Archive for the ‘game controllers’ Category

Learning Game Programming with Esplora at the Iron Yard

Friday, January 25th, 2013
Anne Mahaffey teaching with the Esplora - Photo: Chris Brank

Anne Mahaffey teaching with the Esplora – Photo: Chris Brank

 

Anne Mahaffey is an engineer with Analog Devices and was one of the beta testers for the Arduino Due. Anne’s been an ardent advocate for Arduino at Analog, and recently contacted us about a workshop she was planning with the Iron Yard, an accelerator in her hometown of Greenville, South Carolina. The workshop was to introduce kids to programming in Scratch, and to let them build their own game controller with Arduino. She had plans to do it the way many Arduino workshops go: introduce the kids to a little electronics, then a little code, then get them building. She happened to reach us about the time we were putting the finishing touches on the new Esplora, and since we had a good reationship with her as a beta tester, we suggested that she try the Esplora instead. We had a good feeling about it, but no one had used it for a class yet. But Anne’s game for anything, so she said yes.

When she got the boards in hand, she was a bit skeptical:

“I won’t lie. The Esplora was not at all what I had in mind… what about the breadboard? The wires? The hookup diagrams? Isn’t that the fun part? Is it possible likely certain that my perceptions/opinions are being colored by my extremely specialized professional experience as an Analog/RF-centric Electrical Engineer?”

But she gave it a try. The results were promising:

“My first class was last night. I had 17 kids, mostly aged 10-12, if I had to guess. Each child (or sometimes, pair of siblings) had a parent. I had 5 or so volunteers, as I anticipated the first class would be the most challenging.

“It only took about 10 minutes to hand out Esploras, connect them, select correct board and port, and upload EsploraBlink. We had two Windows machines that we had to work with b/c they had many COM ports, so we needed to investigate which COM port was associated with the Esplora.”"

“In an hour and a half, I was able to send everyone home with a known working Esplora, which had run EsploraBlink, EsploraAccelerometer, and EsploraMusic; knowledge of how to select board, port, open example, upload to board, and open serial port; my e-mail, and a link to my tumblr… with the ability to ask me questions via both…

“Everyone, including parents were very engaged. They were very attentive, and I think everyone had a really good time!”

 

The Iron Yard Arduino Class. Photo: Chris Brank

The Iron Yard Arduino Class. Photo: Chris Brank

 

We’re excited about this because it bears out what we’d hoped would happen with the Esplora: sometimes you want to learn about microcontrollers only a little bit, without a lot of time spent on the electronics. After her second class, Anne notes:

“It’s interesting now, to look at the differences in the approach that I’m able to take with the Esplora, vs. the approach I would have to take with [other boards and an electronics kit]… when working with breadboards, wires, etc, what’s you’re teaching is the hookup, and then you’re just loading an example, and hitting upload.  [you don't] really go into much detail on the program, and how it works.

Alternatively, I’m teaching the Esplora class with minimal focus on the “electronics,” and am able to focus on the programming.  I think this is going to work out well in the end… when we move on from the Esplora, the kids will have a much stronger understanding of all the programming aspects, and can focus on the electronics.”

We’re thankful that Anne was willing to take a risk with a brand new product, and we’re eager to hear more about her classes as they go along. We’re hoping this opens the doors for teachers who want to get students thinking about the relationship between software, physical interface, and hardware without having to run an electronics class. Keep an eye on Anne’s blog posts on the Iron Yard blog for further updates.

The Arcade Machine, by Timothy (15)

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

[Timothy Zandelin], a 15 years old Arduino enthusiast has sent us his first Arduino Project, an arcade interface based on Arduino Leonardo.

The cabinet is made of 4mm HDF and were laser cut at “Fabriken” in Malmö. The red arcade sign in the top is produced in 5mm translucent acrylic. All design and construction drawings were made in Illustrator. I used an Arduino Leonardo to connect the joystick, buttons and the LED light.  The game installed, Superstar Chefs, is an old game developed by my dad’s cousins.

On the other hand, Timothy also built his own prototyping board to learn about how to use different inputs and outputs.

My prototype board was made with Fritzing.

It includes:

- 6 green 3mm LED’s,

- 11 resistors (6 330 ohm, 4 10K ohm and one 100 ohm),

-1 dip8 socket with an ATtiny45,

- 1 potentiometer,

- 4 pushbutton and header sockets.

I created this prototype board to easily get started with Arduino.

Timothy, welcome on board!

DIY Radio Control

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Going to buy a new Wireless Controller for your next Robotics project. Why buy a new one when you can Do-It-Yourself? All you need is an Arduino, an old Joystick with a Gameport (15-pin connector) and a pair of Series 1 xBee Modules.

The explanation of the xBee Configuration and the xBee Packet Description is very well done at the blog.

Block Diagram

Transmitter: Joystick + xBee [No additional hardware needed]
Receiver: xBee + Arduino + [your amazing Robot, Car or a Plane!]

Schematic

 

The Evolution Of Controllers [infographics]

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Nice information graphics from popchartlab.

via [vitaDigitale] source [popChartLab]

Kinect Controlled Delta-Robot

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Everybody’s amazed about the incredible things done with Kinect and Processing + Arduino. Tutorial need!

This is a project in development for the module “Digital Ecologies”, at the Bartlett’s Adaptive Architecture and Computation MSc. – University College London

A Delta-Robot is controlled by a Kinect through Processing and Arduino. The movements of the performer control directly the position of the robot’s effector, and the rotation and opening of the gripper.
Once the plattform is properly calibrated (still a little rough round the edges!), several autonomous behaviours will be implemented.

have a look at [resources]via [KinectHacks]

Arduino Uno as JoystickArduino Uno as JoystickArduino Uno as Joystick

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Arduino Forum User [ant.b] has shared his personal Arduino UNO hack with other LUFA firmwares. He tries to turn an Arduino UNO in a Joystick, uploading a new firmware on the 8u2, and summarize it in a very useful step by step guide.

(more…)

BMW Instrument Cluster on PC via USB application Arduino MEGA board

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Here one of the more realistic car interfaces I’ve ever seen. But let’s start from what [hrsim] posted some time ago:

Browsing around the www, I came across this simple, easy to use development board, which seemed just right for my project. As I’ve said in an earlier post, I want to reduce my efforts as much as possible, so this Arduino MEGA board was just what I was looking for, as it is built around a powerful enough microcontroller, the ATMega1280, it exposes all I/O pins (analog, digital, PWM etc), and has a simple, open-source programming language, as well as a pretty bare IDE which also allows you to upload the software via USB.

The blog is an amazing worklog of a big physical game interface. Some tips about the programming side:

Both the Arduino and the PC side software are now updated to process the speed and RPM signals coming from Live For Speed.

What’s interesting, is that the Arduino (ATMega1280) being single-theaded, I had to write all the code in one function. So, there is only one thread which reads data from the serial port, and as soon as a complete package is received, it updates the control lights and speed / RPM signals.
The speedometer and rev counter are fed with clock signals, whose frequencies vary according to the speed / RPM to be displayed on the dial (the actual speed and RPM sensors on the real car read their values from the rotating wheels/engine crankshaft, thus sending clock-like signals to the instrument cluster). These signals are generated by means of two dedicated timers, also implemented in the same single thread.

some more videos.

via [microcontroller] source [hrsim]