Tag Archives: arduino

SPEEDY SIMON – The Memory Game in a Rush

Introducing SPEEDY SIMON, the sequence memory game that never slows down!

Yes… SPEEDY SIMON is what happens when you are stuffed up with a cold, feeling like crap, have a CNC machine, and some time on your hands (excuse the pun!) And no, this is not a clock!

Bright and colourful lights accompanied by musical notes for each button and melodies for game action make this a fun and fast game for solo or group play.

Speedy SImon

Speedy Simon: 120mm diameter enclosure sporting large illuminated buttons and a reset button

Based on the software that I wrote for the “SIMPLER SIMON” game, this memory sequence game takes no prisoners. The game play is fast and furious – each successful round increments the memory sequence by one and speeds up the display sequence.

You’ve got to be fast and alert to master this little puppy!  (it’s the cold medication, officer)

Speedy SImon

Speedy Simon: caught in the act between games (both yellow and blue buttons are illuminated)

Built into a 4 layer HDPE enclosure, SPEEDY SIMON sports 5 large illuminated buttons with an additional restart button in its centre. An Arduino Nano holds the software for game play while a a small switching regulator provides a stable 5V supply from any 6 – 9V DC “wall-wart”.

And like all good games, this is quick to learn, yet , hard to master!


AURORA WAVE: Interactive light display

Introducing AURORA WAVE, another member of the interactive light display devices for the elderly and people with cognitive challenges. AURORA WAVE is a movement-activated light device that creates a wide range of beautifully animated and soothing light patterns that appear to emanate from its core.


AURORA WAVE: (left) shown alongside the CORONA WAVE product

AURORA WAVE: (left) shown alongside the CORONA WAVE product

AURORA WAVE: (right) shown with CORONA WAVE

AURORA WAVE (left) shown alongside the CORONA WAVE product

AURORA WAVE: (left) shown cycling through one of the 9 animated light patterns

Here are some comments from a practitioner using the AURORA WAVE with residents of a long-term care facility:

“Wow!  What a powerful glow from all the LEDs.  The glow reflects off the wall mirrors and provides enough light for the whole room.  I used the AURORA WAVE with three of my residents in the Snoezelen room.  These are some of my most challenging residents.  The residents have severe dementia and very low activity tolerance and/or participation.  They did not comprehend touching the surface.  Some have severe contractures in their arms or fingers.  We watched the AURORA WAVE cycle through the various modes on its own and I would bring it closer to their line of vision and change it myself.  I did hand-over-hand action for some.  The AURORA WAVE gives off heat in the middle which was a nice side effect as it helps in arthritic relief.”

Larger than its brother, CORONA WAVE, the AURORA WAVE is 144mm (5.7″) in diameter and creates its light patterns and animations using nearly 100 RGB (red, green, blue) LEDs arranged in 5 consecutive rings.

The AURORA WAVE incorporates a novel infra-red sensor underneath its top surface to allow the user to control the pattern animation speed and brightness without requiring any physical touch. In addition, without user interaction, the brightness of the display is slowly reduced and the animation advanced to the next light pattern. This automatic mode is particularly effective for clients who enjoy the stimulation of the light patterns but are not able to control or interact with the device.

Currently the AURORA WAVE is being trialed with residents of a long-term care facility to test its effectiveness and utility.

Please standby for more information…

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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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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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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