3D Navigator For Blender

If you work with high-end CAD workstations, you may have encountered a SpaceMouse or similar devices. Sort of a mouse with an extra dimension, they aren’t cheap. So [meisterodin1981] decided to build a do-it-yourself version for use with Blender. You can check it out in the video below.

The device uses an MPU6050 accelerometer and a spring. It also has some buttons for special features. The device uses a Teensy 2, although any controller that can provide an HID device could probably do the job. Of course, a nice 3D printed case is part of the design. A printed pair of plates holds a 3D printer bed spring to provide the device’s Z-axis movement. The wires to the encoder are routed through the center of the spring, so neatness counts.

We’ve seen other 3D mice like the Orbion. Your other option is to pick up the old-fashioned serial port versions and convert them. Until you can do your designs in virtual reality, these mice are just the ticket.

Continue reading “3D Navigator For Blender”

Tiny Motion Detection Alarm Does The Trick

If you have mischievous children or forgetful elderly in your life, you might want to build a couple of these tiny motion detection alarms to help keep them out of harm’s way. Maybe you want to keep yourself out of the cookie jar. We say good for you.

But you could always put one of these alarms on a window, a drawer, or anything else you don’t want opened or moved. The MPU6050 3-axis IMU makes sure that any way the chosen item gets jostled, that alarm is going off.

As you may have guessed, there isn’t much more to this build — the brain is a Seeed Xiao ESP32-C3, and there’s a buzzer, a battery, a switch, and a push button to program it.

The cool thing about using an ESP32-C3 is that [gokux] can use these for other things, like performing a task when motion is detected. If you do want to build yourself a couple of these, here are step-by-step instructions.

If you’d rather detect motion in the vicinity, here’s a PIR-based solution.

Gyro-Controlled Labyrinth Game Outputs To VGA

This gesture-controlled labyrinth game using two Raspberry Pi Pico units does a great job of demonstrating how it can sometimes take a lot of work to make something look simple.

To play, one tilts an MPU6050 inertial measurement unit (IMU) attached to one Pico to guide a square through a 2D maze, with the player working through multiple levels of difficulty. A second Pico takes care of displaying the game state on a VGA monitor, and together they work wirelessly to deliver a coherent experience with the right “feel”. This includes low latency, simulating friction appropriately, and more.

Taking a stream of raw sensor readings and turning them into control instructions over UDP in a way that feels intuitive while at the same time generating a VGA display signal has a lot of moving parts, software-wise. The project write-up has a considerable amount of detail on the architecture of the system, and the source code is available on GitHub for those who want a closer look.

We’ve seen gesture controls interfaced to physical marble mazes before, but two Raspberry Pi Picos doing it wirelessly with a VGA monitor for feedback is pretty neat. Watch it in action in the video, embedded just under the page break.

Continue reading “Gyro-Controlled Labyrinth Game Outputs To VGA”

Wii-Inspired Controller Built Using Raspberry Pi Pico

We all thought Nintendo was going to change the world of gaming when it released the Wii all those years ago. In the end, it was interesting but not really fundamentally life-changing for most of us. In any case, [Sebastian] and [Gabriel] decided to build a Wii-like controller for their microcontroller class at Cornell.

The build uses a pair of Raspberry Pi Pico microcontrollers, communicating over HC-05 Bluetooth modules. One Pico acts as a controller akin to a Wiimote, while the other runs a basic game and displays it on a screen via VGA output. The controller senses motion thanks to a MPU6050 inertial measurement unit, combining both gyros and accelerometers in all three axes.

The duo demonstrate the hardware by using it as a pointer to play a simple Tic-Tac-Toe game. It’s in no way going to light up the Steam charts, but the project page does go into plenty of useful detail on how everything was implemented. If you want to create your own motion gaming controller, you could do worse than reading up on their work.

We’ve seen some other great examples of motion controls put to good use, like this VR bowling game. Video after the break.

Continue reading “Wii-Inspired Controller Built Using Raspberry Pi Pico”

Shake, Rattle, Roll, With Your Own Seismograph

We always love to see projects where you can build your own lab equipment so [CompactDIY’s] homemade seismograph caught our eye. The design uses an Arduino with an accelerometer and builds on one of their earlier projects. You can see a video of the device below.

The principle is simple. A hobby servo controls a pen and a stepper motor rolls paper, creating a makeshift strip recorder. Its software uses the Visuino system, which is a flowchart-like system, but it outputs Arduino code. Honestly, we would probably have just plotted the data on a PC, but there’s a certain charm to the strip recorder and the idea would work for other types of data recording projects, too. We thought if you rearranged the stepper motor and cut a paper disk out, you could also have a circular chart recorder easily, which wouldn’t need to friction transport the paper. A clock motor would make it even less dependent on software, too.

If this project interests you, try a Raspberry shake, which isn’t as delicious as it sounds. Or, keep an eye on the entire globe, if you prefer.

Continue reading “Shake, Rattle, Roll, With Your Own Seismograph”

ElectronBot: A Sweet Mini Desktop Robot That Ticks All The Boxes

[Peng Zhihui] seems to have found some spare time and energy to crack out another sweet robot build, this time it’s a much smaller, and cuter emoji-bot (Original GitHub Link,) with the usual production-ready levels of attention to detail. With a lot of fine details in the 3D printed models, this is one for SLS printing in nylon, but that can be done for a reasonable outlay, in China at least. The electronics package consists of a few full custom, and tiny, PCBs designed with Altium Designer, with off-the-shelf modules for the circular LCD and camera. The main board hosts an STM32F405 and deals with the display and SD card, The reason for this choice of STM32 was due to the requirement for connecting to an external USB3300 high-speed USB PHY. There is a sensor PCB which handles the gesture sensor, a USB hub, MPU6050 9-axis sensor, and also the USB camera module. This board attaches to the USB-C connector in the base, via a FFC cable, allowing the robot to rotate on its base.

Cunning two-servo shoulder mechanism

[Peng] clearly has exacting standards as to how things should work, and we guess wanted to have the arms back-driveable in a way that enabled the host computer to track and record the motor positions for replaying later on. The connection back to the controller is via I2C, allowing all five servos to hang on the same bus, saving previous resources. Smart! Getting a processor and motor driver in such a tiny space was a bit of challenge, but a walk in the park for [Peng] as is demonstrates in the video embedded below (We believe English subtitles are pending!) The arm mechanism is particularly interesting, and rather elegantly executed, and he does seem rather proud of this part of the design, and so he should! Like with [Peng’s] other projects, there is a lot to see, and plenty of scope for feature explosion. It was nice to see the ‘bot being used as an input device, not only with gesture sensing via the dedicated sensor, but also using the camera with OpenCV to track user posture and act accordingly. This thing could act as genuinely useful AI device, as was a being darn cute at the same time!

We know you come to Hackaday for your cute robot fix, and we’re not going to disappoint. Here’s a cute robot lamp, an obligatory spot (a robot dog) type project, and if you’re more of a cat person, then we got that base covered as well.

Continue reading “ElectronBot: A Sweet Mini Desktop Robot That Ticks All The Boxes”

Remote Controlled Car Gets Active Suspension

Active suspensions are almost a holy grail for cars, adding so much performance gain that certain types have even been banned from Formula 1 racing. That doesn’t stop them from being used on a wide variety of luxury and performance cars, though, as they can easily be tuned on the fly for comfort or improved handling. They also can be fitted to remote controlled cars as [Indeterminate Design] shows with this electronic servo-operated active suspension system for his RC truck.

Each of the four servos used in this build is linked to the mounting point of the existing coilover suspension on the truck. This allows the servo to change the angle that the suspension is positioned while the truck is moving. As a result, the truck has a dramatic performance enhancement including a tighter turning radius, more stability, and the capability of doing donuts. The control system runs on an Arduino with an ESP32 to enable live streaming of data, and also includes an MPU6050 to monitor the position of the truck’s frame while it is in motion.

There’s a lot going on in this build especially with regard to the control system that handles all of the servos. Right now it’s only programmed to try to keep the truck’s body relatively level, but [Indeterminate Design] plans to program several additional control modes in the future. There’s a lot of considerations to make with a system like this, and even more if you want to accommodate for Rocket League-like jumps. Continue reading “Remote Controlled Car Gets Active Suspension”