OK, I'll take that as a +1.
Yep. I'm for real - that's why I'm using my real name and my LinkedIn profile.
Here's a pic of the seedy underbelly. Not pretty, but it works. I would not be here today if it weren't for zip ties and hot glue.
Just above the orange button where a bunch of red wires congregate is a Teensy microcrontroller programmed as a USB keyboard. It's so small you wouldn't know it was there from the photo alone. It converts digital inputs into simultaneous keystrokes. So that's how the buttons and joysticks work.
The trackballs use upside-down mice guts. The Teensy and and mice go through a USB hub so the controls can be attached to a computer with just one cable. Oh, and no extra power required - all powered by your computer's USB.
All the online instructions for building your own spinner seemed expensive and overly complicated, so I came up with my own design that "somehow" converts a 360░ spinner position to an analog voltage, which is also converted to keystrokes by the Teensy. (details secret, for now)
In the middle of the pic is the optional Raspberry Pi. There Raspberry Pi does require power, so in this case I use a USB hub with its own power. The Pi has a PiPlay image , so it's capable of playing more than just MAME - but to be honest I've been so busy playing MAME that I haven't even touched the other emulators.
But in the end, this control panel is really just a USB keyboard with a couple of mice, so it should be usable with almost any computer game. Verified to work with Minecraft by my son.
A few limitations - there are no mouse clicks (yet), and to change which keystrokes are mapped to which inputs requires a change in the Teensy code (for now).
As an exercise to the observer, see if you can guess what the actual box (container) is made from. (clue is in both photos)
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