PC gamers have the benefit of the mouse and keyboard, which are highly flexible when it comes to input devices for gaming. What’s more, the freedom of the platform means that it’s easy to whip up whatever mad controller you can dream of to best suit the games you’re playing. Enter [Tom Tilley] with the aptly-named Hipster Game Controller.
Yes, this is a controller made out of a coffee grinder. The hand-crank setup makes it perfect for imitating the game board in that puzzle classic, Bust-A-Move. [Tom] interfaces the controller in a perfectly hacky way – the scroll wheel from a mouse is removed from the case and zip tied to the shaft of the grinder, allowing the rotation of the grinder to turn the wheel. The mouse wheel is then mapped as the aim control in the game – it really is that simple. An arcade button is also fitted into a mug and wired into the left mouse button to act as the trigger.
[Tom] notes that while you can fill the grinder up while you play, it makes playing the game very hard work. It’s a hacky build to show that sometimes, you don’t need a microcontroller and lines of code – just a mouse, some wire, and a healthy dose of ingenuity.
And, as it turns out, [Tom]’s been quite the Bust-a-Move fan for a few years now. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Bust A Move Doesn’t Have To Be Such A Grind”
The Moka pot is an industrial design classic, hailing from Italy in the early part of the 20th century. To this day, it remains an excellent way to brew top quality coffee at home with affordable equipment. However, if your tastes for coffee lie more towards lattes than espresso, you’re out of luck – unless you’ve got one of these.
[Create] started with a classic Moka pot for this project, and set out to build a stovetop milk steamer. The top reservoir is quickly cut away, and a tap fitted atop the lower water reservoir. This allows the flow of steam from the lower reservoir to be controlled. A steel pipe is then fitted to the tap, which is bent, crushed, and soldered to form a nozzle for steaming the milk. It’s then finished off with beautiful wooden handles for a nice aesthetic touch.
While we’re not sure the soldering process or tap used are food grade, there are workarounds for that, and it’s a project that could easily be pulled off in a weekend. What’s more, you can celebrate your new creation with a delicious hot cappuccino. What could be better? Now all you need is your own special roast. Video after the break.
[Thanks to Baldpower for the tip!]
Continue reading “Stovetop Milk Steamer Is Beautiful, Effective”
Coffee is the lifeblood of hackers, IT workers, and apparently, IT workers who are also hackers. [Omerfarukz] is clearly the latter. He works as part of a large team spread over multiple floors, all with coffee machines, any one of which is fair game. The problem is knowing which one has coffee that is ready to pour. He needed a non-invasive way to monitor the coffee machines.
After contemplating a few solutions, he opted for one which wouldn’t offend the coffee gods. The machines use a high current to produce their heat, so he adapted some old remote control power sockets for the machines to plug into which would now monitor the current. A high current means the coffee is brewing and he knew that brewing takes one minute per cup, so the duration of the high current tells him the number of cups.
Having had no success with a current sensing transformer, he opted for an ACS712 chip, at heart a Hall effect sensor which outputs a voltage proportional to the test current. That goes to the IO pins of an ATtiny, and from there via serial to an ESP8266 and thence to Google Firebase for processing and notifying of IT workers in need of stimulation. For those wishing to partake, he’s posted the circuit on Github.
We’ve seen a few other non-invasive ways to do this monitoring. For example, there’s weighing the machines using a bathroom scale and the more manual phone-notifying alarm button.
[Rulof Maker] is a master at making things from salvaged parts, and being an Italian lover of espresso coffee, this time he’s made an espresso machine. The parts in question are a piston and cylinder from an old motorbike, believe it or not, and parts from an IKEA lamp.
Why the piston and cylinder? For those not familiar with espresso machines, they work by forcing pressurized, almost boiling water through ground coffee. He therefore puts the water in the piston cylinder, and levers the piston down onto it, forcing the water out the bottom of the cylinder and through the waiting coffee grounds. Parts from the IKEA lamp form a base for the waiting cup to sit on.
Of course, he takes great care to clean out any burnt oil and gas before starting. We also like how he centers a lever arm on a U-shaped bolt using two springs. Clever. But see the master in action for yourself in the video below.
Continue reading “Espresso Machine From Motorbike Engine Parts”
If you ask us, one of life’s greatest pleasures is sitting down with a nice, hot cup of something of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Of course, the best part of this ritual is when the beverage has cooled enough to reach that short window of optimal drinking temperature.
Often times the unthinkable happens—we sip too early and get burned, or else become distracted by
watching cat videos reading our colleagues’ Hackaday posts and miss the window altogether. What’s to be done? Something we wish we’d thought of: using the beverage’s heat to cool itself by way of thermal dynamics. For [Scott Clandinin]’s entry into the 2018 Hackaday Prize, he hopes to harness enough heat energy from the beverage to power a fan that will blow across the top of the mug.
[Scott] enlisted a friend to smith a thick copper slab in a right angle formation. The gentle curve of the vertical side pulls heat from the ceramic mug and transfers it to the heat sink of a CPU cooler. Then it’s just a matter of stepping up the voltage produced by the thermoelectric generator with a boost converter. Once he’s got this dialed in, he’d like to power it with supercaps and add a temp sensor and a microcontroller to alert him that his moment of zen is imminent. We’ll drink to that!
If you’ve ever worked in a stingy office, you’ve become familiar with the communal coffee maker that runs on some variant of the honor system. There’s bits of paper, a coin jar shabbily sealed with sticky tape, and the routine note every six months telling people off for not paying for their daily brew. It all gets a bit much. Thankfully, if you work with [Fabian], it’s no longer a problem (PDF link).
The project forms the basis for [Fabian]’s thesis, in which a DeLonghi coffee maker is reverse engineered. This is undertaken with the explicit goal of properly metering the amount of consumables (coffee beans) used per beverage, to more fairly charge users depending on their brew of choice. This involves breaking down and understanding the coffee maker’s internal communications, as well as implementing a system to record and handle billing. For reasons of simplicity, [Fabian] decided that this should be handled using his colleague’s existing computer accounts. Easy!
It’s a highly academic approach to what we’re sure was a very stimulating project with lots of delicious aromas. Coffee’s a popular topic among hackers, that’s for sure – check out this roaster to take your game to the next level.
When [Steve Parker]’s girlfriend got a tea kettle that takes voice commands, he suddenly saw his fancy bean-to-cup coffee machine as a technological dinosaur. It may make good coffee, but getting the DeLonghi going is inconvenient, because it runs a self-cleaning cycle each time it’s turned on or off.
Thus began [Steve]’s adventure in trying to turn the thing on with Alexa via Particle Photon. Because of the way the machine is designed, simply adding a relay wouldn’t do—the machine would just turn off and back on, only to start the self-clean again. Once inside, he found it’s controlled by a PIC18LF2520. Further research indicated that it is powered by an off-line switcher that combines a power MOSFET with a power supply controller. [Steve] figured out that the buttons are read via square wave and interpreted by a multiplexer.
The project went into the weeds a bit when [Steve] tried to read the signals with a knock-off Saleae. As soon as he plugged it in, the control board fried because the DeLonghi evidently has no reference to Earth ground. While waiting for a replacement board to arrive, he tried replacing the mux and shift register chips, which actually fixed the board. Then it was more or less a matter of using the DeLonghi’s status LEDs to determine the machine’s state, and then to interface with the Photon and Alexa. Cycle past the break for a ristretto-sized demonstration.
[Steve] didn’t do all this to actually make coffee, just turn the machine on with a voice command. The Photon is totally capable of making coffee, though, as we saw with this closed-loop espresso machine.
Continue reading “Alexa And Particle Modernize Coffee Machine By One Iota”