— nate rudolph

Play Object

(To see the current iteration of this project check out the video documentation)

This week’s assignment for Major Studio was to create a ‘play object’ that had some sort of game or interactive experience, and included at least 4 buttons, 4 LEDs, and speaker output. My initial thought was to have a 3×3 board with tiles that could be rotated to complete different circuits, each tile space with 2 LEDs. That would allow for either some sort of musical instrument (turning tiles to change tone/rhythm ) or a variant on a Reversi style game.

The small ditches in each tile space would be filled with conductive tape or foil, that would be connected to wires that exited through the hole in the center. I went ahead and drew out the design and sent it to the laser cutter only to find out it would be finished til the end of the week. Which didn’t fit the deadline for the project and brings us to Plan B. (Probably a good thing anyway, as I realized this design technically had 18 switches and 9 LEDs… Little bit of an overkill.)

Since I wouldn’t have the little slot for the tiles to fit nicely in anymore I took some washer and attached wires to them so the tiles would have a large conductive surface to contact.

Not long into this process I realized I wouldn’t actually need 4 contact points for each tile, as one ‘ground’ could serve for both circuits. I also decided to start with a 2×2 grid with this cardboard version til the wood one is ready. Unfortunately I ran out of washers, so for now I’ll be using the bottom corner (with just two) as an on/off switch for the other circuits.

I was pleasantly surprised how clean the top looks. The wires are attached at the bottom of each washer and go through holes in the box. The tiles shown are a few different versions I tried. Each was foil that curves around to the bottom, but doesn’t meet. This allows the current to flow through the LED so I can have a visual confirmation the circuit is actually being made. I’ve installed a speaker as well and tested a few different test runs. I think I’ll have the circuits control the scale of tones in a pattern (up or down), and the others will control the pattern and delays.


I got the masonite board back from the laser cutter. The grooves for the circuit ended up being considerably more shallow than I guessed so I will probably have to replace the foil with conductive tape in this iteration to make things work.

  1. Play Object Video « nate rudolph says: March 1, 20125:32 pm

    […] To see the initial ideas/sketches check out the first entry. […]

  2. SparkFun Beat Box « Making Toys says: March 1, 20125:57 pm

    […] no need to cover everything here, but for anyone that’s super bored here’s a blog entry about some of the process for […]

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