What do you do with your old Game Boy? Some of us try and boot it up for the first time in decades, while others look at this brick that we played with in our childhood and make something of it.
For somebody who goes by the name Gautier Hattenberger, the first thing that came to mind was, “can I fly a drone with this?” Also, where was his Mario Bros. cartridge? It was here a second ago.
Hattenberger posted his plans on the Paparazzi UAV Blog, where he said that it wasn’t so simple as hooking up the Game Boy to his WiFi-based drone.
The fun with playing around with old Game Boys and other hardware is that much of the documentation is available online, allowing for a community that creates music and software on the old devices. However, for those like Hattenberger, who wanted to try something new, there’s a lot that he had to work around. The classic Game Boy especially is a challenge, since the documentation is incomplete, leaving enthusiasts to fill in the blanks.
To turn his Game Boy into a flight controller, he turned the Game Link into a USB using a Arduino (an open-source electronic platform) and FTDI semiconductor combination. That allowed it to hook up with his laptop and the drone software.
The code is over at GitHub if you want to take a look. For those without the technical skill (or the time, let’s be honest) to put something like this together, it’s just cool to watch. It shows you can teach an old dog new tricks.