Max Thrun and his team entered the Texas Instruments design challenge with a BeagleBone project that turned out to be a revolutionary device for the gaming enthusiasts. He turned the BeagleBone board into a handheld gaming console that could allow users to play some classics like NES, Doom, Gameboy, GameGear and Sega. It was inspired by the original Nintendo Gameboy but carried much more than that. It featured 1 GHZ ARM Cortex-A8 processor, 512MB of RAM, 2GB storage, headphone jack, as well as ports for USB and Ethernet.
In order to build this amazing console, Max utilized components like 320X240 16 Bit color TFT LCD, analog joystick with 2 thumb buttons, 3D gyro, 3D accelerometer, and a 3D magnetometer. After gathering everything, he went on to design the layout which was quite a complicated and challenging task. For this, he worked on 4 designs, namely LCD3, Audio, Battery, and Interacto. It had two parts- one containing the batteries, which was on the bottom while the other was fitted with the LCD and buttons. Both the parts were stacked using a case made up of various layers.
To build the case, Max prepared a design and used a 3D printer to obtain the parts. Then he arranged those layers one upon the other and made sure that the dimensions were correct. After that, he sent the files for the laser cut out of a matte black delrin.
Finally, he got the layers designed and arranged them to form a case with both the top and bottom parts of the console fitted at the desired position. He locked the case with the help of screws on both sides threaded into hex standoffs. As far as the software is concerned, he
worked upon all the games separately to patch the emulators needed for the project.
When the device was ready, he put the batteries in the slot and it was ready to be used for the gaming. Initially, Max presented it as an open source project and gave away all the designs, schematics and software details on his website rather than putting the board on sale. Later, the product was put for sale in the market and gained a lot of appreciation. The project was ready within 6 weeks of efforts and incurred a total cost of USD 162.
Here is the video uploaded by Max which contains the complete hardware part of the project in detail. Other than this, if you would like to gain in-depth knowledge about the designs and coding, refer to the link given below.
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