Gameboy as robot remote control

Gameboy as robot remote control

Today I checked in with Make: Labs to see what our faithful interns are working on, and Kris Magri showed me the setup pictured above. A while back she was given a Tomy i-Sobot and tasked with hacking it. The thing she liked least about the i-Sobot is how complicated and clunky the remote control is, namely the fact that the action button sequences are long and not easy to remember.

Given that the Gameboy Advance SP can be found on eBay starting at $20, has a great little screen and buttons, and the link cable connection is actually a serial port, she started working on programming it. Kris built onto an existing program (thanks, Avelino Herrera Morales), hooked 4 LEDs to the port, and got the lights to blink. The next step will be to hook it up to the XBee wireless module, hook another onto the i-Sobot, and get to programming. She intends to make graphics to illustrate the i-Sobots movements. Here’s a quick video of her current setup in action:

6 thoughts on “Gameboy as robot remote control

  1. Chris says:

    I’m just curious, would it work with a gameboy advance, just the regular type?

    1. Goli Mohammadi says:

      Indeed it would.

  2. benjamin Paruzynski says:

    Could you use this to control a RC robot or car that would have a camera with witch would be transmitted to the screen itself. I know its along shot but I’ve been looking on the internet for a long time and didn’t find any results even CLOSE! I came across this make article that witch i love Make because of my passion for electronics and such. I would appreciate it if you continued this project so that i may copy. I obviously have a game boy advance and an arduino. i would of course do the such project on my own but i don’t know where to start and there is not much on this document to even do much. if the buttons were mapped to the LEDs i could connect them to my xbee or code it to a IR led to transmit messages to my Mindstorm NXT or any other invention that i choose to be on the receiving end.

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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