There’s a thing that happens when you’re shopping at a second hand store. You know how it goes: You see an item that strikes your fancy, your mind immediately locks in, and the item just has to be yours. [Tom Tilley] experienced this when he saw a Paw Patrol kids toy at a local thrift store, and you can see the results of his holiday hacking sessions in the video below the break.
How did [Tom] put the Paw Patrol game to use? Looking like a motorcycle cockpit left him with few choices. Before long he’d flipped the game over over, pulled the innards, and hacked together what just might be the most perfect toy based interface we’ve seen lately.
Using a Raspberry Pi Pico controller and some careful surgery, [Tom] turned the Paw Patrol game into a controller for the 1987 Sega motorcycle race arcade game Super Hang-On. Watching [Tom] play is a blast, but just in case the whole thing is a losing prospect, it’s completely reversible as well!
Of course we were a little disappointed that Super Hang-On couldn’t make use of the paws button.
Controller vs keyboard and mouse is one of the never-ending battles in the world of gaming, with diehard proponents on both sides of the fence. [Tech Yesterday] has been working to create a controller that’s the best of both worlds. His latest Mouse Pro Controller V5 features an inverted mouse riding on ball bearings.
Mouse Pro Controller V1-3‘s main focus was to create the largest possible moving surface for an optical thumb mouse for precision aiming. However, [Tech Yesterday] found that one’s thumb doesn’t work well for traversing a large flat surface, but works better with a concave surface. On V4 he flipped the optical sensor around, embedding it in the controller, with a small circular “mouse pad” attached to his thumb. The concave surface was made from the diffuser of a large LED light bulb. It had slightly too much friction for [Tech Yesterday]’s liking, so he embedded an array of small ball bearings in the surface using magnets.
While this “thumb mouse” has excellent precision, it can be a bit slow when you need to make large movements, like when performing 360° no scopes for the clips. For these situations, [Tech Yesterday] embedded a thumb stick on the back of the controller to allow for fast sideways movements using his middle fingers.
Most computer and console games have a variety of different control schemes depending on the controller peripheral the player has to hand. For Star Wars games the fight scenes may be playable with a gamepad, but perhaps that leaves a little to desired in the realism department. In that case, [Leonardo Moreno] has the solution, in the form of a motion sensing light sabre for gaming via gesture control.
The first part of any light sabre project is the sabre itself, and for this he uses soft transparent PVC tubing. This might seem an insubstantial choice, but makes sense when the possibility of hitting an expensive television or gamers monitor with it is considered. Up the pipe goes a piece of LED strip, and onto it a hilt containing an Arduino and an MPU6050 gyroscope sensor. The physical controls come courtesy of a small analogue joystick and a trigger fashioned from a wooden clothes pin. The result may be a little rough and ready, but it’s undeniably a light sabre. Full instructions and software can be found at the link.
Light sabres have been a perennial build, but few have captured the original better than this laser based one.
The first person shooter genre found its feet in the PC world, relying on the holy combination of the keyboard and mouse for input. Over time, consoles have refined their own version of the experience, and the gamepad has become familiar territory for many FPS fans. [Tech Yesterday] was a die hard controller player, but after trying out a mouse, didn’t want to go back. Instead, he built a truly impressive hybrid device.
The build begins with a standard Xbox 360 wired controller, somewhat of a defacto standard for PC gamepads. The left analog stick and triggers remain untouched, however the face buttons are all relocated using mechanical keyboard switches. The D-pad has been relocated to the left hand side with tactile switches, and the right analog stick removed entirely. In its place, a cut-down optical mouse is used on a flat 4″x4″ mousepad attached to the controller, strapped to the player’s thumb.
The resulting controller combines the benefit of analog stick movement and the precision aiming of a mouse. We’re amazed at how comfortable the controller looks to use, particularly in the improved second revision. While currently only used on PC, we can imagine such controllers shaking up the console FPS scene in a serious way.
There is a good chance you clicked on this article with a mouse, trackball, trackpad, or tapped with your finger. Our hands are how most of us interact with the digital world, but that isn’t an option for everyone, and [Shu Takahashi] wants to give them a new outlet to express themselves. Some folks who cannot use their hands will be able to use the Magpie MIDI, which acts as a keyboard, mouse, MIDI device, and eventually, a game controller. This universal Human Interface Device (HID) differs from a mouth-operated joystick because it has air pressure sensors instead of buttons. The sensors can recognize the difference between exhalation and inhalation, so the thirteen ports can be neutral, positive, or negative, which is like having twenty-six discrete buttons.
The harmonica mounts on an analog X-Y joystick to move a mouse pointer or manipulate MIDI sound like a whammy bar. [Shu] knows that a standard harmonica has ten ports, but he picked thirteen because all twenty-six letters are accessible by a puff or sip in keyboard mode. The inputs outnumber the Arduino Leonardo’s analog inputs, so there is a multiplexor to read all of them. There was not enough time to get an Arduino with enough native ports, like a Teensy, with HID support baked in. Most of the structure is 3D printed, so parts will be replaceable and maybe even customizable.
The Gables Engineering G-2789 audio selector panels aren’t good for much outside of the aircraft they were installed in, that is, until [MelkorsGreatestHits] replaced most of the internals with a Teensy 3.2. Now they are multi-functional USB input devices for…well, whatever it is you’d do with a bunch of toggle switches and momentary push buttons hanging off your computer.
With the Teensy going its best impression of a USB game controller, the host operating system has access to seven momentary buttons, twelve toggles, and one rotary axis for the volume knob.
Right now [MelkorsGreatestHits] says the code is set up so the computer sees a button press on each state change; in other words, the button assigned to the toggle switch will get “pressed” once when it goes up and again when it’s flicked back down. But of course that could be modified depending on what sort of software you wanted to interface the device with.
As we’ve seen with other pieces of vintage aircraft instrumentation, lighting on the G-2789 was provided by a series of incandescent bulbs that shine through the opaque front panel material. [MelkorsGreatestHits] replaced those lamps with white LEDs, but unfortunately the resulting light was a bit too harsh. As a quick fix, the LEDs received a few coats of yellow and orange paint until the light was more of an amber color. Using RGB LEDs would have been a nice touch, but you work with what you’ve got.
The build is straightforward, following the usual format for motion controller builds. Fitted with a gyroscope and accelerometer, it’s interfaced to the PC using a microcontroller. The toy has a trigger which is hooked up to the fire button in game. Additional buttons were added to the shell for movement and other actions such as reloading and finding cover. As a nice final touch, the large pull handle on the left of the weapon is used to activate the chain saw in-game.