A Smart Light Bulb Running Doom Is A Pretty Bright Idea

A light bulb might seem like an unlikely platform for gaming, but we’re living in the future now, so anything is possible. And with enough know-how, it turns out that an RGB light bulb can indeed be modified to run Doom.

[Ed note: The project pages and video got pulled right when this went to press. Nicola received a takedown notice.  We’ll let you know more when we do. The main link has been updated to the Wayback Machine.]

That’s not to say that the Ikea TRÅDFRI light bulb is the only thing [Nicola Wrachien] needed to accomplish the hack. But the bulb, specifically this addressable GU10 RGB LEB bulb, donated the most critical component, a Silicon Labs MGM210L wireless microcontroller, with enough processing power to run vanilla Doom. Added to the microcontroller was a TFT display, a controller made from a handful of buttons and a shift register, and a few odds and ends to stitch it all together. Some more memory was needed, though, so [Nicola] used an 8 MB QSPI flash memory and a couple of neat tricks to reduce latency and improve bandwidth. There are a lot of neat tricks with this one, but the coolest thing might just be that the whole footprint of the build isn’t that much bigger than the original bulb. Check out the surprisingly smooth gameplay in the video below.

This is a nice addition to the seemingly neverending “Will it Doom?” series. We’ve seen the classic game ported to everything from a GPS to a kitchen “bump bar” computer and even to an oscilloscope.

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Hacking The IKEA TRÅDFRI LED Power Supply

Just because something is being actively documented and tampered with by enthusiastic hackers doesn’t mean the information is handily centralized. There can be a lot of value in gathering disparate resources in one place, and that’s exactly what [Trammell Hudson] has done with his resource page for hacking the IKEA TRÅDFRI LED power supply with wireless interface. Schematic teardown, custom firmware images, it’s all there in one convenient spot.

Back in 2017, the IKEA TRÅDFRI hacking scene was centered around the LED light bulbs but as the group of products expanded, the rest of the offerings have also gotten some attention.

Why bother tampering with these units? One reason is to add features, but another is to make them communicate over your own MQTT network. And MQTT is the reason you are only a Raspberry Pi and a trip to IKEA away from the beginnings of a smart home that is under no one’s control or influence but your own.

Hacking The IKEA Trådfri Light Bulb

[BasilFX] wanted to shoehorn custom firmware onto his IKEA Trådfri light bulb. The product consists of a GU10-size light bulb with a LED driver as well as IKEA’s custom ZigBee module controlling it all. A diffuser, enclosure shell, and Edison-screw base give the whole thing the same form factor as a standard A-series bulb. The Trådfri module, which ties together IKEA’s home automation products, consists of an ARM Cortex M4 MCU with integrated 2.4Ghz radio and 256 Kb of flash — not bad for 7 euros!

Coincidentally, [BasilFX] had just contributed EFM32 support to RIOT-OS (“the friendly OS for IoT”) so he was already halfway there. He used a JTAG/SWD-compatible debugger to flash the chip on the light bulb while the chip was still attached.

[BasilFX] admits the whole project is a proof of concept with no real use yet, though he has turned his eye toward getting the radio to work, with a goal of creating a network of light bulbs. You can find more info on his code repository.

We ran a post on Trådfri hacking earlier this year, as well as one on the reverse-engineering process used to suss out the bulb’s secrets.

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Ikea Tradfri Hacking

Smart lighting is all the rage right now. Sure, Phillips Hue is the giant player in the market, but there are plenty of ZigBee, Bluetooth, and WiFi light bulbs out there. Ikea–known for cheap furniture, meatballs, and waffles–is a recent addition to the field with their Tradfri system. Like most things from Ikea, they are effective and inexpensive. [Andreas] takes a Dremel to the controller and shows how to hack the system to use MQTT. You can check out the video below.

Once he had the device opened, the used the German Make magazine article we talked about earlier, to help understand what he had. Armed with the pinout, he was able to solder a wiring harness to the controller. He then connected a WeMos board. A little Arduino code later, and he was controlling the light with MQTT.

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