Inventor Portrait: James Delaney

June 11, 2008

The first in an ongoing series of inventor portraits.

Inventor: James Delaney
Invention: Trampoline Sensor MK II
Patent: Pending

James Delaney built his video game controller prototype out of a trampoline, LEGOs, and a few electronic components. Here is James with his invention. Scroll down to see video of the Trampoline Sensor MK II in action.

The trampoline is sensitive to even slight movements, and James has written a few programs to demonstrate its capabilities. For example, he demonstrates how it can be used to control a character walking, running, and jumping. It can be used to control a Space Invaders style game (lean to stear, and jump to shoot). It’s quite fun. Here’s a video of the trampoline in action:

Here’s what James had to say about the invention:

“My wife, Nyssa, asked me to get her a mini trampoline as a gift. After about a week of using it, she said it was getting boring. Then she asked if it could be hooked up to a video game. I figured that this would be easy. It turned out to be a little harder than I imagined. The biggest obstacle was finding one sensor that would be capable of detecting running, jumping, bouncing, leaning, and tapping on the rebounding surface. I tried many different sensors, including accelerometers and sonar sensors before deciding to make a sensor using potentiometers. The accelerometer would have been my second choice of sensor but it required too much signal processing to get usable data during trampoline use. The next problem was interpreting the data from the sensors during each of the states I wanted to detect. This was solved by hours of experimentation, calibration and analyzing data.”

James’ website: UnfocusedBrain.com