New And Improved Arduboy Mini Smashes Funding Goal

Just before the holidays, we brought you word of the Arduboy Mini — the latest in the line of open source 8-bit handheld gaming systems designed by [Kevin Bates]. He was good enough to send along a prototype version ahead of the system’s Kickstarter campaign, and we came away impressed with the possibilities it offered for customization.

Today, we’re pleased to tell you that not only did the Arduboy Mini Kickstarter cross the finish line with more than six times its original funding goal, but [Kevin] has made some pretty major changes to the design from the last time it graced these pages. The final Mini offers even more opportunities for modification and expansion, while still keeping the $29 USD price tag which made it so appealing in the first place. Continue reading “New And Improved Arduboy Mini Smashes Funding Goal”

Arduboy Mini Is A Fresh Take On An 8-bit Favorite

We’ve always been big fans of the Arduboy here at Hackaday. When creator Kevin Bates showed us the original prototype back in 2014, the idea was to use his unique method of mounting components inside routed holes in the PCB to produce an electronic business card that was just 1.6 mm thick. But the Internet quickly took notice of the demos he posted online, and what started as a one-off project led to a wildly successful Kickstarter for a sleek handheld gaming system that used modern components and manufacturing techniques to pay homage to the 8-bit retro systems that came before it.

The original Arduboy prototype in 2014

It’s the sort of hacker success story that we live for around here, but it didn’t end there. After the Kickstarter, the Arduboy community continued to grow, thanks in no small part to Kevin never forgetting the open source principles the product was built on.

He took an active role in the growing community, and when some Arduboy owners started tinkering with adding external storage to their systems so they could hold hundreds of games at a time, he didn’t chastise them for exploring. Instead, he collaborated with them to produce not only a fantastic add-on modification for the original Arduboy, but a new version of the Arduboy that had the community-inspired modifications built in.

Now Kevin is back with the Arduboy Mini, which not only retains everything that made the original a success, but offers some exciting new possibilities. There’s little doubt that he’s got another success on his hands as well as the community’s backing — at the time of this writing, the Kickstarter campaign for the $29 USD Mini has nearly quadrupled its funding goal.

But even still, Kevin offered us a chance to go hands-on with a prototype of the Arduboy Mini so that anyone on the fence can get a third party’s view on the new system. So without further ado, let’s take a look at how this micro machine stacks up to its full-sized counterparts.

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The Little Lightgun That Could: Sinden Makes Good

Back in 2018, we covered the work being done by [Andrew Sinden] to create a lightgun that could work on modern televisions. The project was looking for funding via Kickstarter, but due at least in part to skepticism about the technology involved, the campaign fell well short of its goal. It seemed, at the time, like the story would end there.

But we were recently pointed to a fascinating interview with [Andrew] that ran in The Guardian a couple months back that not only tells the rest of the story, but concludes with a happy ending — after years of hard work, the Sinden Lightgun is now available for purchase. It’s not exactly the turn-key product that some would like, as there’s a fair number of hoops one must jump through just to bag some eponymous waterfowl in Duck Hunt, but nothing that would scare off the average Hackaday reader.

Limited technical details about the 2018 prototype may have kept backers away.

The final version of the hardware ditches the realistic firearm aesthetic inherited from the Wii gun accessory it was designed to fit into, and now features a brightly-colored pistol enclosure that wouldn’t look out of place tethered to a Virtua Cop machine. It’s also gained an optional recoil solenoid for force feedback, though it tacks on another $60 to the already hefty $100 price tag for the base model.

We’re glad to see that [Andrew] recognized the importance of getting Linux support for the software side of things, as it enabled the development of a pre-configured Retropie image for the Raspberry Pi 4. Though you aren’t forced to emulate on the Pi, for those who would like to blast the occasional zombie on their desktop, Windows and x86 Linux are also supported.

Often times, when we cover a project here on Hackaday it’s a one-shot deal: somebody had a particular need or desire, built a gadget to fulfill it, and moved on. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s a certain feeling of pride when we see a project from this community develop into something more. While not every hacked together piece of hardware we feature has the potential to be the next Arduboy or Sinden Lightgun, we like to think that we’ve already covered the next big project-turned-product success story and just don’t know it yet.

Continue reading “The Little Lightgun That Could: Sinden Makes Good”

Shady Air Umbrella Given New Lease On Life

Many infamous Kickstarter projects have ultimately flopped or failed, leaving backers frustrated and angry. Often pitched with a splashy convincing video that happens to have critical components conveniently offscreen. [Allen Pan] was reminiscing about one such project, the air umbrella, and decide to redeem the project by making his own.

The basic idea of the air umbrella was a device that could create a cone of fast-moving air over your head to deflect air. Going off of the specs listed on the original Kickstarter page, [Allen] made a simple prototype that did nothing. Suspicions confirmed, he decided to keep going by buying a powerful electric leaf blower. A nozzle was 3d printed that could direct the air into the needed disc. Early testing with the mist function on a garden hose seemed promising, and they worked their way up to progressively larger raindrops.

Finally, the clouds of California smiled upon them, and it rained. [Allen] was ecstatic that his umbrella worked. He couldn’t hear much out of one ear as he was holding a leaf blower next to it for a few minutes, but it’s a small price to pay to stay dry with the Air Umbrella.

If you’re curious about more false Kickstarter claims, why not read up on this tiny Arduino compatible board making some dubious claims.

[Header image courtesy of Air Umbrella Kickstarter page]

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Hackaday Links: October 24, 2021

It seems that the engineers of NASA’s Lucy spacecraft have some ‘splaining to do. The $981M asteroid-seeking mission launched without a hitch, but when the two solar panels unfolded, one of them failed to latch into place. Lucy’s two large solar arrays combine to an impressive 51 square meters. Both are critical to this 12-year mission as it will travel farther from the Sun than any previous spacecraft, and be gone for longer. The problem is that Lucy is on an escape route, and so they can’t just sidle up to her with a repair craft. Even so, NASA and Lockheed are “pretty optimistic” that they can fix the problem somehow. On the bright side, both solar arrays are providing power and charging batteries inside the cockpit.

It’s kind of hard to believe, but KDE is turning 25 this year! Well, the actual anniversary date (October 14th) has already passed, but the festivities continue through the 25th when KDE founder Matthias Ettrich delivers a fireside chat at 17:00 UTC. Registration begins here.

EnergyStar, purveyors of appliance efficiency ratings and big yellow stickers, will no longer recommend gas-powered water heaters, furnaces, and clothes dryers on their yearly Most Efficient list. They will continue to give them ratings, however. This move was prompted by several environmentalist groups who pointed out that continuing to recommend gas appliances would not put America on track to reach Biden’s 2050 net-zero carbon emissions goal, since they produce greenhouse gases. We totally understand the shift away from gas, but not so much the nitty gritty of this move, which the article presents as exclusive of any appliance that doesn’t run on 100% clean energy. You can’t prove that a user’s electricity is renewable. For example, this consumer is well aware that the energy company in her town still burns coal for the most part. Anyway, here’s the memo. And a PDF warning.

Sure, you can trawl eBay for space rocks, but how do you know for sure that you’re getting a real meteorite? You could play the 1 in 100 billion or so odds that one will just fall in your lap. Just a few weeks ago, a meteorite crashed through a British Columbia woman’s ceiling and landed between two decorative pillows on her bed, narrowly missing her sleeping head. Ruth Hamilton awoke to the sound of an explosion, unaware of what happened until she saw the drywall dust on her face and looked back at the bed. The 2.8 pound rock was the size of a large man’s fist and was one of two meteorites to hit Golden, BC that evening. The other one landed safely in a field.

Hackaday alum Jeremy Cook wrote in to give us a heads up that his newest build, the JC Pro Macro 2, is currently available through Kickstarter. It’s exactly what it sounds like — a Pro Micro-powered macro pad. But this version is packed with extra keyswitches, blinkenlights, and most importantly for the Hackaday universe, broken out GPIO pins. Do what you will with the eight switches, rotary encoder, and optional OLED screen, and do it with Arduino or QMK. Jeremy is offering a variety of reward levels, from bare boards with SMT LEDs soldered on to complete kits, or fully assembled and ready to go.

Inputs Of Interest: Marsback M1 Is A Portable Party Peripheral

Again, let’s just get this out of the way up front: I got this lovely little 75% keyboard for free from a gaming accessories company called Marsback. It’s a functioning prototype of a keyboard that they have up on Kickstarter as of March 2nd. It comes in three color schemes: dark, white and sakura pink, which is white and pink with cherry blossoms.

This illustration of the lube points is from my email string with Marsback.

Marsback found me through my personal website and contacted me directly to gauge my interest in this keyboard. I’ll admit that I wasn’t too excited about it until I scrolled further in the email and saw that they are producing their own switches in-house.

I think that’s a really interesting choice given that Cherry MX and other switches exist, and there so many Cherry MX clones out there already. Naturally, I had to investigate, so following a short review, I’ll take it apart.

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XChange Promises Inexpensive Tool Changes For 3D Printers

[Teaching Tech] has been interested in adding a tool changer to his 3D printer. E3D offers a system that allows you to switch print heads or even change out a hot end for a laser or a (probably) light-duty CNC head. The price of the entire device, though, is about $2,500, which put him off. But now he’s excited about a product from PrinterMods called XChange. This is a kit that will allow rapid tool changes on many existing printers and costs quite a bit less. Preorder on KickStarter is about $150, but that probably won’t be the final price.

Not all printers are compatible. It appears the unit attaches to printers that have linear rails and there is an adapter for printers that have V rollers in extrusions. Supposedly, there is an adapter in the works for printers that use rods and bearings.

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