When Pong hit the scene in the early 70s, there was something about the simplicity of the 2D monochrome tennis game that made it engaging enough that enthusiastic proto-gamers shorted-out machines by stuffing their coin boxes to overflowing. But even with the simplicity of Pong’s 2D gameplay, the question becomes: could it by made simpler and still be playable?
Surprisingly, if this one-dimensional Pong game is any indication, it actually seems like it can. Where the original Pong made you line up your paddle with the incoming ball, with the main variable being the angle of the carom from your opponent, [mircemk]’s version, limited to a linear game field, makes the ball’s speed the variable. Players take control of the game with a pair of buttons at the far ends of a 60-LED strip of WS2812s. The ball travels back and forth along the strip, bouncing off a player’s paddle only if they push their button at the exact moment the ball arrives. Each reflection back to the opponent occurs at a random speed, making it hard to get into a rhythm. To add some variety, each player has a “Boost” button to put a little spice on their shot, and score is kept by LEDs in the center of the play field. Video of the game play plus build info is below the break.
With just a Neopixel strip, an Arduino Nano, and a small handful of common parts, it should be easy enough to whip up your own copy of this surprisingly engaging game. But if the 2D-version is still more your speed, maybe you should check out the story of its inventor, [Ted Dabney]. Or, perhaps building a clock that plays Pong with itself to idle the days away is more your speed.
A little over a a year ago, we covered an impressive battery monitor that [Timo Birnschein] was designing for his boat. With dedicated batteries for starting the engines, cranking over the generator, and providing power to lights and other amenities, the device had to keep tabs on several banks of cells to make sure no onboard systems were dipping into the danger zone. While it was still a work in progress, it seemed things were progressing along quickly.
Certainly the biggest issue that was preventing [Timo] from actually using the monitor previously was the lack of an enclosure and mounting system for it. He’s now addressed those points with his 3D printer, and in the write-up provides a few tips on shipboard ergonomics when it comes to mounting a display you’ll need to see from different angles.
The printed enclosure also allowed for the addition of some niceties like an integrated 7805 voltage regulator to provide a solid 5 V to the electronics, as well as a loud piezo beeper that will alert him to problems even when he can’t see the screen.
Under the hood he’s also made some notable software improvements. With the help of a newer and faster TFT display library, he’s created a more modern user interface complete with a color coded rolling graph to show voltages changes over time. There’s still a good chunk of screen real estate available, so he’s currently brainstorming other visualizations or functions to implement. The software isn’t using the onboard NRF24 radio yet, though with code space quickly running out on the Arduino Nano, there’s some concern about getting it implemented.
A red ball travels through a network of clear acrylic tubes using 3D printed Venturi air movers, gravity, and toys to help it travel. Spectators can change the ball’s path with their phones via a local website with a big picture of the installation. The ball triggers animations along its path using break beam detection and weaves a different story each time depending on the toys it interacts with.
Here’s how it works: a Raspberry Pi 4 is responsible for releasing the ball at the beginning of the track and for controlling the track switches. The Pi also hosts a server for smartphones and the 25 Arduino Nanos that control the LEDs and servos of the animatronics. As a bonus animatronic, there’s a giant whiteboard that rotates and switches between displaying the kids’ drawings and the team’s plans and schematics. Take a brief but up-close tour after the break.
This awesome art project was a huge collaborative effort that involved the people of Wolfsburg, Germany — families in the community donated their used and abandoned toys, groups of elementary school kids were brought in to create stories for the toys, and several high school kids and other collaborators realized these drawings with animatronics.
What is it about larger-than-life versions of things that makes them so awesome? We’re not sure exactly, but this giant working Arduino definitely has the ‘it’ factor, whatever that may be. It’s twelve times the size of a regular Uno and has a Nano embedded in the back of it. To give you an idea of the scale, the reset button is an arcade button.
The Arduino Giga’s PCB is made of 3/4″ plywood, and the giant components represent a week and a half of 3D printing. The lettering and pin numbers are all carved on a CNC and filled in with what appears to be caulk. They didn’t get carved out deeply enough the first time around, but [byte sized] came up with a clever way to perfectly re-register the plywood so it carved in exactly the same places.
Although we love everything about this build, our favorite part has to be the way that [byte sized] made the female headers work. Each one has a 1/4″ audio jack embedded inside of it (a task which required a special 3D printed tool), so patch cables are the new jumper cables. [byte sized] put it to the test with some addressable RGB LEDs on his Christmas tree, which you can see in the build video after the break.
Wouldn’t it be nice if beer pong could somehow get easier the more you drink? You know, so you can drink more? [Ty Palowski] has made it so with automated, mind-controlled beer pong.
[Ty] started by making a beer pong table that moves the cups back and forth at both ends. An Arduino Nano controls a stepper that controls a slider, and the cups move with the slider through the magic of magnets. The mind control part came cheaper than you might think. Back in 2009, Mattel released a game called Mind Flex that involves an EEG headset and using brain waves to guide a foam ball on a stream of air through a little obstacle course. These headsets are available for about $12 on ebay, or at least they were before this post went up.
[Ty] cracked open the headset added an HC-06 Bluetooth module to talk to the Arduino. It’s using a program called Brainwave OSC to get the raw data from the headset and break it into levels of concentration and relaxation. The Arduino program monitors the attention levels, and when a certain threshold of focus is reached, it moves the cups back and forth at a predetermined speed ranging from 1 to an impossible-looking 10. Check out the two videos after the break. The first one covers the making of the the automatic beer pong part, and the second is where [Ty] adds mind control.
How do you instantly make any game better? By lighting it up and playing at night. We would normally say ‘drinking’, but we’re pretty sure that drinking is already a prerequisite for cornhole — that’s the game where you toss bean bags at holes in angled boards.
Players get a point and a song for landing a bag on top of the board, and three points and a different song for making it in the hole. We love the Easter egg — anyone who manages to trip both the vibration sensor and the break-beam detector at the same time will be treated to the sound of a flock of honking geese. Check out the build journey after the break.
This trick doesn’t take much, just a couple of Arduinos, some momentary buttons, a number pad, and a large helping of math. As you can see in the demo after the break, there is nothing connecting the two, not even 802.11(n). On the randomizer Arduino, [Hari] generates random numbers with the push of a button until the audience sees one they like. Then [Hari] locks in the number with the other button.
What happens next is key: the randomizer generates another random number, but uses it as a hint to set a sentinel digit. The randomizer Arduino subtracts the larger of the two digits in the number from nine and stores the result as the flag. When the next number comes up that has the flag digit in the correct place, the number after that will be the random number chosen at the beginning.
The psychic Arduino’s secret is that it knows the first guess it receives is special. It does the same sentinel digit math as the randomizer, so when the guesser enters the guess with the sentinel digit, it knows the next number entered is the winner. Clear as mud? Check out the second video below where [Hari] explains the trick, a new take on a magic classic.