Simão Says – Process

1. Idea
A Simon Says-like game, but with a knob instead of buttons. The user has to repeat the sequence of angles, pretty much like a locker.
See this post for previous proposals: https://gabrielmfadt.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/simon-says-style-game-proposals/

2. Precedent
The idea for the game actually came from a locker. I have one at Parsons and every Friday I have to pick up my pComp stuff and open it. That’s why it was my main inspiration for the project.
00_inspiration

3. Development
3.a. Board Prototype
First, I assembled the circuit on the breadboard, to check all components, code, timing and game dynamics.

3.b. Enclosure Prototype
After searching for a box that would fit in my project, I decided to build one myself. I began by making a cardboard prototype to check the ideal dimensions.
One problem I had so far was where to put the knob and the LEDs. My first idea was to put them both facing the user. But that could not work well if the user is above it.
By playing with the cardboard prototype I realized that I could solve the problem and stick with my previous idea. I just had to change the box angle, so it could face the user:
01_cardboard

3.c. Box Plan
Based on the cardboard prototype, I drew the final box plan using Adobe Illustrator:
02_ai

3.d. Painting
I painted the wooden sheets using a surface preparation plaster and acrylic paint:
03_paint
Note: no, neither the inclination nor the color were inspired by the solder stations we have at the pComp lab!

3.e. Box Cutting
I used a laser cutter to make the box pieces and drawings. I had a non-painted backup sheet and I used it to check if everything was ok first:
04_laser_cutter

3.f. Wiring
I assembled all parts in the main face first — wiring, soldering and then checking with the Arduino board. Only after that I finished assembling the box, with superglue.
05_wiring

06_wiring_02

4. Conclusion
The hardest part was definitely thinking about the enclosure. I had no idea from where to start. I didn’t know any material possibilities, and a I struggle with that for a long time. I didn’t know for sure if I would use a found box or build my own enclosure.
Soldering and assembling was hard as well. I’ve never done this before, so I asked a lot of friends for help. I didn’t have all the tools I needed — tape, hot glue — and, in the end, I wasn’t satisfied with the result. I may have damaged my potentiometer along the process, too. Even so, I’m glad that the final toy works.

The code was the easiest part. Though I’ve had some challenges along the way, like setting a timer instead of using delay, it wasn’t that difficult.
Understanding the circuit was also pretty easy. I think that we have a good basis of code and basic circuits in this class.

Turns out that building the enclosure wasn’t as hard as I thought. I’m glad I pushed myself into that. It led me to learn more about building physical things, as well as some practical stuff, like using the laser cutter.
Besides, that was first time I went to a physical store to search for electronic supplies. So, another surprise was that I liked it and it was very helpful. I ended up finding a red/green LED that fitted perfect in my project. Before that, I didn’t even know that it existed.

5. A Final Note
Except for the group assignments, this was the first collaborative project I’ve made at Parsons. Since there was a lot of things that I had no idea about how to do, I had to stay in the school and ask a lot of people for help:
– thanks Brendan Byrne for the enclosure tips and for giving Simão a nose!
– thanks Daniel Mastretta for the laser cutter lessons.
– thanks Ayodamola Okunseinde and Gabor for the helping with the solder.

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