And the Makers gonna make, make, make, make, make. Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake!
When it comes to education, learning can be much more engaging with just a little bit of entertainment and gamification. Knowing this, Arkadi Rafalovich has developed an interactive art exhibit that is based on his earlier Smart Juggling Balls project along with a 3D-printed fixture embedded with several RGB LEDs. Dubbed ShakeIt, this Hackaday Prize entry is intended to demonstrate to kids how colors are mixed and then reward them with a fun-filled light game.
The system is comprised of three embedded balls and the light fixture. Each of the juggling spheres are equipped with an Arduino Pro Mini (ATmega328), a 6-DOF sensor, a few addressable LEDs and a LiPo battery. An external magnet activates a reed switch inside the balls and triggers them into action. As for ShakeIt’s light fixtures, these consist of an Arduino Nano (ATmega328), an NRF24L01+ with SMA antenna, a buck converter, 74 addressable LEDs, a Bluetooth module, along with some capacitors, a 3.3V regulator and a Diode 3A for reverse voltage protection.
The fixture connects to an accompanying smartphone app via Bluetooth, allowing it to be utilized as an interface and to adjust the various modes. A built-in accelerometer is tasked with measuring hard a ball is being shaken, while an NRF module handles the communication with the balls. Rafalovich also wrote some code for the system, which is designed to interact with up to 15 small balls at once, mixing up their colors and generating new hues. For this demonstration, however, only three were used.
The real fun starts when the interactive game mode is enabled, though. Rather than simply combining the light, the fixture generates patterns based on how strong the balls are shaken (hence the name of the project). First each kid is given a smart ball, each with a predefined color (red, green or blue). Once the sphere is jiggled, the light inside the ball becomes stronger. Each of the players then battle it out to see who can get their color to fill up the sphere completely until only one color remains. That person is declared the winner.
Not only does ShakeIt make for a great learning tool, it seems like it can be one heck of a party game. Want one of your own? Head over to its Hackaday.io page here to get started. Otherwise, watch the video below to see some grownups have a little fun.