SHAPE SHIFTER – A shapely game for the elderly

Introducing “SHAPE SHIFTER”, a tactile and visually stimulating shapes and colours game

SHAPE SHIFTER sports large shaped illuminated tactile buttons and a big illuminated display. The bright and vibrant colours and playful melodies make this an engaging game for all ages.

Shape Shifter

Shape Shifter

Aimed primarily at the elderly and people with cognitive challenges, the current version of the SHAPE SHIFTER sports five games – “Follow Me” (simple and blink), “Memory Pairs”, and “Memory Sequence” (slow and speedy). Similar to the SIMPLER SIMON, the games are accompanied by musical tones and melodies.

The games of the SHAPE SHIFTER are selected upon start-up by pressing one of the shaped buttons. The details of each game are as follows:

  1. TRIANGLE: “Follow Me (simple)” game encourages the player to press the randomly illuminated button. In this  simplest version of the game, the button to be pressed remains illuminated until pressed
  2. CROSS: “Follow Me (flash)” is a slightly more challenging variant of the game as it just flashes the colour that is to be pressed.
  3. CIRCLE: “Memory Pairs” game shows a sequence of two random buttons, that encourages the user to press the correct buttons in the same sequence.
  4. PLUS: “Memory Sequence (slow)” game encourages the player to replay a random sequence of illuminated buttons. After each successful replay, the sequence is repeated slowly and lengthened by one. This game repeats the sequence slowly allowing plenty of time for the user to see and hear each button of the sequence.
  5. SQUARE: “Memory Sequence (fast)” game is for more advanced Memory Sequence game players, as the speed of the sequence increases with the length of the sequence.

For each of the games, play is accompanied with button tones and action melodies that include initial start-up; game selection, level start, level completion, and player error.

The game to be played is selected after the power-up routine by pressing on one of the five shaped illuminated buttons.

Game play encourages the player to stay engaged through multiple modes of feedback. Successful completion of each game level is accompanied by a rousing melody and the length of the number of rounds in the level is incremented. In addition, the tone of each button is also raised one semitone to indicate that the player is playing a progressively harder round. Successful completion of 10 rounds advances the player to the next SHAPE SHIFTER game.

More images to come…

 

CORONA TOUCH: Touch activated light display

Introducing the “CORONA TOUCH” interactive light display.

Based on ongoing developments for the elderly and/or people with cognitive challenges, CORONA TOUCH is a touch-activated light machine that creates a wide range of beautifully animated and soothing light patterns that emanate from its core.

Corona Touch

Corona Touch

Here are a few movies (care of Shirley Lee) of the CORONA TOUCH in operation

  1. CoronaTouch-v07
  2. CoronaTouch-v03
  3. CoronaTouch-v04
  4. CoronaTouch-v06
  5. CoronaTouch-v12
  6. CoronaTouch-v09
  7. CoronaTouch-v10
  8. CoronaTouch-v11

According to Wikipedia, “A corona (Latin, ‘crown’) is an aura of plasma that surrounds the sun and other stars… ” noting that “… the high temperature of the Sun’s corona gives it unusual spectral features”.  This is fitting for this little machine, as everyone who has played with CORONA TOUCH has been enthralled and attracted by its vivid colours and animated patterns.

Corona Touch

Corona Touch: the touch-activated light pattern machine

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The SIMPLER SIMON: Update

Introducing “The SIMPLER SIMON”, a fun game for seniors based on the original “Simon” 70’s game.

Simpler Simon

Simpler Simon

Aimed primarily at the elderly and people with cognitive challenges, the current version of the SIMPLER SIMON sports three basic games – “Follow Me” (simple and blink), “Memory Pairs”, and “Memory Sequence”.

Large tactile buttons, vibrant bright colours and playful melodies make this an engaging game for all ages.

Here, the SIMPLER SIMON basic “Memory Sequence” game is being played.

Based on feedback from field testing, the latest revision of the SIMPLER SIMON includes more rounded and textured (numbered) buttons, and baffling to reduce light bleed between adjacent buttons. Additional software changes have increased the range of tones used for the buttons, provided longer intervals between successive game plays, and added the “Memory Pair” game.

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Elemental Clock

Simply put, the Elemental Clock uses three fundamental shapes – the square, triangle and circle – to display the current time in hours, minutes and seconds.

Elemental Clock

Elemental Clock: measuring 50cm x 16cm, displaying hours (square), minutes (triangle) and seconds (circle)

The design breaks apart the displayed elements of the common clock face, and repackages the “hands” into separate, distinct, and yet connected, representations of the measurement of time.

Elemental Clock

Elemental Clock:  under the watchful eye of the seconds circle, minutes traverse the three sides of the triangle, while the hours advance as each facet of the triangle is illuminated.

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MIDI Hand Drum: Finally Completed

MIDI Drum: Finally Enclosed

Finally, the completion of the MIDI Hand Drum, sporting its brand new CNC’ed enclosure. Here are a couple of videos where I am attempting to hold the camera and carry a beat! To be bettered!

MIDI Hand Drum

MIDI Hand Drum: Newly encased, showing right (and left) hand finger “pads”.

The initial MIDI Hand Drum project had been built primarily for my son, Samuel, who plays the drums (and very well, I may add!).  Although he had a full drum kit, this was designed so that he could play the drum sounds using his fingers on my Roland RD700 keyboard (using a MIDI interface). While the initial design worked well, I never got round to taking it off the breadboard and encasing it.

So, imagine my horror when I found several of my “prototype” MIDI designs had been “carefully” put aside for relegation to the workshop!   Arggg.  Shock. Horror!

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Sands Of Time

Introducing my latest work-in-progress: The Sands of Time

This is a project inspired by a piece of articulated artwork by Bruce Shapiro, called “Sisyphus Machine“, described as… “an elaborate kinetic drawing machine that uses magnets to drag rolling steel marbles through a thin layer of sand to create complicated mandala-like patterns”. I found the the patterns to be mesmerizing. I felt I could create something along the same lines to experiment with dynamically changing patterns, and – in keeping with my clock making and fascination with time- that would allow the ephemeral praxis of writing time in the sand….

UPDATE: 9 June 2016: My first sand pattern with “Sands of Time

The software traces a simple helical pattern that traverses the centre of the drawing surface so the final design shows two spirals… Neat huh!

Sands Of Time

Sands Of Time: my first sand drawing.. Here, the ball is making a pair of intersecting spirals.

A new top lip – made of 6 identical sections of alder that I shaped on my CNC machine – captures an acrylic drawing surface that is covered in a thin layer of finely ground sand. The magnetic coupling between the carriage’s magnets and the 12mm steel ball bearing is lower than expected so that the friction of the sand is sometimes too great and the ball loses connection. The gap that separates the magnet from the ball is slightly over 3/8″ – 1/4″ ply (as the top support) and 1/8″ acrylic – and this appears too great to ensure a really strong magnetic coupling. So, rather than redesigning the top to reduce this thickness, I shall try out a spherical rare-earth magnet, rather than the current steel ball bearing.

Here, a small thrust bearing is magnetically coupled to the carriage of the carousel, which is rotating underneath a temporary sheet of acrylic. In the completed design, a thin layer of fine sand will sit atop the acrylic and a ball bearing will be moved through it. Articulation of the carriage and carousel will allow for the tracing of “mandala-like” patterns.

In this clip, the carriage and carousel can be seen operating together under the control of separate stepper motors. The unique design (all mine!) places the carriage servo at the absolute centre of the carousel’s rotation. This geometry allows completely independent motion of the carriage and carousel. In other words, the carousel can rotate freely in any direction while the carriage can traverse the carousel’s diameter, and both can operate completely independently.

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CNC – Project Enclosures

With the help of the founders of the Make613 Group (Doug, Dave, Darcy and Justin), I have been learning a couple of simple CAD (Computer-Aided Design) and CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing) tools to design and fabricate enclosures and other pieces for my most recent projects. The latest CNC’ed enclosure – seen below – does double duty as a 2-part case for my  Weatherman and LifeTime Clock projects.

Weatherman

Weatherman

LifeTime

LifeTime Clock

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