Statera-64

The open-source balance board

This project is still under development and the goal was to present it to the main public at the Commodore meeting in Maarssen oct 2020, unfortunatley, due to the COVID-19 situation all meetings are cancelled and since there wasn't any clearity on when a new meeting would be possible, development was stalled and focus shifted towards other projects. It is now uncertian when the release data will be. The project isn't cancelled, it simply is too much fun and way to far developed to abandon it.

What is it?

The word "Statera" is Latin for balance and the number "64" refers to the Commodore 64. So you may draw the conclusion that this project is for retro computing purposes and stop reading. But, that's not the whole story behind the Statera-64. Because this device is based around a microcontroller that has native USB capabilities it means that it can also be connected to your PC or anything else that has a USB port. So this opens up a whole new world of controlling existing games and programs or new programs that are specifically written for use with this board. Now this device can detect how it is connected, if it is connected to an old computer it will go into retro mode and if it detects a USB connection, it will act like a USB HID device, like a mouse or game controller.

How it all started:

A long time ago, visiting the local thrift store, I found three Wii-balance-boards. And instantly the tinkerer in me was inspired, because these boards were cheap and looked clean enough to be functional, so I bought them all. I seemed like a good idea. Because I'm already slightly familiar with the ESP32, which has Bluetooth, so at that time it seemed to be possible to use this controller for connecting these balance boards the C64. To simulate paddles, so that I could play pong using balance boards. Unfortunately, the whole Bluetooth concept wasn't my cup of tea. So I abandoned that idea. But the seed was planted in my mind, Bluetooth or not, this could be a very fun project.


Regarding the Statera-64 retro computing:
The idea behind this project is to be a fully open-source balance board that is completely compatible with all sorts of existing games for the Commodore 64 computer. It certainly will enrich the gaming experience of existing games and for some games it will even dramatically improve the play-ability. But most of all... it will be fun. If you operate in paddle mode, you can connect up to four Statera-64 devices to a Commodore 64 computer, just imagine the fun you'll have on parties.
This project is a combination between the joy board of the 80's and the Wii balance board of the past decade. Meaning that the Statera-64 is a very sophisticated and sensitive measuring device that is also able to generate the signals of a joystick, a paddle or even a 1351 mouse, allowing it to act as a controller. Meaning that it can interface directly to your retro computer like the Commodore VIC-20, C64, C16/+4, C128. But technically speaking, it can connect to any other computer with an Atari compatible joystick connector (although the timing for the paddle signals might need to be adjusted for that specific system). This balance board does not have any switches, so it doesn't make any noise when you use it.

Regarding the Statera-64 modern computing:
(this is still under development, I'm concentrating on the retro computing part first)