Apparently unsatisfied with existing video game input devices, game designer Rob Santos created his own using, what else, fidget spinners. His system combines a spinner and five buttons on a pair of controllers to interface with Flock Off, an arcade game loosely based on Flappy Bird.
To register spinner input, a magnet is embedded on each lobe, triggering a Hall effect sensor three times per revolution when spun. An Arduino in each control box reads these signals, then sends this information, along with button inputs, to the game via USB accessible through a serial port.
Although using the Uno in this way means that the game must be programmed especially for this type of input, Santos notes that using an HID-capable board, such as the Leonardo, would give it the capability to act as a keyboard input by itself.
Dave Stein is a software engineer during the day and a tinkerer on Arduino projects in his free time after work. He submitted on the blog his first Arduino project with the goal of powering his old AT-AT Walker toy (mid 1980s) with Arduino Uno and make it walk and perform some of the functions we see in the Star Wars movies.
AT-AT (All Terrain Armored Transport) are four-legged combat walkers 22.5mt (73.8ft) tall of the Galactic Empire, one of its most famous military symbols introduced in “Star Wars V: The Empire strikes back”, and we may see them again in the next weeks on “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” the upcoming episode of the saga opening December 18th.
The AT-AT walker toy updated by Dave is controlled by a wired Xbox 360 controller that interfaces with a computer and transports a signal to the Arduino Uno for walker movement:
The left and right triggers move the walker forward and backward while the right stick moves the head horizontally. If you have ever played with this toy you may remember it was clumsy and difficult to move. In my project I wanted to learn about and conquer the difficulties of quadrupedal movement. The realization process for my project involved a massive amount of trial and error, research, and failures. I have to say that I failed many more times than I succeeded with configuring the servos with the Arduino. I went down many long roads to learn about prototyping with the breadboard, soldering, and redesigns of the final product. The most difficult part of the project aside from adjusting the gait of the walker for balance and movement was providing enough power to the servos without frying the microcontroller or any of the components. I was finally able to overcome these difficulties by implementing the Adafruit servo shield.
Developed by Robin Baumgarten during a 48-hour game jam, Line Wobbler is a one-dimensional dungeon crawler game running on Arduino Uno. Robin was inspired watching a cat interacting with a door stopper and having fun!
The game is played using a unique wobble controller made out of a door-stopper spring and a several meter long ultrabright LED strip display. All the movement is controlled by bending the Wobble controller left and right, while enemies are attacked by wobbling:
Using a spring, an accelerometer and a rigid surface, the Wobble controller is a tactile and surprisingly precise joystick with a unique ‘wobble’ action (pull it back and let go to make it oscillate back and forth rapidly). It is this wobble action that is core to the experience and the game we have created for it. Initially made out of a shoe-tree, I’m now using door-stopper springs, since they’re easier to use. Fun fact: the original inspiration for the controller came from this cat video.
Since it was created, it’s been exhibited during Experimental Gameplay Workshop at GDC 2015, at Burning Man 2015 and other city around the world (London, Chicago and Oslo). Line Wobbler won also two prizes at the AMAZE Awards 2015 in Berlin and has been nominated as a finalist for the IndieCade 2015 awards last October!