IPhone Tilt Motion Controller

Here’s a mounting system that adds mechanical tilt control to the iPhone (link dead, try the Internet Archive version). It uses two servo motors to rotate along the X and Y axes. An analog joystick is used along with an Arduino to control the movement of the apparatus. As you can see in the video after the break, this works quite well when playing accelerometer-based games. But adding a joystick isn’t the end-goal of the project. [Shane] plans to point a camera at the iPhone and use image recognition to play games automatically. That sounds like a big bite the chew but we’ve seen this work with Guitar Hero so we’re optimistic.

18 thoughts on “IPhone Tilt Motion Controller

  1. I can see automated ball labyrinth in this guys future. I love how the mounting is so clean.

    Now then, how about a controllable stylus on the top as well, ala etcha-a-sketch.

  2. @IceBrain: Not unless you upgraded and have a spare. Disclaimer: I am not, nor have I ever been, an AT&T customer or an iPhone user. (Though I am writing this from an iPod touch)

  3. @SuperFungus: They CAN do better… (and don’t call them Shirly.) In fact, for the amount found, researched, read and then posted daily, I’m surprised there aren’t even more mistakes.

    At least those of us who understand English have the intellect to be able to understand what was meant to typed. (Hopefully most of us have thoughts about what to type fster than we actually type!)

  4. Ok, now about this project…

    My first thought when I saw/read this was a joystick-operated game for the kids and friends to play while simultaneously keeping the phone itself from being beaten up by young hands accompanying young mouths yelling, “Me next! “Me next!”

    I also thought about the possibility of playing iPhone (or iPod Touch) games over-the-‘Net for parents who don’t have the financial ability to buy an iPhone/iPod Touch for their kids.

    (Plus… for us adults either of those would add a layer of complexity using them in attempting to factor in ‘Net speed, camera speed and changing reaction times as games are played.)

    Relating to the original purpose –or proposed next step– [Shane] is going for, it would be quite interesting to have it set up for control over-the-‘Net to see WHO comes up with the first working code to reliably complete a game, the shortest code to it, etc. It would also be possible to program it to run different games in random order and program the recognition to determine what game is being played.

    Availability for several people over the internet might result in many, MANY different and novel ways for controlling it.

  5. i don’t understand why people invest their time to develop machines that play games. you could do so much fun stuff with a tilt sensor and two servos, let alone the iphone with all its capabilities.
    where is the fun in watching a machine playing games?

  6. @h3po
    The hack is the fun part – not really the end result.
    The purpose of this project is to be a fun way to develop my skills of machine vision, collision detection, pathfinding, and artificial intelligence, with the neat side effect being that at the end I’ll have a completely pointless – albeit neat – machine.

  7. @swighton
    I’m sure you’ll agree these hacks, no matter how “pointlessly” they begin, can and often DO increase knowledge in how to get something done that can later be used to perform some very useful task. I’d guess many medical machines, computing, communting and coversing devices, and more began as accidental discoveries, “pointless” hacks, or both.

  8. @h3po: the fun is in the journey not the destination.If we get bogged down with trivial things, like what the use of the end product is we would have never put a man on the moon.
    Remembers: make first, find a use for it later!

  9. He says he is using “Toward Pro” servos. For such high quality machining, with precision bearings and such, I think the project deserves better servos. I have used Tower Pro 995 (hi-torque) servos (the knock-off brand of which they are a knock-off, as he put it) on a project – they had tremendous overshoot, and with time they started developing a large slack and began oscillating terribly. In my opinion these no-name brand servos are no good for anything that requires any precision.

  10. @crizr
    (This is my project)

    The precision and centering ability of the servos was definitely a concern of mine, but for a project that did not have a guarantee of success (particularly the software side of things) I couldn’t justify the high cost of name brand high torque servos. I got the toward pro servos as a way to see if what I wanted to do was even possible – with the intention of replacing them if the software was successful and they were having a hard time keeping up.

    I’m actually very pleased with the servos performance thus far – they have had a bit of jitter at times, but for the most part they center reliably with no detectable (audible or visible) jitter or overshoot, and I have never had oscillations develop. I would even dare to call them rock solid (so far).

    I’ve heard similar complaints as yours about the Tower Pro 995. Supposedly the 996 is an upgraded version of the 995 that addresses the issues that you had. For more info on the differences between the 995 and 996 check out the link below, particularly what the people say in the reviews.


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