Millenium Falcon HID: Get Unity To Talk To Teensy

Here’s one that proves a hardware project can go beyond blinking LEDs and dumping massive chunks of data onto a serial console. Those practices are fine for some, but [dimtass] has found a more elegant hack for a more civilized age. His 3D Millennium Falcon model gets orientation data from his IMU as an an HID device.

The hardware involved is an MPU6050 6-axis sensor that is interfaced with a Teensy 3.2 board. [dimtass] documents his approach to calibrating the IMU going a bit further by using a Python script to generate offsets. We’ve advocated using Jupyter notebooks in the past and this is a good example of Jupyter plotting the data and visualizing the effect of the offsets in a second pass.

When in action, the Teensy reads IMU data and sends it over a USB RAW HID interface. For the uninitiated, HID transfers are more reliable than USB CDC transfers (virtual serial port) because they use smaller data chunks per event/transaction and usually don’t require special driversOn the computer side, [dimtass] has written a small application that gets the IMU values over the RAW HID and then provides it to the visualization application.

A 3D Millennium Falcon model is rendered in Unity, the popular open source game development engine. Even though Unity has an API, this particular approach is more OS specific using a shared-memory technique. The HID application writes to a file (/tmp/hid-shared-buffer) which is then read by Unity to make orientation changes to the rendered model.

[dimtass] provides lots of details on the tools used to bring his project to life and it can be a great starting point for more projects that need interfacing sensors with a visualization system. We have seen ways to turn a person’s head into a joystick and if you need a deeper dive into Unity, look no further.

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Mini Millennium Falcon Is Envy Of The Neighborhood

Here’s a tip for any readers who may be expecting a child in the near future: there’s about a two year period where you can basically use your child as a Halloween prop. They’re too young to express any serious interest in what they want to dress up as, and as an added bonus, they generally spend most of their time being rolled around in a wheeled contraption anyway. As long as you can keep the little one warm and securely seated in the thing, you’ve essentially got free reign to put them into all sorts of elaborate vehicles.

Case in point, the awesome build that [shnatko] has dubbed the “Millennium Flyer”. Built atop his daughter’s plastic Radio Flyer wagon, the Millennium Flyer is constructed out of wood and foam board. By using the mounting holes in the wagon originally intended for an optional canopy, the ship itself can be removed to fly again next year.

[shnatko] notes that he possess no particular talent for the fine arts, so he decided to skin his build by printing out a high resolution image of the Millennium Falcon he found online. The amount of patience (not to mention printer ink) that this method took is considerable, but we think the final results speak for themselves.

To finish off his build [shnatko] found a blue cold cathode light from his PC modding days and rigged it up with a laptop battery he had laying around. Some foam ribs and wax paper to diffuse the light give it that iconic look from the “real” Falcon.

Between this build and the AT-AT rocking horse from a few weeks back, it seems we are in the golden age of childhood Star Wars conveyances. Though we wouldn’t mind seeing this get mounted to a racing Power Wheels either.

Drone-enium Falcon

If you own a quadcopter chances are you own more than one. It’s kind of an addictive thing in that way. So dig out that dinged up model and build something awesome around it. We’d suggest making it look exactly like a Millenium Falcon. Okay, to be fair this is built around a custom quadcopter originally designed to carry a camera and GPS but removed for this project. We’re not sure if stock models have enough extra umph to lift a fancy fuselage like this (maybe you’ll weigh in on that in the comments?).

As with any great build this started with a scale drawing. The drawing was printed for use as a cutting template for the expanded polystyrene. Part of what makes it look so fantastic is that the fuselage isn’t 2-dimensional. There is depth in the places that matter and that’s all because of near-mythical foam cutting/shaping skills on [Olivier’s] part.

Final touches are LEDs on front and to simulate the curved engine on the tail. You can almost see this thing picking up a handless [Luke] below Bespin’s floating city. This Falcon flies like… a quadcopter (what did you expect? The Kessel Run in 12 parsecs?), which you can see in the videos after the break. The second clip shows how easy it is to remove the foam body from the quad frame, yet another nice touch!

Of course if Star Wars isn’t your thing you can give trolling the skies as a flying body a shot.

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Millennium Falcon Doll House

Sometimes all it takes is one idea. The shape of a cutting board found at a thrift store prompted [Paul] to build a Millenium Falcon doll house. In addition to the strangely shaped cutting board, a ring from a CD spindle and some wood slats divide the internals while PVC fittings complete the cockpit assembly. To really bring things alive for the kids [Lin] made a bunch of minifigs from hobby pegs. These exhibit her artistic skills as we think they’re better than most of the stuff you could buy in a store.

Kids really bring out the best in hacking. Looks like these children have been enjoying the spoils of hacker parents for a while, with a cardboard rocketship (beats any refrigerator box hands down), Pixie-Dust bottles using some small LED bits, and a doll bed that repurposes a wine rack.

[Thanks Joby]