Hacker turns keyboard backlight into video game display

Cooler Master's QuickFire Rapid-i keyboard has an ARM-based processor that powers a handful of neat backlighting options, including per-key illumination and a light-as-you-type effect with an optional decay. But that's nothing compared to what a member of the Mechanical Keyboards subreddit pulled off with a little hacking. A user by the name of Spritetm figured out how to play Snake, a classic arcade game from the 70s, using the backlighting as a display:

The man behind the hack, Jeroen Domburg, has also taken the keyboard's actuation illumination to the next level:

Domburg is evidently controlling the LEDs over USB, and he promises to share more details in an article on SpritesMods.com. The site is filled with cool hacks and hardware projects—plus accompanying source code. Can someone please send this guy one of Corsair's Vengeance RGB keyboards? His talents deserve a 24-bit palette.

Comments closed
    • just brew it!
    • 8 years ago

    A Snake anecdote…

    One of the first programs I wrote for the IBM PC (circa mid-1980s) was a version of Snake I did to teach myself how to do CGA graphics in C. I left copies of it on a few of the PCs at the place I worked at the time (GTE Communications Systems, in Northlake IL).

    Fast forward about 5 years (2 jobs later), and I’m describing the program to a co-worker… and he says “wait, I think I’ve played that version!” Next day he brings in a copy on a floppy disk. It’s my program! He claimed he’d picked it up off of a lab PC at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (where he had been a student).

    To this day I have no idea how it made its way from an office in a Chicago suburb to UIUC (150 miles away) and back again. Keep in mind that this was pre-Internet! Someone must have carried a copy home from GTE on a floppy and given it to his kid, who in turn took it to school and installed it on the lab PCs… where it was found, copied, and carried back up to the Chicago area by my co-worker-to-be!

    • jihadjoe
    • 8 years ago

    Soft-body Tetris:
    [url<]http://vimeo.com/103050125[/url<] Sauce: [url<]http://nikomedia.at/[/url<]

    • jihadjoe
    • 8 years ago

    Wait till you see my Geocities site! Blinkin marquees all the way!

    • juzz86
    • 8 years ago

    Not to mention his library of other cool things. Notably, a 3D printer to print designs in jelly shots. This man wins.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 8 years ago

    So Cooler Master. How long you gonna wait till you hire him to make your keyboards more interesting, hm?

    • Milo Burke
    • 8 years ago

    I, um … no.

    • sweatshopking
    • 8 years ago

    somebody needs to make a tetris game where the pieces are genitals. THAT’S A GAME I’D PLAY.

    • fhohj
    • 8 years ago

    That site is a breath of fresh air on the internet.

    There’s a menu. There’s a menu!

    It’s gently coloured!

    The type face isn’t 22pt!

    On the internet, you usually get wow-super-modern bs or you get little more than a background colour with some text on it. But this is great.

    There’s no web 2.0 bank of social buttons. There’s a frigging RSS button front and centre! Is it ironic? I’d almost believe it’s ironic. Even if it is not I still love it.

    Nice website that he has put together.

    • Milo Burke
    • 8 years ago

    Someone needs to make a game where the Tetris pieces shatter on impact.

    • UnfriendlyFire
    • 8 years ago

    I disagree, Tetris with a physics engine is the most realistic: [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaFzw_2vN7E[/url<] (Hint: Instead of having just 90 degree turns, now you can orient the pieces in any angle. And there's a slight delay in rotating the pieces)

    • TwistedKestrel
    • 8 years ago

    What I don’t get is why people have done barely anything with the LGS APIs out there. Of course they don’t have anything close to the level of control necessary to make something like the above hack possible, but the lighting API is pretty simple & straightforward. The ARX Control API is semi-useful I guess (I’m not exactly sure how much work it would save you over writing a second screen app yourself from scratch), but at least it’s more or less phone-agnostic and I have not seen a single game or application out there use it.

    In fact, while I really appreciate that Logitech put these APIs out there, maybe they should save themselves the effort if nobody uses them?

    • DragonDaddyBear
    • 8 years ago

    They need to give this guy some money and sell that as a real feature of the gamer, er, game, board.

    • tay
    • 8 years ago

    The ripple effects near the end of the 2nd video are fantastic

    • JosiahBradley
    • 8 years ago

    Turn that keyboard 90° and play the most realistic version of Tetris™.

    • drfish
    • 8 years ago

    That’s pretty freakin’ cool!

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