, so [Ben] had to devise a way for the two devices to communicate. He used an Arduino Uno to control the systems, triggering the CD carousel only when the Xbox thought it had its drive slot opened.

While the system looks a bit unpolished, and the controller quite bulky, we love this thing!  No matter if you are lazy or not, jamming these two devices together is exactly what hacking is all about.

Juggling with Kinect


Some of the Kinect hacks we have featured here are quite useful in the realm of assisted living, others showcase what can be done with the clever application of video filters. Some…are just plain fun.

This pair of Kinect hacks are not necessarily going to win any awards for usefulness, but they are big on fun. [Tom] put together a neat juggling application that watches for your hands to disappear behind your back, generating a glowing ball once they return to the camera’s field of vision. The balls can be tossed away or juggled as you can see in the video below. It looks like it could be pretty fun and most definitely easier than chasing balls around while learning to juggle.

[Tom’s] hack was based off code he saw demonstrated in a video by YouTube user [hogehoge335]. His application for the Kinect allows him to replicate the Kamehameha attack from Dragonball Z, flowing hair and all.

Check out the videos below for a demonstration of both Kinect hacks, and swing by the respective Google Code sites if you want to give them a try.

Continue reading “Juggling with Kinect”

Hackaday Links: Saturday, April 30th

Custom EBike with a 200+ km range


[Doctorbass] constructed an awesome electrical bike back in 2008 from a Mongoose bicycle. The bike boasts a top speed of 76km/h and a total range of 210 km on a single charge. Some car company needs to hire this guy STAT.

[via Make]

Build to order Xbox 360 laptops


[Ed] recently got his hands on a CNC machine and immediately constructed an Xbox 360 laptop. They look pretty sharp, and he’s willing to make a custom laptop if you are interested. We’re thinking someone needs to organize a contest between [Ed] and [Ben Heck].

A portable GameCube to rule them all


It’s no secret we enjoy portable console hacks around here, and this portable GameCube is quite the looker. Clearly a lot of thought and work went into this mod, and it shows.

[Thanks, Samjc3]

Ultrasonic backup sensor for the parking impaired


If you decided not to spring for those backup sensors on your new ride, [Eric’s] got you covered. He walks us through how he created an ultrasonic backup sensor using an Arduino and an add on programmable logic board.

Mega laser construction begins


Europe’s Extreme Light Infrastructure project is set to start building the world’s most powerful laser measuring in at 200 petawatts. Scientists are betting on the laser to be able to tear apart the vacuum of space and time itself, if only for a fraction of a second. Seems like a solid plan to us – what could possibly go wrong?

[Thanks, KonaStar]

SCART hack automatically selects TV’s AV mode

We’re sure there’s still a lot of folks using their original Xbox either for gaming or as an XBMC device. If you ever owned one yourself you’ll remember that you can’t turn it on with a remote control. If you have to get up and push a button on the front of the black box, as least this hack will take care of tuning the television to the correct channel. That is, if you are using a SCART adapter to connect it to your TV.

[Karl-Henrik] figured out that mapping a voltage to pin 8 of a SCART port tells a TV that the port is active, and allows it to select the proper aspect ratio. Check out the Wikipedia SCART page to see that pushing 5-8V is the signal for a 16:9 aspect ratio, and 9.5-12V translates to 4:3. So he added an audio jack to the back of his Xbox and a matching one on the plastic case of the adapter. Now just tap into the wires on the power connector for the hard drive inside, connecting them to the newly installed jack. There’s a 12V and a 5V line, just choose the one based on the aspect ratio you prefer. He uses a jumper wire with the appropriate plugs on each end to make the connection. Now the TV will automatically tune to the correct AV input when the Xbox powers up.

Xbox 360 briefcase is ready to go wherever you do


Hackaday forum member [azazelcrey] recently wrote in to share his portable Xbox 360 build. This is not his first attempt at constructing one of these, as he completed his first portable console a few years back. This time, he has taken what he learned from the first go round, making his newest creation a bit cleaner and more compact.

He sourced an LCD monitor with built-in speakers to use as the display, mounting it into a $20 metal-sided suitcase from Home Depot. He disassembled his Xbox and added it to the case, installing a couple extra fans to keep things cool. Some standard Xbox functions were externalized, allowing him to power on the console, load games, and synchronize controllers, all while keeping the briefcase shut.

This obviously isn’t something that you would carry on a train or bus for on-the-go gaming, but it’s a great way to travel with your Xbox as well as a handful of gear.  We imagine this rugged, fully-contained gaming center is quite useful for one-off Xbox LAN parties, and it seems like it would be a good way to get your game on if stuck overnight in a hotel.

Check out his web site if you are interested in seeing his first build or more pictures of this one.