[Lucas VRTech] has made some significant progress with building force-feedback type haptic gloves for use with Steam VR games. The idea is pretty straightforward: the end of the finger is attached to a cable, which is pulled from inside a sprung-loaded spool; the kind used for hanging ID cards on.
The spool body can rotate, but a peg protruding from it engages with the arm of a co-located servo motor. This produces a programmable stop position. But it is a hard stop, and it is not possible with the current hardware to detect precisely when the stop is reached, nor is it possible to control the force it is pushing with. Such features are not difficult to achieve, its just a matter of a little more development with some custom mechatronics.
The current prototype has a focus on cost, which is great as an early development platform. By leveraging 3D printing and off-the-shelf parts that are easy to source; just a handful (chuckle!) of potentiometers, some servo motors and one from any number of ESP32 dev boards and you’re done. The real work is on the software side of things, as the games themselves need to be modified to play ball with the VR glove hardware. This has been achieved with a combination of a custom steam driver they call OpenGloves, and community developed per-game mods. A few titles are available to test right now, so this is definitely something some of us could build in a weekend and get involved with.
The hardware source for the glove mount and per-finger units can be found on the project GitHub, together with the ESP32 source for Arduino.
For some other haptic-related inspiration, here’s a force-feedback mouse, and for a more hand-off feedback, we have a wind-blaster project.
Continue reading “Low Cost Haptic VR Gloves Work With Hacked Steam Games” →
[Renzo Mischianti] got himself a Chinese 3D printer, specifically a FlyingBear Ghost 5. (Cracking name, huh?) He was more than a little irritated with the fact that whilst the controller, an MKS Robin Nano, did have a integrated Wi-FI module, it provided no browser-based interface for monitoring and control purposes. This seemed a bit short-sighted in this day and age, to say the least. Not being at all happy with that situation, [Renzo] proceeded to write dedicated Wi-Fi firmware using websockets, but not without fully documenting his journey in a detailed series of the blog posts.
The resulting BeePrint web interface supports all the usual functions you would expect when managing a printer, everything from monitoring warm-up at the prep stage, to keeping tabs on the potential spaghetti monster via the connected IP camera. All good stuff. [Renzo] used an ESP32-cam, which is a low-cost 2 MP unit from our friends at Olimex, but we suspect it wouldn’t vastly difficult to add your own IP camera into the mix.
[Renzo] has a YT channel detailing quite a few other projects, which is definitely worth some viewing time in our opinion.
We’ve been covering 3D printer hacking since the dinosaurs were roaming. This is the oldest, and still one of the strangest, posts that we could find in a quick search. Anyone care to find something older?
Continue reading “3D Printering: Adding A Web Interface Where There Was None Before” →
There are few things that we all can agree we hate, and the shrill of your alarm clock waking you from a wonderful slumber is definitely high on that list. To wake up more naturally, [nutstobutts] created an automated curtain opener.
The curtain opener is very simple; a stepper motor in the control box pulls a string, which is run to an idler on the far side of the curtain rod and through two clips, attached to the back of each curtain. This design makes it so that both curtains will open smoothly at the same time, and will always come closed again directly in the center. This design is especially favorable for students in dorms or those that live in an apartment, as the installation requires no screws in the wall or permanent modification to the curtains.
The curtains can be opened and closed either by pressing a button on the control box or by sending HTTP requests to the ESP32 that controls everything. This allows for integration with many different IoT systems, for instance [nutstobutts] has been having Home Assistant open the curtains every morning at 6:30 a.m. in lieu of an alarm clock, and then closing them automatically at 9:00 a.m. to help save on cooling costs.
Automated curtains are a great first IoT project if you are looking to just get your feet wet, check out a different style we covered a few months back for more inspiration!
In case you missed it, the big news is that a minimal Arduino core is up and working on the ESP32. There’s still lots left to do, but the core functionality — GPIO, UART, SPI, I2C, and WiFi — are all up and ready to be tested out. Installing the library is as easy as checking out the code from GitHub into your Arduino install, so that’s exactly what I did.
I then spent a couple days playing around with it. It’s a work in progress, but it’s getting to the point of being useful, and the codebase itself contains some hidden gems. Come on along and take a sneak peek.
Continue reading “What’s New, ESP-32? Testing The Arduino Library” →