Wallclock 4.0 - Portable Project Natal

ps2 hackamatic eyetoy game
So every week or so I go to my junk box and look through the parts I’m not using. I think to myself, “Hunter, do you need this or is it taking up space?”. The answer is always “taking up space”, hence my penchant for soldering (taping, hot gluing, welding) things together. This week, it was a slim ps2. Taking the wallclock (microscope edition) apart, I stripped it of a couple of printed circuits (don’t reeeeaaaly need that last row of keys do we?). A disassembly of a ps2 eyetoy camera revealed a tightly integrated circuit board with a sharp L angle. For those of you who have never played eyetoy, it’s essentially project Natal with a low resolution webcam. Fantastically fun at parties, not particularly lasting for single player.

Removing the ps2 slim casing revealed a tightly integrated mobo, not a lot of room to fit things in, but a couple of good screw-points for attaching the new screen. From there things came together reasonably well. The eyetoy camera has 2 extra LED lights and a light sensor module that needed to be front-facing. Using a lighter from a coworker, I heated up a large nail and poked a couple of holes opposite the original videophone bezel. Lucky for me, the eyetoy front and back focal lenses attach seperately and I was able to connect them through the front camera and secure it tightly with some superglue. This also lined the camera circuits up l-bracket style, which made for a handy slip-over for the top casing of the ps2. I attached the rest of the videophone circuits together in a vertical sandwich along the back of the ps2 casing. This worked well for two reasons. First, no capacitors are touching, and second it gave me space to feed the extra cabling through (video and usb). It’s a tight fit, but it helps keep the clutter down.

The next hurdle to overcome was the top-heavy nature of the ps2. For optimal camera gaming, the screen needs to be mounted at a slight angle. This allows the player to clearly see themselves on screen and moves the focal length out another 6 inches or so. This really makes a difference to gameplay as the ps2 eyetoy focal range seems to be on the long side, which makes sense if you assume most players will be playing in their living room. I still had the external casing for the ps2 eyecam, which comes with a pretty sturdy rotation mechanism. Removing the bottom portion of the eyetoy case, I superglued it onto the rear bezel. This gave me a rotating L-bracket, but the rear rotation angle was too far. Luckily the former contents of the eyetoy case were affixed by two lower screws. A couple of 2″ screws served as fine spacers for the rear rotation. The rear bezel from the former videophone proved to be an adequately flat base, however the ps2 was still prone to tipping.

A trip to my local IT pro (thanks Justin) proved fruitful. Out of his junk box came a couple of 15 year old Sun 7K drives (a whopping 8 gigabytes apiece!) whose read mechanisms had died many years ago. These 5lb drives proved to be a more than adequate base for the ps2 eyetoy monstrosity, which now gets carted out for parties or office visitors.