Raspberry Pi: Ben’s Raspberry Pi Twilight Zone pinball hack

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When Ben North was faced with a quandary of his nine-year-old son wanting him to watch his pinball games while, during a same time, Ben should be doing housework, he came adult with a shining hack. Ben motionless to examine a middle workings of his twenty-year-old Twilight Zone pinball appurtenance to modify a measure arrangement information into a video tide he could keep an eye on while working.

Ben North Raspberry Pi Twilight Zone Pinball

Ben finished adult with this. Read on to find out how…

Dad? Dad! DAD!!

Kids adore pity their achievements. That’s a given. And so, after Ben introduced his son Zach to his dear pinball machine, Zach wanted his father to declare his progress. However, during some indicate Ben had to get behind to a lifeless existence of adulting.

“My son Zach, now 9, has been usually removing improved during [playing pinball], and is penetrating for me to watch his games. So he and we wanted a approach for me to keep an eye on how his diversion is going, while we do other jobs elsewhere.”

The dual of them suspicion that, with a right collection and some fiddling, they could steal a machine’s measure information on a approach to a dot pattern arrangement and obstruct it to a computer. “One approach to do this would be to set adult a webcam.” Ben explains on his blog, “But where’s a fun in that?”

Twilight Zone pinball wizardry

After researching how a dot pattern receives and displays a measure data, Ben and Zach figured out how to fetch a outlay regulating a 16-channel USB proof analyser. Then they pacifist into training to modify a information a proof analyser outputs behind into images.

Ben North Raspberry Pi Twilight Zone Pinball

“Exploring in some-more fact reliable that a information looked reasonable. We could see well-distinguished frames and rows, and within any row, a pixel information had a reduction of high (lit pixel) and low (dark pixel).”

After Ben managed to modify a signals of one support into a human-readable pixel image, it was time to consider about a hardware that could do this acclimatisation in genuine time. Though he and Zach were assured they would have to build tradition hardware to finish their project, they motionless to initial give a Raspberry Pi a go. And it incited out that a Pi was adult to a challenge!

Ben North Raspberry Pi Twilight Zone Pinball - instance output

“By an extraordinary coincidence, a [first] support we decoded was one display that we am a tide Lost In The Zone champion.”

To decode a initial frame, Ben had created a Python script. However, he coded a module to furnish a measure live tide in C++, given this denunciation is improved during doing high-speed submit and output. To make certain Zach would learn from a experience, Ben explained a how and because !
of a module to him.

“I talked by with Zach what a module indispensable to do — detect time edges, representation pixel data, collect rows, etc. — though afterwards he left me to do ‘all a tedious typing’.”

Ben used several pieces of open-source program while operative on this project, including a sigrok apartment for vigilance research and a multimedia horizon gstreamer for doing a live video tide to a Raspberry Pi.

Find some-more information about a Twilight Zone pinball build, including a lot of technical sum and a formula itself, on Ben’s blog.

Worthy self-promotion from Ben

“I also did an FPGA plan to replicate some of a Colossus code-breaking appurtenance used in Bletchley Park during World War II,” explained Ben in a new emails. “with a Raspberry Pi as a host.”

Colossus mechanism Twilight Zone Pinball

The strange Colossus, not Ben’s.
Image c/o Wikipedia

As a bit of a story nerd myself, we consider this is over cool. And if, like me, you’d like to learn more, check out a couple here.

Source: Raspberry Pi blog

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