Retro Dreamcast Rhythm Game Controller Built From Scratch

Pop’n Music is a rhythm game which has had both arcade and home console releases over the years. [Charlie Cole] is a fan of the Dreamcast version, and decided to build his own controller for the game using the new hotness, the Raspberry Pi Pico.

The controller itself is built out of layers of lasercut MDF, along with an acrylic top and cork bottom to make it sit nicely on surfaces. Arcade buttons are installed to play the rhythm game, mimicking the design of the official cabinets seen in arcades. To run the controller, a Pico was pressed into service, with [Charlie] hoping to use the Pico’s PIO hardware to easily and effectively interface with the Dreamcast’s Maple bus. There were a few headaches along the way, and it didn’t quite live up to expectations, but with some clever use of dual cores, [Charlie] was able to get everything up and running.

Often, such vintage gaming hardware can be thin on the ground, so having the skills to build your own can come in handy. We’ve seen rhythm game hardware modded before too, like this repurposed DJ Hero controller. Video after the break.

Physical Email Box — Mail Flag And All

We gave you a side view because we really like the red new-mail flag. Sure it works the opposite of how USPS boxes do (where the flag tells the letter carrier there is outgoing mail to be picked up) but it’s still a fun touch. What you can’t see here is that this physical email box has a character LCD screen to read your messages and a set of buttons on the top to send back replies.

[Eraclitux’s] project puts an Arduino, LCD, a few buttons, and a servo motor inside of a metal project box. It connects to his computer and takes commands over the USB cable. The Python script is where most of the magic happens. This is a good reference project if you’re interested in using POP and SMTP packages to interface your Python scripts with an email server. You’re pretty limited on responses, with preprogrammed messages to reply “Yes”, “No”, or “Read”. But it’s journey that matters, not the destination.

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Arduino Email Alert

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The Arduino makes a great platform for alert systems because it doesn’t need additional parts, other than an LED or motor. [Torchris] made email notifier, and used an Ethernet shield to make it standalone. The Arduino polls your POP server seeing if there are unread emails. POP is an incredibly simple protocol, even simpler than HTTP; this made it easy to communicate with, even with little processing power. He hopes to add a servo or serial display to present the data better, but his current system seems to work well. Video of it in action after the break.

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Gmail Without The Cloud: Tips For Next Time

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Yesterday’s Gmail service outage is a hot topic on just about every news site right now. For so many of us that have always taken the reliability of Gmail for granted it was a real shock to lose all of the functionality of the web based system. Now that we’ve learned our lesson, here’s a couple of tips to help you out the next time there’s an outage.

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