For the practical part of the first day every group gets a package containing a multimeter, a soldering iron, a side cutter, screwdrivers, LEDs, resistors, all kinds of other handy electronic toys the core part of our future projects: the Arduino Uno Board (

Equipped with those essentials tools we are ready for the first practical task of the day. To learn the handling of the multimeter and the soldering iron, we are asked to measure the resistance of different resistors and afterwards solder it to a board.

The afternoon challenge is to hack a USB keyboard and transform it into any game controller we can think of. Every team therefor chooses a computer game and develops its own individual game controller. But first, we need to learn how to hack a USB Keyboard…

Hacking a USB keyboard

There are various descriptions and tutorials, how to hack a keyboard on the Internet. Arduino offers a very nice German tutorial that explains all the steps in detail.

In the following you find a short description of the single steps:

Step 1: Open up the keyboard

First we need to remove all screws at the back and open up the keyboard. To hack a keyboard we need the controller of the keyboard. It is practical to use hot-melt glue to fix the fragile parts (cables) of the controller and make sure that the controller doesn’t get damaged when it is taken out.

At the bottom of the controller plate is a number of connection pads. If there is contact finish on the pads, we need to remove it with a small piece of sandpaper to make sure that we can solder cable tails to it later.

Step 2: Trace the letters back to the pins

Every controller is different. Therefore it is necessary to test the pin configuration. This can be done by using the sheets with the conductive tracings of the keyboard and a multimeter. We connect one end of the multimeter to the key that we want to use and test the ends at the controller for a signal.

Step 3: Attaching wires and

Now we can solder wires to the chosen pins and connect them to any kind of sensor, switch or whatever else you can think of…

Keyboard Hacks of each group:

Group A:

Anna Follmann, Beatrix Vad

Game Controller – Super Cruiser

Super Cruiser is a kind of wheel. You can control a game, for example a Race Game by tilting it to any side. Tilt it to the front to accelerate, tilt right or left to change your direction.

Technically it is realized with three Ball-Switches. The Button on the top works with copper band and a feather which was unter the Enter Key of the keyboard.

Group B:

Johannes Preis, Chadly Marouane

Game Controller – Jump & Run

This Game Controller for Jump & Run games, brings the feeling of Jumping to the real world. Each time the user want the player to jump he has also to jump.

A cardboard lying on the floor detects if the user touches it. If not he is probably jumping. With a stick you can control the running direction of the player.

Group C:

Verena Lerch, Frederick Brudy

Game Controller – Fire Joystick

With the Fire Joystick you can control various games. You can change your direction with tilting the joystick. For firing/hitting or any other game action you can use the button on directly on the joystick or hitting a button on the floor with your foot.

This Controller works also with Ball switches to detect inclination. The Buttons a build with copper band.

Group D:

Maraike Stuffler, Robert Rödler

Game Controller – Kung Fu Fighter

Kung Fu Fighter is a fighting game. The player can hit with his fists or with his feet. Exactly this realizes the Kung Fu Fighter Game Controller. You can hit a cardboard with your fists and one with your feet. To run through the game world you turn a pice of plastic to the right or left.

The cardboard buttons are realized with two peaces of cardboard with a little bit of space in between.On each side there is a copper band. When the two copper bands touch each other the button fires. The controller for running uses ball swiches.

Group E:

Kyun-Jing Park, Lorenz Schauer

Game Controller – Air Joystick

The Air Joystick is like a normal Game-Joystick but without a base. It has a button on the top for interaction with a game.

This Joystick has an very special Button on the top. It uses the conductivity of a human finger. When the user touches the top of the joystick, he closes an electric circuit.

Group F:

Verena Hillgärtner, Bernhard Hering

Music Instrument – Music fist

Music fist is a music interface for a computer. You can use it with a software keyboard that matches keyboard inputs to MIDI signals. By turning your arm around you can change the tone. With the buttons on the top of the instrument you can decide if you play or not.

The selection of the tones is realized with 8 ball switches. Ball switches only switch when there is an inclination modification by 45 degrees. So this tool uses two struggles with 4 ball switches. You can switch between these struggles with the 3 different buttons on the top.