We ran a workshop in late July to find out what people would do when equipped with our latest product, the Pi Cap. When Ross Atkin, Paul Tanner, and Tina Aspiala got their hands on the theirs, they set their sights on gaming. Rather than inventing something new, they decided to see how they could combine the Pi Cap’s powerful capacitive sensors with the Pi Zero to hack some classic games and give them a new twist.
The Pi Cap is Bare Conductive’s newest product. A Raspberry Pi add-on, it allows you to add precise capacitive touch, proximity sensing and high quality audio to your Raspberry Pi projects. It works with the Raspberry Pi A+, B+, Zero and later (any Raspberry Pi with a 40 pin GPIO connector). With the sensing precision of the Touch Board, and the computing power of the Raspberry Pi, the Pi Cap has is a great tool for transforming physical inputs to digital outputs.
Ross, Paul, and Tina, immediately realised the potential in this amazing combination, and wasted no time in making two awesome projects. To everyone’s surprise it turns out there’s still ways to tweak old favourites such as Pong or Twister to make them even more fun.
The first game the team tackled was a reinterpretation of Pong, adeptly named Capong! The team decided to hack the game by using the Pi Cap’s proximity sensors to detect the movement of the two players hands.
The goal was to make an upwards and downwards movement control the bars on the Pong screen. But first, to prototype the functionality and iron out the code, a cardboard box was wired with some aluminium foil and crocodile clips connecting to two of the Pi Cap’s electrodes.
This gave Paul a quick and easy test rig to work out the code by using the Pi Cap’s proximity code example.
While Paul worked on the code, Ross drew a vector illustration using Adobe Illustrator to send to the lasercutter. The final output? A super-sleek red and white acrylic model.
Impressively for a 5 hour project, this game both looked and worked beautifully! So much so that everyone had to have a go at the end of the workshop.
If you want to make this project, you can find the step-by-step tutorial provided by @paul_tanner here.
Not satisfied with making one awesome game, Tina, Paul and Ross decided to do a second one as well.
Although they originally wanted to make a 1:1 size model, they decided to go for a smaller version, named Finger Twister, as an initial proof of concept.
For this game the team used the capacitive touch code from the example library. With a little bit of help from Szymon Kaliski, they wrote up a program that allowed the Pi Zero to give verbal instructions as to what finger to put on what letter, and then confirm whether you’ve done so or not.
Judging from the enthusiasm finger twisted elicited from the crowd, we really hope they take it forward to make a life-size version!
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