Prototyping the Hardware

Those of you following @wetwareworks on Twitter or Instagram have probably noticed the progress on the hardware. Here’s a short update on what has been done recently.

Hardware enclosure

Over the course of the past few weeks a first prototype of the Euglena Arcade emerged. The final aim is to make a device that really looks and feels like it belongs in an arcade. The current design is nowhere near that grant vision. Instead it focuses on keeping the parts together into one piece. When building a device that is really the first step that you need to take. Getting the dimensions right and aligning everything up is a hard thing to get right in a first go already. And once you’ve got the thing assembled and can hold it in your hand, new ideas on usability pop up.

For this first prototype the designs have been made in SketchUp. The benefit of SketchUp is that enables fast drawing and adjusting. The major downside is that it is not open source software and it has no parametric design features whatsoever. That problem almost killed the first production round, when the triplex sheet turned out to be 3 mm thick instead of 3.6 mm as it was labelled in the store. After a quick redraw the design was adjusted and with the help of a BCN 3D lasercutter the first set of parts were assembled.

Euglena Arcade prototype
Euglena Arcade prototype

In this prototype we made sure all parts are aligned to a central axis. The plug for the PS2 controller goes in at the front and the microscope slide with the Euglena goes on top. By simply clamping the stand of the microscope in between three sheets it is kept into place. For a first prototype it doesn’t look that bad, right?

Electronic PS2 Controller Arduino interface

Inside of the box there is plenty of room for the electronics. In our next blog you’ll get to see what it looks like. Here’s a quick highlight of the most difficult step: getting a cable to make the PS2 Controller interface with the Arduino. According to the blog on this topic by PS2-Arduino-hero Bill Porter back in 2010 an off-the-shelve product by Lynxmotion should be for sale. Nowadays these are no longer available. Lynxmotion still sells PS2 Connector Breakout Boards, but 10 bucks for a connector is pretty expensive. Instead, we decided to make our own “Breakout Cable”, but simply stripping a PS2 extension cable and a set of DuPont jump wires. Behold: the WetWareWorks PS2 Breakout Cable is born!

Male Female Dupont Wires
Male Female Dupont Wires, plus
PlayStation 2 Controller Extension Cable
PlayStation 2 Controller Extension Cable, makes:
PS2 Breakout Cable
PS2 Breakout Cable