Casco Bay Studios presents: Electro Toy Co., LLC! ETC is a custom toy company that specializes in crafting custom-made toys, with an electronic twist. Many of our products feature Arduinos or Raspberry Pi microcontrollers.
I started experimenting with Arduino a few years ago. These little microcontrollers are super easy to learn and really fun to experiment with. Here are a couple of gadgets I made.
Mission Control Center
Retro Gaming Madness
In addition to making my own original gadgets, I also started playing around with the Raspberry Pi single board computer.
These are little circuit boards with a whole computer packed on them. You can make all kinds of things with these guys, but for me the most important function is to load them with THOUSANDS of old video games and make little arcades. Here are a few examples.
Super Arcade Battle Station
This is the big daddy of my homemade arcades. It’s just like an old arcade machine, but it fits on the table. It has a 10″ screen and a lighted marquee, as well as 6 action buttons and Start and Select.
The back panel opens up to reveal all the electro bits (and a fair amount of duct tape). Also inside is a flexible USB keyboard that can turn this arcade into a desktop computer! You can access the Raspberry Pi’s USB ports via a hole on the side to plug in a mouse, or USB-controlled beer cooler.
RetroPie Tactical Field Unit
This is a fully portable gaming station, packed in a water- and air-tight case. If your sailboat sinks and you’re stuck in a life raft for three weeks? You’re going to want this unit.
It has 2 game controllers, a speaker, a big battery pack, and a 10″ touch screen. I even put a Bluetooth keyboard in the case, so you can switch from playing games and use the unit as a laptop computer, complete with wireless internet*.
(*Internet may not work in life rafts)
Game Boy Zero
Ah, the infamous Game Boy Zero. This was a very challenging project powered by the Raspberry Pi Zero W, which is an even smaller version of the Raspberry Pi computer.
I modified a Game Boy shell and packed it with extra buttons, a 3.5″ color screen, and a rechargeable battery. There is lots of information out there on how to build these, but it’s not easy!