The Gamecube was certainly a divisive design when it was released back in 2001, but the fact that people are still happily hacking away at its controller nearly 20 years later proves that Nintendo must have gotten something right. The latest project from Nintendo wizard [Bill Paxton] turns the unique Gamecube controller into an even more unique mobile dock for the Switch.
To build this “Gamecube Grip”, [Bill] literally cut an original controller and its PCB in half so they could be relocated on either end of the 3D printed central frame. Internally, the controller PCB is wired up to a GC+ board, which is an open hardware project that uses a PIC18F25K22 microcontroller to bring enhanced features to the classic peripheral such as adjustable stick dead zones and rumble intensity. From there, it’s connected to the switch with a GBros adapter from 8bitdo.
The grip also includes an Anker PowerCore 20,100 mAh battery that should keep the system going for hours, and some components liberated from a third party Switch dock. Everything has been finished off with the attention to detail that we’ve come to expect from [Bill] and his projects, including the seemingly flawless glossy paint job that’s something of hallmark for his custom gaming creations.
Continue reading “Slide Your Switch Into A Gamecube Controller”
[Aaron Christophel] has been busy, he picked up a P8 smartwatch of the type that many of you will no doubt have seen. They cost almost nothing and do almost… nothing. In all fairness, they do connect to your phone using Bluetooth LE courtesy of a chip from Nordic (the NRF52832), and they can do several simple tasks. But they don’t run applications in the way an Android or Apple watch does. [Aaron] wants to run his own applications, so his YouTube channel has a lot of information about hacking the P8 and other watches with similar chips. In one video you can watch below, he demonstrates how he’s written support for Arduino programming to the devices. What we were really excited about was the second video below where he shows his Android app that can flash the devices via Bluetooth. That means you can potentially hack these devices without opening them up.
The app that normally runs these watches is called Da Fit, so [Aaron] called his utility DaFlasher. This is all early stuff so we expect some coaxing to get everything working, but it has great promise.
Continue reading “Cheap Smartwatch Hacking, To Run Your Own Code”
Drones have come a long way in the past decade, and a lot of the pioneering work that made them mainstream was done by individual hackers and small teams. This often involves cobbling together components into flying crow’s nests of wiring. To streamline things a bit for hackers, the team at Luminous Bees are working on Ardubee, a small 3″ drone designed from the ground up for hacking.
The Ardubee is built around a single PCB that also acts as the frame of the drone. Onboard is an STM32F427 microcontroller, IMU, barometer and compass, ESCs, ESP8266 for telemetry, and a downward-facing range finder. It’s ready to connect to an SBUS RC receiver and a range of pluggable modules are in development to expand the drone’s capabilities. It’s designed to run the open-source Ardupilot software, which we’ve seen in so many DIY autonomous vehicles. Power is provided by a single 18650, which will probably limit higher speed maneuverability a bit but should be fine for the slower precision flight that such a drone is likely to be used for.
The team already has a swarm of larger 5″ drones that they developed for light shows. In the process they developed their own Ultrawide-band indoor positioning system, which will also be available for the Ardubee. They hope to launch a Kickstarter campaign soon and are asking for input from the community, so they can know what features need to be prioritized. We look forward to seeing where this project goes!
Autonomous vehicles are a popular topic around here for air, land, and water, and we have no doubt there will be many more.
Thanks for the tip [Andreas]!
Isolated as we are by national lockdowns and statewide stay-at-home orders, many coworkers are more connected than ever before through oddly-named productivity/chat programs such as Slack. But those notifications flying in from the sidebar all the time are are oh-so-annoying and anti-productive. Ignoring requests for your attention will only make them multiply. So how do you make the notifications bearable?
[Mr. Tom] wrote in to tell us about his solution, which involves a maneki-neko — one of those good luck cats that wave slowly and constantly thanks to a solar-powered electromagnetic pendulum. Now whenever [Mr. Tom] has an incoming message, the cat starts waving gently over on the corner of his desk. It’s enough movement to be noticeable, but not annoying.
An ESP32 inside the kitty looks at incoming messages and watches for [Mr. Tom]’s user ID, prioritizing messages where he has been mentioned directly. This kitty is smart, too. As soon as the message is dealt with, the data pin goes low again, and the cat can take a nap for a while.
The natural state of the maneki-neko is pretty interesting, as we saw in this teardown a few years back.
If you ever thought about becoming a treasure hunter this simple DIY metal detector by [mircemk] may be a nice project to start with.
The design is based on an opensource metal detector called Smart Hunter. This Very Low Frequency (VLF) metal detector uses transmitter and receiver coils in so-called Double-D geometry. The transmitter coil is driven by a signal generator module that operates at its resonant frequency of 4.74 kHz.
The resulting oscillating magnetic field will induce eddy currents in a nearby metal object that in turn induce a signal in the receiver coil. This signal is then fed into the microphone port of a smartphone and analyzed by a custom metal detector app. [mircemk] also included an audio amplifier and small speaker into the device.
The detector turned out to be quite sensitive and can detect a coin at up to 25 cm distance and larger metal objects even up to 1 m. Modern metal detectors can also distinguish between different types of metal by analyzing the phase shift of the detected signal which might be some way to improve the design.
Video after the break.
Continue reading “A Smart DIY Metal Detector”
We’re running a contest on Making Tech at Home: building projects out of whatever you’ve got around the house. As a hacker who’s never had a lab outside of my apartment, house, or hackerspace, I had to laugh at the premise. Where the heck else would I hack?
The idea is that you’re constrained to whatever parts you’ve got on hand. But at the risk of sounding like Scrooge McDuck sitting on a mountain of toilet paper, I’ve got literally hundreds of potentiometers in my closet, a couple IMUs, more microcontrollers than you can shake a stick at, and 500 ml of etching solution waiting for me in the bathroom. Switches, motors, timing belts, nichrome wire…maybe I should put in an order for another kilogram of 3D printer filament. In short, unless it’s a specialty part or an eBay module, I’m basically set.
But apparently not everyone is so well endowed. I’ve heard rumors of people who purchase all of the parts for a particular project. That ain’t me. The guru of household minimalism asks us to weigh each object in our possession and ask “does it spark joy?”. And the answer, when I pull out the needed 3.3 V low-dropout regulator and get the project built now instead of three days from now, is “yes”.
And I’m not even a hoarder. (I keep telling myself.) The rule that keeps me on this side of sanity: I have a box for each type of part, and they are essentially fixed. When no more motors fit in the motor box, no more motors are ordered, no matter how sexy, until some project uses enough of them to free up space. It’s worked for the last 20 years, long before any of us had even heard of Marie Kondo.
So if you also sit atop a heap of VFD displays like Smaug under the Lonely Mountain, we want to see what you can do. If you do win, Digi-Key is sending you a $500 goodie box to replenish your stash. But even if you don’t win, you’ve freed up space in the “Robot Stuff” box. That’s like winning, and you deserve some new servos. Keep on hacking!
Just as 3D printers around the world have been churning out face shields, the thread injectors of home sewists have been stitching up fabric masks. Over the past several weeks, [Becky Stern] has made them for friends, family, neighbors, and anyone in her community who happens upon the box of free masks she’s left at a nearby bus stop. This is in addition the scores she has made and donated to health care workers so they can extend the life of their N95 masks.
If you’re going to make more than a few of anything, it just makes sense to make multiples at the same time and adjust the process for batch production. [Becky Stern] has some great ideas for ramping up assembly even further that include cutting out multiple main mask pieces at the same time, and ironing the pleats of several masks round robin style so you don’t waste time while they cool.
Even if you don’t dabble in the fabric arts, her method of kitting out the process of mask making is an interesting look into small-scale production.
Our favorite idea concerns the side bindings and the straps, which are the last part of the build and take the longest to do. [Becky] makes several miles of straps ahead of time with a 3D printed bias tape folder and then sews them all into a continuous strip. She can add the short side bindings to a bunch of masks at once, feeding them in one after the other so they end up strung together like sausages. Then she can just snip them apart and keep going, having saved both time and thread. Watch [Becky] make a single mask after the break and see how easy it is.
If sewing is a no-go for you, there are plenty of ways to help the PPE effort by firing up that printer.
Continue reading “Mass Mask-Making Masterclass”