Category Archives: Games

VR Controller (Step 2: AirMouse)

 

So I managed to get my virtual reality controller to the next step.

Took some time to find the best blueooth adapter, but i finally got one to act easy as a HID:  Bluefruit EZ-Key. This is a very easy to use component, which can be used even without an Arduino, just a few buttons soldered on the right pin. For my purposes a serial communication between a microcontrooler and it is crucial, since I don’t need only the basic buttons handled.

As a gyroscope + accelerometer I sticked to the GY-521 which is a breakout board for the MPU 6050 chip. This one is more tricky since it requires I2C communication, which is totally new to me.

The programming of the Arduino was not so difficult, only the I2C part took some tinkering, but I got it to work since I didn’t need to learn only some parts.

Finally it can be used to connect to any BT device like PC, Arduino phones and tablets, and play games which handle mouse/keyboard input.

Todo in the next step:

  • try to make a glove out of it
  • replace Arduino with Atmega 328
  • solder everything on 1-2 perfboards
  • add on/off switch
  • add buttons to fire/action
  • add some tilt sensor for moving forward/backwards

Sunday workspace: Stop Motion Dough

Very bad weather outside, kids lost interest in most of the toys, so we had to try something new. Actually I am glad that they still can be delighted by ideas like this. And it’s not like I don’t enjoy something like this either 😉

Quickly put together a smartphone stand “hobo”-style, to hold the smartphone in one place. had to stick it to the table too.

Then I downloaded a few stop motion apps from the market and tried until I found something easy to use for children.

And then the fun began. My kids started making stuff from dough, and the we animated them together.

Not a wasted weekend at all … :-)

VR Controller (Step 1: Trials)

All the fuss theese days about VR really put me in the mood to try at least something from all the offers which appear on the market. Of course you can go directly for a Oculus, but even that is still only a development kit. So I decided to start small not spending too much from the start, since I didnt know if I like it. So I bought a Google Cardboard. This one is about the cheapest VR you can get :-) since you put your phone into it, load some special apps and games, and you have VR. And I have to say I was amazed.

If you want more than just cardboard, you can go for Durovis Dive, which is basically the same thing 5x more expensive, but, and here comes the interesting part, it comes with the Dive SDK for Unity3D which allows you to make a 3D world for the glasses in about 10 minutes. And it really didnt take longer.

Ok, now you have a full VR experience (if Oculus, Dive or Cardboard) but your hands still hanging there, your actions are still limited on (in my opinion) very old-school HIDs (keyboard, mouse, gamepad, etc.).

Some times ago I started to tinker around with electronics components. Still have pretty basic knoledge about electronics, and don’t understand most electronics signs :-)

And it got me thinking. Given an Arduino, a bluetooth module, some sensors fixed on my body (like tilt sensor, gyro sensor, compass module, and a few buttons), what could stop me to make a next gen game/fitness/generic controller?

My ideea is to do a lot of stuff with it: make a fitness app which will be controlled by running on a treadmill (or using a workout bike). Something like the old Nintendo Wii and the running game from Sports. Or a game like Temple Run, in which running the treadmill faster, gets you faster in the game. Or a shooter where you really run… etc.

For this I would like to create a game controller which records the leg movements, direction, body position, etc. which would then influence the actions in the game. A lot of detals I still need to work out.

I would like to be able to record more then a conventional controller does (more than just up, down, left, right, etc) that’s why I would like to build one and not buy one and break it apart and hack into it. That, and for kicks 😉

STEP 1:  Gather all hardware needed

Well, not as easy as it sounds. I started with an Arduino Uno thinking it will be enough. Had to upgrade to Arduino Mega since it has 3 serial ports, and the SoftwareSerial support on the Uno wasn’t working so smooth. And the reason is the next module. Until now I thought a HC-05 bluetooth module would be enough. And it is up to a point. It only supports SPP for communication. It wasn’t hard to  write a little code on the Arduino, connect it to my smartphone, and use it as a little chat aplication. But as soon as I wanted to connect it as a keyboard or mouse, the trouble started. Using AT commands I configured every relevant flag on the HC-05, only to find out the it actually doesn’t support the bluetooth HID profile, which would allow me that. For that I would need at least a Bluesmirf RN42-HID or a BlueGiga WT12 module, which support both SPP and HID. Or to flash a new firmware on the HC-05 (a really messy solution)

So I can either upgrade to a better bluetooth module, or use the HC-05 in SPP mode, and write an andoid driver app, which converts the messages from Arduino into HID events and deliver them to any Android app. But for this a rooted phone is needed (no problem either).

(… to be continued)