It looks like someone has found yet another use for Nintendo’s Wiimote: controlling an industrial robot. A couple of engineers at USMechatronics put together a software control program that let them control a Kuka KR16 industrial robot. Unfortunately, time limitations didn’t let them implement a real-time control scheme, but what they came up with is still pretty cool. Using existing PC driver software for the Wiimote and some custom VB.Net code, USM built a simple pattern recognition engine that would let the robot play back pre-recorded movements based on their similarity to the motions that the user would attempt with the Wiimote. The video shows off some of the results, some with a tennis racket mounted, and others with a sword. Handing a weapon to an industrial robot might just be how the robot revolution begins, but given the fact that other projects at the company include robotic sentry guns, it would appear that the company has ample methods to defend itself.
Read More | USMechatronics
Enterprising gamer Adam Thole hacked together a tilt sensor for the Xbox 360 controller. The modification essentially replaces the functionality of one of the analog sticks on the Xbox 360; this allows existing games to use the tilt functionality. Thole has also published a video of the controller in use. The functionality doesn’t look bad, and might give an idea of how such control might be integrated into games.
Read More | Adam Thole
Some enterprising gamer has figured out how to boot PS2 backups on the Playstation 3, assuming that one is willing to dismantle the PS3 and cut a hole in the top cover. Basically, the swap trick is an implementation of an existing hack used on the older Playstation 2 machines. The mod is interesting mainly because it shows off how deep the hardware compatibility for PS2 games goes, but if one really wanted to play back up Playstation 2 software, it probably makes a little more sense to pick up a cheap slimline PS2 and a Swap Magic disc rather than voiding the warrantee and risking the health of a $500 to $600 game console.
Read More | PS2 Scene
Videos have surfaced of what appears to be an Xbox 360 hack being used to run custom code on the console. At the 23C3 Hacker Congress in Germany, an anonymous hacker brings an Xbox 360 with some kind of hardware modification on stage and proceeds to demonstrate running custom code via an exploit that appears to exist in Ubisoft’s King Kong. The video uploaded to YouTube eventually shows a moving logo apparently offering Linux and OS X on the console, “coming soon.” No other details have been released at this point, so it is hard to gauge the feasibility of the hack. Having this hack appear at the 23C3 Hacker Congress event hosted by the Chaos Computer Club gives this demonstration more weight than a random Internet video, but homebrew developers are taking a wait-and-see stance at this point until more details surface.
Read More | Xbox-Scene
Wii owners with wireless networks have support out of the box, but those still operating with wired networks have had only a couple options: either purchase the USB WiFi dongle for one of their PCs, or wait for Nintendo’s official USB wired network adapter. Now, there is a third option. Some forum members from Nintendo’s official forums have found a USB network adapter that will work with the Wii. According to posts on the forum, the KINAMAX USB 2.0 to RJ45 Fast Ethernet 10/100 Base-T Network Adapter will work correctly when connected to the USB port of the Wii. The adapter runs about $20, and should be a good option for those too impatient to wait for an official solution from Nintendo. One of the forum members has uploaded a video showing the adapter in action to YouTube, linked above. Of course, as a non-official solution, users with this adapter should not expect to get any support from Nintendo should any issues arise.
Last night, Sony made a new firmware update available for the Playstation 3. Listed as version 1.3, the update is supposed to fix some of the issues people have been having with 1080i resolutions on their consoles. However, according to 1up, Sony attempted to fix the issue by boosting the priority for the 1080i resolution, which in effect breaks functionality for users HDTV sets that have native resolutions that support 720p.
Previously, users with 720p panels could enable both 720p and 1080i in their system settings, and when possible, the system would display content in the native resolution. Now with 1080i preferred, the system defaults to a resolution that requires the HDTV set to scale the video. The “fix” also doesn’t take care of the core issue: 1080i only users will still have the scaling issues that they had before, and 720p issues will have to toggle 1080i support on for Blu-Ray playback, and off for games if they want the best possible experience for their display. Until Sony can provide actual fixes for the scaling issues in games and Blu-Ray movies, they need to allow users to set resolution preferences individually for each media type on the system.
Read More | 1up
Once gamers figured out that the Wii sensor bar was little more than a housing for an array of LEDs, one had to figure some hacks would come soon. First, someone figured out that a couple of IR-based television remotes could replace the sensor bar. Of course, this was hardly practical. Now, Brian “DoctaBu” Moore has built a wireless sensor bar. The homemade bar is a little ugly, but apparently functional according to the video posted on the site. With a little work, a cleaner wireless sensor bar could be built for those gamers that have AV setups that aren’t really conducive to the wired sensor bar placement.
Read More | Doctabu's Livejournal
Shortly after Microsoft’s Fall Update for the Xbox 360 was released, some users who had hacked the firmware of their Xbox 360 drive found that their consoles were no longer able to boot. Team Xecuter has dissected one of the “broken” consoles and found that older versions of the Xtreme firmware would cause problems after the update, but upgrading to the latest Xtreme 4.2 would fix the problem. Without knowing what exactly has changed in the Fall Update, it is hard to judge whether Microsoft is actively pursuing hacked consoles. Regardless of whether this is intentional or not, though, this means that firmware hackers are going to have to keep up to date with the latest releases to ensure a fully functioning console.
Read More | Team Xecuter
A while back, “video game enhancement” company Xplodr created a stir by announcing a product that promised to unlock the available HDTV modes in the PS2 through their Xploder HDTV Player. The product promised to allow users to run their existing PS2 games in 480p, 576p, 720p, and 1080i, and many gamers wondered if Xploder could deliver what they promised. Now, Computer And Video Games magazine has previewed the device, and at least playing OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast seemed to work as promised, with no drop in frame rates. Now, the software still has not been tested in the wild with the wide spectrum of Playstation 2 games available. Whether the scaled up resolutions impacts the framing of the games or exposes texture flaws is not clear. Xploder disclaims their product slightly, saying that not all games will work, but the product does seem to be a relatively cheap way for PS2 owners to improve their visuals on their HDTV sets.
Read More | Computer And Videogames
According to reports from the Xbox-Scene forums, Microsoft has started shipping Xbox 360 consoles in the UK and Australia regions with an updated Hitachi DVD-ROM drive. The new version of the drive has implemented changes to the hardware designed to make hacking the firmware much harder than before, including changing the firmware chip type, removing debug mode, and encasing the chip with black hard glue to make it harder to access the chip and controller pins. Consoles with a manufacture date of August 2006 in the two affected territories have been shown to have the updated drive, but it is certainly possible that consoles manufactured on earlier dates have the changes as well. Microsoft has made its first counter-move against the hackers looking to open up the Xbox 360, and this will probably only be the first salvo in an ongoing battle.
Read More | Xbox-Scene