Time was when the Game Boy Classic’s primary use was to evolve Pokémon. Well, we have smartphones and the Nintendo 3DS (and maybe the NX?) for that now, but that doesn’t mean the Game Boy has outlived its usefulness. Like Pokémon, it just needs an evolution. The old handheld was turned into a Drone controller by a clever DIY-er with just a few extra parts, a little coding know-how, and the drone piloting software.
On the Paparazzi UAV Blog, Gautier Hattenberger posted a video of himself flying a drone using the Game Boy buttons and D-pad, along with a brief explanation of how he made it happen. The trickiest part is communicating the button presses on the Game Boy to the drone as input — it doesn’t help that the Game Boy wasn’t exactly known for its wireless connectivity. And, sadly, Hattenberger’s version isn’t, either — he still used a USB connection to a laptop running the drone piloting software, which was connected to the drone over a Wi-Fi connection. But, just translating those button presses into drone instructions is no easy feat.
To do it, Hattenberger grabbed an Arduino board and an Ftdi Usb Board. The Arduino board is a favorite with DIY-ers — it’s like a tiny computer that can take a number of inputs from sensors or controllers. Similar boards are used as the basis for sensor-filled wearables, but this one was hooked up to the Game Boy’s hardware to use its physical controls. After a little coding to translate the button presses into drone instructions, the FTDI USB board passed along those instructions to the laptop, which sent them out to the drone. The result? The best use for an old Game Boy in decades.
This story was originally published at This Guy Transformed His Game Boy Into a Drone Controller