Wireless Protocol Reverse Engineered to Create Wrist Wearable Mouse

We’ve seen a few near-future sci-fi films recently where computers respond not just to touchscreen gestures but also to broad commands, like swiping a phone to throw its display onto a large flat panel display. It’s a nice metaphor, and if we’re going to see something like it soon, perhaps this wrist-mounted pointing device will be one way to get there.

The video below shows the finished product in action, with the cursor controlled by arm movements. Finger gestures that are very much like handling a real mouse’s buttons are interpreted as clicks. The wearable has a Nano, an MPU6050 IMU, and a nRF24L01 transceiver, all powered by some coin cells and tucked nicely into a 3D-printed case. To be honest, as cool as [Ronan Gaillard]’s wrist mouse is, the real story here is the reverse engineering he and his classmate did to pull this one off.

The road to the finished product was very interesting and more detail is shared in their final presentation (in French and heavy with memes). Our French is sufficient only to decipher “Le dongle Logitech,” but there are enough packet diagrams supporting into get the gist. They sniffed the packets going between a wireless keyboard and its dongle and figured out how to imitate mouse movements using an NRF24 module. Translating wrist and finger movements to cursor position via the 6-axis IMU involved some fairly fancy math, but it all seems to have worked in the end, and it makes for a very impressive project.

Is sniffing wireless packets in your future? Perhaps this guide to Wireshark and the nRF24L01 will prove useful.

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Sexy six axis robotic arm is a work of art

We don’t know if it’s a mid-life crisis or just the result of way too many solder fumes, but [sparten11] on Instructables is building one of the coolest robotic arm we’ve ever seen, and we thank him for that.

The build began with a set of brushed DC motors running capable of running on 60 volts at up to 8 amps. These motors were attached rotary encoders that, with the gearing [sparten11] is using, provide 400,000 steps per revolution.Combined with a heavy duty motor controller, [sparten]’s arm has more than enough power and control for just about any industrial process.

Of course muscles are useless without a skeleton or brain, so [sparten] milled the structural and mechanical members of his arm in his home machine shop. It’s an impressive bit of kit; the base of his robot tested the capacity of his lathe, and the waterjet-cut arms form a graceful skeleton of an absurdly powerful robotic arm. The electronics for the build consist of a Pico PC running Windows XP with servo control board etched from a copper clad board.

The build isn’t quite done yet, but judging from the videos after the break, [sparten] will have a fabulous robotic arm shuffling around his workshop in short order.

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PS3 gun/controller hybrid

[Luis] is very particular about his gaming controllers. He wanted to mod a Six Axis controller to fit into a Nerf gun body but there wasn’t really enough room for all of the components. After shopping around for a while he discovered a wired gun controller made by Namco which was developed for use with the game Time Crisis. He picked one up and went to work replacing the guts with a set pulled from a wireless controller.

The majority of the work on a mod like this one comes in extending the reach of each component. After cracking open the gun controller’s case, [Luis] begins preparing and soldering all twenty contact on the Six Axis controller PCB, then completing the connections necessary for each relocated component. This does make us wonder if there won’t be some element of noise introduced to the signals coming from the analog sticks? He mentions that one of them is ‘glitchy’ but that could be because he started with a used controller from eBay.

We took a couple of good tips out of this. Since the plastic housing is designed to hold each of the original PCBs securely, [Luis] reused them as a mounting surface for the replacement components. A little creative use of protoboard and some time in the paint shop and you’re done. Check out a video of the entire process, which also shares the finished results, after the break.

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Custom PS3 controller: software emulation version

[Matlo] posted a tutorial that will walk you through setting up a six-axis controller emulator. In April he developed a hardware solution using the Teensy but this version just needs a Linux computer with a Bluetooth adapter. If you don’t mind adding a computer to the mix you can use any peripheral controller that will talk to Linux and then adjust the six-axis PS3 controller mapping accordingly.