InfraBaby Update

SpindleyQ's picture

So, the working name for my homebrew videogame system for infants is now InfraBaby. If anyone has any better suggestions, I would love to hear them.

Though I can't test it until my IR receiver arrives in the mail, I've built the core of the system. I've got a small Python program that reads data from LIRC, and, based on a configuration object, presses keys in Windows. Obviously I've still got some work to do to discover what codes the V.Smile emits, but I'm hoping that'll end up being relatively straightforward.

Now, if everyone was happy writing python code to configure their games, and starting up three programs whenever they wanted their baby to play a game, I'd be done. But no -- I'm coming to the realization that I've got a frontend to write, which lets you set up configurations for your games, and has one-click (or one-press-the-orange-circle) launching of games. I'm really, really itching to give the program a try, but at least a proper user interface will give me something to do while I wait for the damn sensor to come.


snapman's picture

Before we can make software for it...

We need a standard understanding of the interface, first. Since you have the physical product, let me know if these mappings are correct:

Primary Buttons: Yellow Star, Blue Triangle, Orange Circle, Green Square, Red Heart
[YS, BT, OC, GS, RH] or [Y, B, O, G, R]

Menu Button: White Cloud
[WC] or [W]

Looks like a volume slider on the top. And is that a trackball on the right?

SpindleyQ's picture

Mostly right. The slider at

Mostly right. The slider at the top has three distinct settings, and is used for selecting different modes (corresponding roughly to age group). There is also a small button above that marked "exit" that's difficult for babies to hit, and is used as a "go back" button. The "trackball" does spin "vertically", but I don't yet know if it gives off different signals depending on which way it goes. There's also a signal given off when you turn the power off, if you want to get into any Sega Genesis X-Men shenanigans.

The bottom two "buttons" are generally not used for targeted interaction, as they're the easiest to hit accidentally; they're mostly used to make funny noises and random things flash on the screen. Imagine a small child crawling on top of the buttons at random, because that totally happens in addition to banging specific buttons. Of course, that's only a guideline -- especially if it turns out that we can tell which direction the trackball is moving.

GoreCore's picture

What "games" can run this

What "games" can run this toy? I mean, are those only buttons making some funny noise + some animals on the screen, or something more?

SpindleyQ's picture

It's a little bit better

It's a little bit better than funny noises with animals, but honestly not by very much. There are fifteen "games" on every "smartridge" (oh god it burns to type that word), sorted into three groups of five by age group. Each activity is supposed to teach something, like numbers, or shapes, or colours, or baby sign language (every game made for this particular system has to have a baby sign language module). Basically what it amounts to is that the baby hits the star, and it says, "Star!" and a star shows up on the screen.

One of the most infuriating ones is a module that's supposed to teach him the different words for how animals move. So he hits a button and it says, "the fish swims!", and the fish swims around a bit. And while that animation's playing, the buttons change the colour of the flowers rather than make anything interesting happen, which is kind of confusing. The worst part, though, is that all of the animals are moving, including an elephant wearing a fez walking around on two legs.