Spaceship Computer Controller

Watching an old anime it occurred to me that it would be nice to be able to interact with a real computer using a controller inspired by those found on the future spaceships in such works of fiction. Since I don't have a full room for a full scale reproduction, I thought that it could be practical to build a controller with just a couple of knobs and buttons, able to send a simple stream of bytes to an USB tty on a linux system.

It seemed to me that simple and somewhat usable controller could use two knobs with 16 positions each to enter a single byte and a button to send the byte to the computer. For both practical and aestetical reasons, I thought that it could be better to have two buttons, so I changed a little the user interface to use both. Also, such controller wouldn't be complete without a few blinking lights: I've decided to put them in the buttons and allow the whole device to work in "ooh, shiny"-mode even without a computer.

Builing the thing

Right now I've only done some test of the electronics and software, I will add more informations in the future.




User Interface

Nerd Achievements

Demonstrating the controller by printing a stream of hex values on a computer screen is fine and well, but I'd like to put it to some nerdish-cool use.

This is a list of ideas that I've either tried or planned to do; feel free to contact me with improvements, comments and additional usages.

Blind ed

Piping the SCC stream to ed, write a few lines in a complete ed session and save it to file. Hint: the command:

iconv -f UCS2 -t UTF-8

may be useful to send something that ed is likely to understand.

Unicode madness

Write a small sentence in some esoteric scripts sending something resembling UCS-2 to the SCC stream. Bonus points if the sentence actually means something. Additional bonus points if the script lies in the CSUR area.

Send a comment: unless requested otherwise I may add it, or some extract, to this page.

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