Tag Archives: Kevin Darrah

Hacking and tracking an RC car

A Maker by the name of Shazin recently posted an RC car hack that tracks (and follows) the face of a user. The first step of the project? Assuming direct control of the RC vehicle.

“The uniqueness in this approach is that many people have [executed] RC car hacks using Arduino to control the RC, [rather than] the car itself,” Shazin explained in a recent blog post. “[This] hack directly controls the car instead of sending commands using the RC.”

As HackADay’s Kevin Darrah points out, the car used in the project isn’t exactly high-end, so Shazin had to forego about PWM control.

“Instead, a single IC (RX-2) was found to handle both the RF Receiver and H-Bridges,” writes Darrah.

“After a bit of probing, the four control lines (forward/back and left/right) were identified and connected to an [Atmel-based] Arduino.”

Shazin then paired the Arduino with a USB host shield, linking it with his Android phone via ADB (Android Debug Bridge), while also tweaking the OpenCV Android Face Detection app for the project.

“If the first detected face (target) is in the right half of the image, then turn right or else turn left and go forward,” notes Shazin.

Interested in learning more about the user tracking car? You can check out Shazin’s project page here and HackADay’s coverage here.

Das Blinken Bonken! is an Arduino ball game

A Maker by the name of Zippy314 recently designed an Arduino-based game platform as a Christmas present for his son. The project – originally posted to Instructables – was featured earlier this week on HackADay.

“Like all highly addicting games, the Das Blinken Bonken! gameplay is simple; the player throws a ball at the target board while aiming to hit a specific pad,” explained HackADay’s Kevin Darrah.

“There are many game possibilities with this platform, like trying to hit the illuminated target each time, or just trying to hit all of the pads on the board as fast as possible.”

So, how does the game work?

According to Darrah, the pads register a hit with the help of home-made pressure sensors – each constructed in a ‘sandwich’ of pressure-sensitive conductive sheets. 

Since the resistance through the sheet lowers as pressure is applied, a simple voltage divider circuit is used to feed the analog inputs on the Arduino Uno (Atmel ATmega328), thus making it easy to detect an impact.

Meanwhile, an I2C 4-Digit 7 Segment display keeps score and displays the game title, with a strip of addressable RGB LEDs providing player feedback and other gameplay data.

Interested in building your own Das Blinken Bonken? You can check out the project’s official Instructables page here and the relevant Arduino files on Github here. Once the software is installed via GitGub and everything hooked up correctly, Makers should see the word “AIM” spelled out on the display.

“Navigate the menu by pressing on the top two target segments until you see the display read ‘CAL’ Now press the target center to activate calibration,” Zippy314 explained in his Instructables post.

“This mode simply reads the amount of pressure being detected on the pressure pad you press on. You can use this mode to adjust the tightness of the screws so all the pads are roughly equal. To get back to the menu press the top two target segments simultaneously.”

There are currently four Das Blinken Bonken games available: Aim, Speed, Fill, & Red vs. Blue. However,  Zippy314 is encouraging Makers to submit additional ones.