Monthly Archives: May 2011

Simon Springs

Last year at the Detroit Maker Faire, I was chatting with someone from a budding hacker space about how to get people excited about making.  We came to the conclusion that one of the nice aspects of a good maker space was being able to walk in with nothing, and walk out a few hours later with a fun game, toy, or project that kids and adults would enjoy playing with.

On the spur of the moment I thought that having a Simon Says type electronic game, based on the Arduino, would be easy to create, and that since pressure sensitive pads were easily and cheaply available (ie, Harbor Freight’s alarm pads for about $11) then extending the Simon Says game to require whole body movement would be easy.  Further, it would become social if it was a cooperative game that required 4 people to work together to memorize and play back the melody – each person assigned to one pad, and they have to pay attention and jump in order.

I hadn’t acted on that brainstorming session, but now that I need a project for the Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire, I decided to go ahead and do this.

So I have the pressure pads, and will code up a test game soon for this.  Taking one pressure pad apart, it was as simple as I expected, and I think I should be able to instruct people on how to make their own with a freezer ziplock bag as the encasement, some paper, sheets of aluminum foil, and foam.  The Arduino will be the most expensive part, and using the bare bones Arduinos, one could probably keep the total cost of the kit to below $20.

Update:

A successful make and take project was created from this effort, and the game code is now available.