Hacked Headset Brings VR to the Commodore 64

The venerable Commodore 64 got a lot of people started in computers, and a hard core of aficionados keeps the platform very much alive to this day. But a C64 just doesn’t have the horsepower to do anything more than some retro 8-bit graphics games, right?

Not if [jim_64] has anything to say about it. He’s created a pair of virtual-reality goggles for the C64, and the results are pretty neat. Calling them VR is a bit of a stretch, since that would imply the headset is capable of sensing the wearer’s movements, which it’s not. With just a small LCD screen tucked into the slot normally occupied by a smartphone in the cheap VR goggles [jim64] used as a foundation for his build, this is really more of a 3D wearable display — so far. The display brings 3D-graphics to the C64, at least for the “Street Defender” game that [jim64] authored, a demo of which can be seen below. We’ll bet position sensing could be built into the goggles to control the game too. Even then it won’t be quite the immersive (and oft-times nauseating) experience that VR has become, but for a 35-year old platform, it’s not too shabby.

Looking for more C64 love? We’ve got a million of ’em — case mods, C64 laptops, tablets, even CPU upgrades.

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Hackaday Prize Entry: Safety Glasses Are Also Hands-Free Multimeter

It seems like the multimeter is never easy to see during a project. Whether it’s troubleshooting a vehicle’s electrical system and awkwardly balancing the meter on some vacuum lines and the intake manifold, or installing a new solar panel and hoping the meter doesn’t fall on the ground while the leads are in both hands, it seems like there’s never a good way to see the meter while actually using it. Some meters have a small magnet and strap that can be used to hang them temporarily, but this will only get you so far.

[Alain Mauer]’s entry into the Hackaday Prize looks to solve this glaring problem. Using a heads-up Bluetooth display mounted to a pair of safety glasses, a multimeter can be connected to the device in order to display its information directly to its user. Based on his original idea which used a normal pair of prescription glasses as its foundation, [Alain]’s goal is to reduce safety hazards that might arise when using a multimeter in an awkward or dangerous manner that might not otherwise be possible.

The device uses an Arduino Pro Micro to connect to the multimeter and drive the display. [Alain] notes that the real challenge is with the optical system, however. Either way though, this would be a welcome addition to any lab, workspace, or electrician’s toolbox. Be sure to check out the video of it in action after the break.

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The ‘All-Seeing Pi’ Aids Low-Vision Adventurer

Adventure travel can be pretty grueling, what with the exotic locations and potential for disaster that the typical tourist destinations don’t offer. One might find oneself dangling over a cliff for that near-death-experience selfie or ziplining through a rainforest canopy. All this is significantly complicated by being blind, of course, so a tool like this Raspberry Pi low-vision system would be a welcome addition to the nearly-blind adventurer’s well-worn rucksack.

[Dan] has had vision problems since childhood, but one look at his YouTube channel shows that he doesn’t let that slow him down. When [Dan] met [Ben] in Scotland, [Ben] noticed that he was using his smartphone as a vision aid, looking at the display up close and zooming in to get as much detail as possible from his remaining vision. [Ben] thought he could help, so he whipped up a heads-up display from a Raspberry Pi and a Pi Camera. Mounted to a 3D-printed frame holding a 5″ HDMI display and worn from a GoPro head mount, the camera provides enough detail to help [Dan] navigate, as seen in the video below.

The rig is a bit unwieldy right now, but as proof of concept (and proof of friendship), it’s a solid start. We think a slimmer profile design might help, in which case [Ben] might want to look into this Google Glass-like display for a multimeter for inspiration on version 2.0.

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Snowboard goggle HUD displays critical data while falling down a mountain

snowboard-google-hud

[Chris] has been hard at work building a Heads Up Display into some Snowboarding goggles. We’re used to seeing the components that went into the project, but the application is unexpected. His own warning that the display is too close to your face and could cause injury if you were to fall highlights the impractical nature of the build. But hey, you’ve got to start somewhere when it comes to prototyping. Perhaps the next iteration will be something safe to use.

A set of MyVu glasses were added to the top portion of the goggles, which lets the wearer view the LCD output by looking slightly up. The display is fed by a Raspberry Pi board which connects to a GPS module, all of which is powered by a USB backup battery. In the video after the break you can see that the display shows time of day, speed, altitude, and temperature (although he hasn’t got a temperature sensor hooked up just yet). His bill of materials puts the project cost at about £160 which is just less that $250.

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Heads-up display mounts on brim of your cap

[Matt Kwan] says that coming up with a personal heads-up display wasn’t that hard. Well that’s because he made design choices that make all the difference.

The goal here was to add some augmented reality to his field of vision. He went with a baseball cap because it’s a pretty easy way to strap something to your head. You can’t see it from this angle, but the setup requires you to cut a rather large hole in brim. The image from a smartphone (HTC Desire Z in this case) which is situated with the screen pointing toward [Matt’s] forehead. The screen reflects off of a small mirror, guiding the image down through a Fresnel lens mounted in the hole of the brim. The image is reflected a second time by the plastic in front of his eyes which is coated with a slightly mirrored material. Since the image is reflected twice it appears right-side up, and the use of the Fresnel lens places the image out about 20 cm in front of his view. He tried to get some images of the effect, but we think you’ve got to see it in person before passing judgement.

This does away with the need to track head movement (there’s a few hacks for that out there though). Augmented reality software is used to turn the view from the smartphone camera into overlay data for the display.

[Thanks Tom]