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DIYer Retrofits an NES Controller to Rumble

| 14 Oct 2010 18:58
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An engineering student cobbled together a rumbling controller from the 8-bit era in less than 24 hours.

Remember when rumbling was a big deal? Getting that kind of tactile response was a big innovation of the mid nineties with Nintendo's Rumble Pack for the N64. PlayStations didn't get rumbling until the Dual Shock was released in Japan in 1997. But what if you wanted to enjoy some vibration feedback when you played older games like Ice Hockey or Super Mario Bros. 3 on your 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System? You were shit out of luck. Well, at least, until now. An engineering student at Portland State University in Oregon has retrofit the classic rectangular controller to provide the kind of vibration feedback that we now take for granted. The fact that he began the project only 24 hours before it was due for submission into an engineering expo makes his vibrating NES controller all the more awesome.

Andy Goetz installed a small motor and a trigger for it to vibrate. "In order to make the controller rumble, we need two things: a physical vibration device, and a way to control when the controller rumbles," Goetz wrote on his blog. "The physical vibration device isn't too hard. We modeled ours after the vibrating alert in a cellphone. We soldered a screw to the output shaft of a small DC motor I found in my junk drawer."

For the vibration trigger, Goetz had to get a little creative. I admit that a lot of the technical jargon is beyond my expertise but Goetz's ingenuity is unmistakable. There is one downside though:

"This has the obvious disadvantage that we cannot read the values of the controller when the pack is rumbling. On the plus side however, you have a vibrating controller!" he said.

Yes, Andy, we do. And that's just awesome. The internet thanks you. Now go make 200,000 of these and start selling them on Etsy.

Source: Andy Goetz.org

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