The First Person Gamerunner fuses a treadmill with a USB game controller and allows players to literally walk through first person shooter games. The system uses optical encoders and embedded software to translate the movements of the treadmill to the corresponding movements inside the game environment, according to Charles Van Noland, Gamerunner's inventor. The toughest part of the design, he says, was translating digital signals from the encoder into the analog signals required to control the games. The system has a swiveling set of handlebars that allows players to make direction changes within the game. The handlebars also house user-configurable buttons, such as the one used for the trigger. Gamerunner Inc., the device's manufacturer, calibrates the system for fast walking speeds, rather than flat out running — mostly to allow gamers to play for long periods of time. And for the sake of safety, the treadmill moves forward only; a "reverse" button translates forward treadmill movement into backwards in-game movement. Gamerunner builds its treadmill structural elements from machined aluminum billets. "We wanted them to be rugged," says Van Noland, a mechanical engineer with a background in CNC machining. For more information and look at some videos of the controller in action, visit http://rbi.ims.ca/4915-528.
A make-your-own Star Wars Sith Lightsaber hilt is heftier and better-looking than most others out there, according to its maker, Sean Charlesworth. You can 3D print it from free source files, and there's even a hardware kit available -- not free -- so you can build one just in time for Halloween.
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