The Immersive, VR, Internet of Things Unicycle

Want something that you’ll try for fifteen minutes before realizing it’s extremely stupid and has limited utility before throwing it in the back of a closet to eventually sell at a yard sale? No, it’s not the Internet of Things, but good guess. I’m speaking, of course, about unicycles.

[retro.moe] is a unicycle and Commodore 64 enthusiast, and being the enterprising hacker he is, decided to combine his two interests. This led to the creation of the Uni-Joysti-Cle, the world’s first unicycle controller for the Commodore 64, and the first video game to use this truly immersive, better-than-an-Oculus unicycle controller.

The build began with the creation of Uni Games, the unicycle-enabled video game for the Commodore 64. This game was coded purely in 6502 assembly and features realistic physics, cutting edge graphics, and two game modes. It’s available on [retro.moe]’s site for the C64 and C128 jin PAL and NTSC formats.

Every game needs a controller, and for this [retro.moe] turned to his smartphone. A simple Android app with a few buttons to send up, down, left, and right commands to an ESP8266 chip attached to the C64’s joystick connector.

While a smartphone transmitting controller commands may seem like a vastly over-engineered joystick, there’s at least one thing a smartphone can do that a joystick cannot: poll an accelerometer. When the joystick senses movement, it transmits movement commands to the video game. Strap this phone to the pedal of a unicycle, and it’s the world’s first unicycle controller for a video game. Brilliant, and [retro.moe] can ride that thing pretty well, too.

Thanks [nfk] for sending this one in.

13 thoughts on “The Immersive, VR, Internet of Things Unicycle

  1. “Want something that you’ll try for fifteen minutes before realizing it’s extremely stupid and has limited utility before throwing it in the back of a closet to eventually sell at a yard sale?”
    wow someone’s bitter

  2. I did not understand a single word (edit: Wrong, I did understand “JoystiCle”) … but this was fun. Even without the dead cat on his head, Moe must be an awesome(tm) dad!
    I sure have an unicycle downstairs, but never really got to use it properly. Would need some help to get started – it’s definitely more fun than starring on a stupid iSomething-screen for hours, tapping on virtual buttons to make virtual naked ladies do the virtual laundry. Or whatever iSomething-users are doing all day with their heads bent down like citizens of some absolutist terror regime state.

    Not so sure about the “realistic physics” on that game, but this, for once, is a kind of “immersive control” I would even pay that moe-dad money for, just to see him create a few impossible-to-solve levels and try to run them through in his backyard :)

    And just don’t get me started on that – really junk yard quality – VR hype that’s going on these days. If there is one thing more stupid than starring (neck-bent) on some tiny screens, it is having a black painted toilet bowl tied to your forehead, pretending that what you see INSIDE that thing looks “More realistic than my real life”.

    1. My brother and his best friend learned to ride a unicycle (I had the same opportunity but didn’t succeed) by mounting it at the top of a cellar door (the sloping kind found on old houses) and using it as a starting ramp.

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