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By RichardS
#43210 User

This Comicon my friends and I are going to be playing a few rounds of "Hide and Seek" in the main convention hall. This is a packed arena with over 10,000 people at any given time. Previous years we used portable hotspots and tracked each other using signal strength. This year we'll be using a collection of Fallout Pip-Boy repicas powered by ESP8266s!

The (trademark-dodgingly entitled) Wip-Boy is an ESP-12e which acts as both a beacon and the signal strength metre. It is connected to an ST7735 to display the results and uses a potentiometer on the ADC and a GPIO button for user control/input. To add additional scavenger-hunt style gameplay, an MFRC522 has been built into the back so RFID tags can be distributed throughout the convention centre (and stuck on players' backs). These will trigger and complete quests when scanned, allowing for more interactivity and an XP/leveling system. The entire device is powered by a 3.7v Lipo battery which is charged through a built in TP4056 + LM1117 converter for the ESP and housed in a 3d printed model casing. Finally, the device is programmed using the Arduino IDE (with various adafruit and ESP arduino libraries for functionality).

Parts list:
The goal of this project isn't just to make a really cool tracker: it's to make one cheap enough to be easily replicated and given away to all my friends. To that end the parts are all the cheapest I could get off eBay and shipped free via the china packet post to the U.S.A. Here's a complete component run-down (along with pricing):

$2.33: ESP-12e
$3.84: ST7735 1.8" Colour TFT
$0.39: potentiometer
$0.15: shiny knob
$0.12: tact switch, connector wire, resistors
$0.10: piezo buzzer
$0.28: voltage regulator
$0.30: charging board
$1.00: 18650 battery (for all later models. will be external. Internal lipo was $4.00)
$0.40: battery holder (subject to change!)
Total: $8.91

Optional (budget-breaking but awesome) module ideas:

$1.50: TEA5767 FM radio + amplifier (would have problems inside the convention hall though, plus who wants to listen to FM anymore?)
$3.50: WTV020-SD-16P mp3 player + 2GB storage drive (would have a continuously updating "time marker" so you could record some 2-hour-long mp3 "radio stations" then tune into them and they'd be playing different things)
$2.59: RC522 RFID card reader (would let us RFID tag anything to make it interactive with the wip-boy. Sounds like awesome to me)
FREE: SD card reader (wait? If it's free then why not include it? TBH, no point. it's built into the TFT screen but I have no need for an SD card reader on its own. I have enough memory to store the graphics and I don't need to record megs of sensor data)

Pricing on the casing will vary. As I have a printer it was just a couple dollars of filament. I hope to eventually post the final models for free on my website as well as offer them for print on Shapeways.



User avatar
By woodat
#43275 Alrighty, so as it stands, the goal of the project is actually quite simple (I should have written it into the email!): Create all the circuitry and programming necessary for a fun Pip-Boy clone, which can run custom-created games, for less than $12 and buildable by anyone with just soldering iron. To achieve this I'm going for all off-the-shelf parts (no custom circuits or anything you have to buy from me). I'm doing this first to build a bunch as presents for friends, then second as maybe a more general open-platform game system.

As to the project, feel free to ask me anything. I'm also keen to have suggestions on more functionality (as we're still only halfway through coding this I'm still looking for other cool features/games we can do with this). We'll take more, but here are some additional ideas/dreams for the future:

-Build and distribute some subpos nodes to get indoor gps/mapping
-laser tag guns with a second esp which communicates wirelessly with the wipboy
-rfid tag swipecards, give some to each player to let them barter with each other to complete "quests", collectable card game style
-achievement unlocks. Cause who doesn't love these? :)
-have other esps set up as hotspots. When the wipboy enters the hotspot range it acts like a "zone", giving you xp for discovering it, opening quests, maybe damaging you if it's a "radzone", etc.
-have a base station ap they connect to for scorekeeping/leaderboard
-OTA updates (so I dont have to expose the serial port gpios anymore)

As development goes the goal will be to rebuild the codebase once the features are complete as it's a mess currently. While I've just prototyped everything until now, Any "production" release of the code will be more object-ified to make it easier to manage. On top of that, other goals would be to build an optional pcb board to mount all the circuitry on and release the final 3d models for printing along with build tutorials. Everything will be open sourced out.

Ooh, and the power boards are a tp4056 and an ams1117. Forgot to put that in the email.