Pump It Up Gets Homebrew GBA Port That Rocks

Pump It Up is a popular music video game that hails from South Korea. It’s similar in vibe to Dance Dance Revolution and In The Groove, but it has an extra arrow panel to make life harder. [Rodrigo Alfonso] loved it so much, he ported it to the Game Boy Advance.

The port looks fantastic, with all the fast-moving arrows and lovely sprite-based graphics you could dream of. But more than that, [Rodrigo’s] port is very fully featured. It doesn’t rely on tracked or sampled music, instead using actual GSM audio files for the songs.

It can also accept input from a PS/2 keyboard, and you can even do multiplayer over the GBA’s Wireless Adapter. What’s even cooler is that some of the game’s neat features have been broken out into separate libraries so other developers can use them. If you need a Serial Port library for the GBA, or a way to read the SD card on flash carts, [Rodrigo] has put the code on GitHub.

As you might have guessed, this isn’t the first time [Rodrigo] has pushed the limits on what Nintendo’s 32-bit handheld can do.

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DisplayPort: Hacking And Examples

So far, I’ve talked about why DisplayPort is the future, introduced the basics of how to work with it on the hacker level, took apart and tamed the DisplayPort altmode, and recently, went through the eDP (embedded DisplayPort) display technology. This time, I want to give you a project library to reference, so that your hacking goes as smoothly as possible – real-world examples of open-source DisplayPort boards, a few boards I’ve worked on, part numbers, and whatever other information you might need.

Even this wonderful build is not immune from wasting power on unnecessary video conversion

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that a non-zero amount of cyberdeck builders buy eDP screens with HDMI converter boards on Aliexpress, then connect them to SBCs using USB-C to HDMI adapters, or ignore the onboard eDP port; even this super cool Framework-based cyberdeck has done that! I get that it’s the simplest option, but I do believe that you ought to know how to improve it. The issue is that this double-conversion decreases the battery life significantly by burning two extra ASICs doing video conversion back and forth. Every hour of battery life matters in a cyberdeck, doubly so if it’s based on a low-power device already – you could easily cut your battery life in half if you’re not careful!

With these projects and references in your arsenal, my aim is that DisplayPort becomes way more comfortable for you to work with. Thankfully, there are quite a few projects to reference by now – let’s delve in.

Right out of the gate – are you looking for an SBC with DisplayPort support? The BoardDB website, a database of single-board computers, has a DisplayPort filter – click this link with the filter already enabled and browse through.

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A 3D-printed clock that uses flaps for the digits that get rotated.

Non-Split-Flap Clock Does It With Fewer Flaps

As cool as split-flap clocks and displays are, they do have a few disadvantages. The mechanism sticks out on the side, and the whole thing relies on gravity. Some people don’t care for the visual split in the middle of each digit that comes as a result. And their cousins, the Numechron clocks? Those wheels, especially the hours wheel, are really big compared to the size of what they display, so the clock housings are huge by comparison.

[shiura] decided to re-invent the digital display and came up with this extremely cool spinning flap mechanism that uses a lip to flip each flap after it is shown. Thanks to this design, only half the number of flaps are needed. Not only is the face of the clock able to be much larger compared to the overall size of the thing, the whole unit is quite shallow. Plus, [shiura] tilted the display 15° for better visibility.

If you want to build one of these for yourself, [shiura] has all the STLs available and some pretty great instructions. Besides the printed parts, you don’t need much more than the microcontroller of your choice and a stepper motor. Check out the demo/build video after the break, and stick around for the assembly video.

Don’t mind the visual split in the numbers? Check out this split-flap clock that uses a bunch of magnets.

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A thickness gauge, letter scale, push stick, and dial caliper

Measure Three Times, Design Once

Most of the Hackaday community would never wire a power supply to a circuit without knowing the expected voltage and the required current. But our mechanical design is often more bodged. We meet folks who carefully budget power to their microcontroller, sensors, and so on, but never measure the forces involved in their mechanical designs. Then they’re surprised when the motor they chose isn’t big enough for the weight of their robot.

An obstacle to being more numbers oriented is lack of basic data about the system. So, here are some simple tools for measuring dynamic properties of small mechanisms; distances, forces, velocities, accelerations, torques, and other things you haven’t thought about since college physics. If you don’t have these in your toolkit, how do you measure?

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You Can Now Jailbreak A PS4 With An LG TV

You might think that jailbreaking a PS4 to run unsigned code is a complicated process that takes fancy tools and lots of work. While developing said jailbreaks was naturally no mean feat, thankfully they’re far easier for the end user to perform. These days, all you need is an LG TV.

Of course, you can’t just use any LG TV. You’ll need a modern LG webOS smart TV, and you’ll need to jailbreak it before it can in turn be used to modify your PS4. Once that’s done, though, you can install the PPLGPwn tool for jailbreaking PS4s. It’s based on the PPPwn exploit released by [TheFlow], which was then optimized by [xfangxfang] and implemented for LG Smart TVs by [zauceee]. Once installed, you just need to hook up your PS4 to the TV via the Ethernet port. Then, with the exploit running on the TV, telling the PS4 to set up the LAN via PPPoE will be enough to complete the jailbreak.

There are other ways to jailbreak a PS4 that don’t involve the use of a specific television. Nonetheless, it’s neat to see the hack done in such an amusing way.

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Adaptive Chef’s Knife Provides Better Leverage

[Colleen] struggled with using a chef’s knife to cut a variety of foods while suffering from arthritis in her wrist and hand. There are knives aimed at people with special needs, but nothing suitable for serious work like [Colleen]’s professional duties in a commercial kitchen.

As a result, the IATP (Illinois Assistive Technology Program) created the Adaptive Chef’s Knife. Unlike existing offerings, it has a high-quality blade and is ergonomically designed so that the user can leverage their forearm while maintaining control.

The handle is durable, stands up to commercial kitchen use, and is molded to the same standards as off-the-shelf knife handles. That means it’s cast from FDA-approved materials and has a clean, non-porous surface. The pattern visible in the handle is a 3D printed “skeleton” over which resin is molded.

Interested? The IATP Maker Program makes assistive devices available to Illinois residents free of charge (though donations in suggested amounts are encouraged for those who can pay) but the plans and directions are freely available to anyone who wishes to roll their own.

Assistive technology doesn’t need to be over-engineered or frankly even maximally efficient in how it addresses a problem. Small changes can be all that’s needed to give people meaningful control over the things in their lives in a healthy way. Some great examples are are this magnetic spoon holder, or simple printed additions to IKEA furnishings.

Generative AI Hits The Commodore 64

Image-generating AIs are typically trained on huge arrays of GPUs and require great wads of processing power to run. Meanwhile, [Nick Bild] has managed to get something similar running on a Commodore 64. (via Tom’s Hardware).

A figure generated by [Nick]’s C64. We shall name him… “Sword Guy”!
As you might imagine, [Nick’s] AI image generator isn’t churning out 4K cyberpunk stills dripping in neon. Instead, he aimed at a smaller target, more befitting the Commodore 64 itself. His image generator creates 8×8 game sprites instead.

[Nick’s] model was trained on 100 retro-inspired sprites that he created himself. He did the training phase on a modern computer, so that the Commodore 64 didn’t have to sweat this difficult task on its feeble 6502 CPU. However, it’s more than capable of generating sprites using the model, thanks to some BASIC code that runs off of the training data. Right now, it takes the C64 about 20 minutes to run through 94 iterations to generate a decent sprite.

8×8 sprites are generally simple enough that you don’t need to be an artist to create them. Nonetheless, [Nick] has shown that modern machine learning techniques can be run on slow archaic hardware, even if there is limited utility in doing so. Video after the break.

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