The Hacktory Blog

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How to Make Game Controllers at Project Night #Hackster


On our recent Thursday night, Tim and I kicked off our first Hackster Hacks&Snacks with the topic of DIY game controllers. Tim already teaches a similar class at PhilaU, while I like to work with wearables, so you could say we were highly motivated. It was a great turnout of people of all ages and we were quickly inspired by everyone’s fave games and controllers, both past and present. Some of the ideas suggested were working with water as a gaming element with some flashy fiber optics, as well as a kazoo through breath. It was fun to think of appropriate sensors that would work and what the objective of the games would be. We also shared examples of controllers, with Tim and his Nintendo-like glove and me with my Laser-Kitty. Both were made using the Adafruit FLORA microcontroller, which lends itself to wearable or box contained controllers since it is both stichable and solderable. The Particle Photon was another nice compact controller that was mentioned with WiFi capability. Someone even brought along 5m of NeoPixels–woot! This workshop was a preview of an upcoming mega edition where we will invite teams to build game controllers and then match them with actual dev people from Philly Game Forge to design original playable delights. So, make sure you are on our email list for the latest! FYI our Hacks&Snacks will be once/month and as we learn new skills, so can you.


Thursday night is also our free project night where members and non-members come to work on their projects and form collaborations. One project that has been in the works includes some gloves that will be worn by dance performers for an upcoming interactive performance. It was fun to have a bunch of us there late night squeezing hands to see how the sensors were functioning in the gloves. The visual patterns are looking so cool on the program that we think they should become projections for the show as well. Exciting stuff!


Other projects in the works include some test bath salts, a pinball machine and another batch of our ever popular LED lightsabers. Of course there is always excitement over new tools, including our recently donated micro drill-press. You know we love the gadgets, whether it is a microscope, power tool or toaster oven. There’s something for everyone at The Hacktory, so drop by!




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