August 9, 2012
Students Create Slingshot Controller For Angry Birds
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Kids. There´s almost no limit to what they can dream up and accomplish, assuming of course, that they´re able to reach for all the necessary tools and equipment.
If you haven´t noticed, many kids are also a bit distracted by the notion of flinging and slinging some very touchy birds at groups of dastardly, suspiciously colored swine who have guarded themselves in hastily built and less-than-land-worthy shelters.
The Angry Birds can be found anywhere and everywhere: On pillows, T-Shirts, plush dolls, candies and even playing cards.
Odd, in the game, the foul and swine have vendettas against one another and yet, when it´s time to ship some merchandise, the parties are all smiles. I digress“¦.
So, wanting to make the Angry Birds gameplay a little more realistic, or at least a little more tactile, some students from the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID) decided to build a dedicated controller with which to play the game and interact with the birds just before sending their feathers a´flying towards the gangrenous pigs.
Dubbed “Super Angry Birds,” the controller resembles a slingshot of all things, complete with Real Slingshot Action.
In all seriousness, this controller is very cool and is the result of a good bit of difficult mathematics and some hacking.
Say the students: “Super Angry Birds is a force feedback USB controller for Angry Birds that simulates the feeling of a slingshot.”
To use the controller, simply aim the slingshot device at whichever angle you feel is best for destroying the pigs´ habitat, pull back on the Angry Bird (a little tab on top of the slingshot) and let fly.
The students further explain their device on Soundplusdesign.com, saying: “We hacked a motorized fader found in audio mixing consoles to create the force feedback.”
“Basically, the way we achieved this is by drawing a force curve and storing the values in a table, then we send the current position of the slider through the table and extract the value to send to the motor that applies an opposing force.”
The team also built their controller on top of a customized Arduino and connect the whole thing by USB. Each part of the controller is covered in Angry Birds themed decor. Even the guts of the thing is housed in a TNT box with Real Plunging Action. The TNT box, by the way, activates each bird´s special powers, be it the speed of the yellow bird, the bomb of the black bird, or the useless egg-laying of the white bird. Not that I´m bitter.
It doesn´t appear as if the CIID team have any plans of selling these things, though given the amount of other Angry Birds licensed merchandise available for parents to buy their iPod Touch-toting children, I´m sure they could make an easy mint if they were able to mass produce this controller.
Credit where credit is due, students Hideaki Matsui and Andrew Spitz are responsible for this project, which they completed in a class on haptics at CIID by Bill Verplank and David Gauthier.
Kids: They really do make the darndest things, don´t they?