Update: Video Link!


Our instrument is a group of five robots that each have their own percussive abilities. They are 1.) a four armed tap-bot that has four servos that tap tap tap on things, 2.) a two-armed spinning bot that hits things with it’s metal hands to make noise, 3.) a rolling pinecone that makes a rumbling noise on it’s surface, 4.) a shepard with a tap-tapping staff, and 5.) a scraper-bot that uses a bristly brush to scrape things and make noise.

We mounted 4/5 of them on a turning lazy susan, with the intention of making customization possible by changing the things on which the robots are tapping. (We could rotate the lazy susan to change what object each robot was tapping on.)

Our robots are controlled by a control board with 5 pots. They control: 1.) the tempo of the music that our bots make, 2.) the pattern with which the pine cone rolls, 3.) the pattern with which the scraper scrapes, 4.) the pattern with which the shepard taps, and 5.) the speed with which the spinny bot spins.

Challenges included: 1.) Getting the robots to tap with similar patterns // with some semblance of coherent synchrony, 2.) getting the different settings of the pots to have noticeably different sounds.

Materials Used:
– 2 Arduinos
– 4 Micro-servos
– 3 normal servos
– 3D printed plastic
– lots! of jumper wires
– machine screws / nuts
– beer bottle
– 3 soda cans
– pine cone
– chopsticks
– 5 pots
– laser cut control board, pinecone eyes, lazy susan parts
– construction paper
– foam ball
– clay
– DC motor
– metal wire
– metal bolts/nuts from Dan’s bed
– wire brush
– metal marbles
– chipotle tin
– cardboard scrapey surface w/ packaging material
– diode
– resistors
– breadboard
– 3 battery packs
– rubber bands


#include <Servo.h> 

Servo myservoR;
Servo myservoRp;
Servo myservoL;
Servo myservoLp;
Servo servoLeah;
Servo servoAndrew;
Servo servoJake;
int deltaPot = 0;

int leahPot = 1; 
int leahBeat = 0;

int andrewPot = 2; 
int andrewBeat = 0;
int danielPot = 3;
int danielBeat = 0;

int jakePot = 4;
int jakeBeat = 0;

int pos = 0; // variable to store servo position 

void setup() 
 Serial.begin(9600); // setup serial
 myservoR.attach(4); //Rightmost arm from point of view of the crab
 myservoRp.attach(5); //Right-sub-prime (right arm of the left crab)
 myservoL.attach(6); //Leftmost arm from point of view of the crab
 myservoLp.attach(7);// "Left-sub-prime" (left arm of the right crab)
void loop() {

 int delta = potCipher(analogRead(deltaPot))*2; //speed of the hammering
 Serial.print("delta: ");

 servoAndrew.write(80); //ARMS UP!!!

 andrewBeat = potCipher(analogRead(andrewPot));
 Serial.print("andrewBeat: ");

 danielBeat = potCipher(analogRead(danielPot));
 Serial.print("danielBeat: ");
 jakeBeat = potCipher(analogRead(jakePot));
 Serial.print("jakeBeat: ");

 leahBeat = potCipher(analogRead(leahPot));
 Serial.print("leahBeat: ");
 for (int i=0; i <= 400; i++){
 servoAndrew.write(getArmLoc(pos, andrewBeat)); 
 servoLeah.write(getArmLoc(pos, leahBeat)); 
 servoJake.write(getArmLoc(pos, jakeBeat));
 myservoR.write(abs(abs(80-pos)-80)); //This series SHOULD do 16th-notes, approximately... but it sounds a bit off, so my math might be wrong
 pos += delta;

 if (pos >= 160) pos=0;


int getArmLoc(int pos, int beatType) {
 if (beatType == 1) {
 return abs(abs(80-pos)-80);
 else if (beatType == 2) {
 return abs(abs(40-pos)-80);
 else if (beatType == 3) {
 return abs(abs(80-(abs(pos-60)))+100);
 else if (beatType == 4) {
 return abs(abs(80-(abs(pos-80)))+100);

// returns a potSection value based on the position of the pot
int potCipher(int potVal) {
 int potSection;
 if (potVal >= 0 && potVal <= 205) {
 potSection = 0; 
 else if (potVal >= 206 && potVal <= 410) {
 potSection = 1;
 else if (potVal >= 411 && potVal <= 615) {
 potSection = 2;
 else if (potVal >= 615 && potVal <= 820) {
 potSection = 3;
 else {
 potSection = 4;
 return potSection;

Embodied Geometry – Final Project Proposal

Proposed Interaction: Think Twister meets Tetris.
We are creating a collaborative, embodied geometry game. This game could provide children with a collaborative learning environment in which to explore geometric properties of shapes as well as properties of symmetry and spatial reasoning. We are also exploring possibility of creating a shareable memento/artifact of their game play.

Figure 1 - Embodied Geometry
Figure 1 – Initial Setup

For the scope of the current project, a pair of users will use their limbs to activate circles on an interactive mat (Figure 1). Users must always keep one limb on the center spot. From a geometric stand-point, this center point acts as a frame of reference for body movements (rotations, extensions, etc.). This is an intentional design constraint within the environment that allows for comparison of asynchronously created shapes. We intend for this point to guide their movements such that we believe they will more likely notice patterns and relationships.

Figure 2 - Embodied Geometry
Figure 2 – As the shape approaches towards the users, they are supposed to collaborate and create the shape before it hits the mat.

Users will coordinate their body positions to make composite shapes supplied by the system (Figure 2) paying special attention to the orientation of each component shape. A shape will be projected on the floor near the mat, moving slowly toward the mat. Users must create the shape before it reaches the mat (time runs out). For a shape to be recognized as successfully created, users must be touching all necessary points at the same time. The display will also include a small schematic of all the shapes completed so far. In Figure XXX, the triangle is the challenge shape (component), the image in the upper left represents shapes completed so far (composite). Users will also receive feedback on the mat regarding their touch positions.

The game will have different levels of difficulty that require users to use more limbs (easy: legs only, medium: legs and an arm, hard: both legs and both arms). All successfully created shapes will be overlaid to create a final image that users could take with them (Figure 3 below).

Figure 3 - Embodied Geometry
Fig 3: How the UI could possibly look like in terms of shapes created and to be created. This is an early sample

Fun with Drawing Tools – Elena, Ganesh, Leah

Elena Lopez, Ganesh Iyer, Leah Rosenbaum

To create a collaborative puzzle for children which is fun physically and can be digitally enhanced for new ideas.

Fun with Drawing Tools

We envision this project as closely embodied, full-metaphor tangible UI where our main targeted audience – children aged 5 and above – can use drawing tools like a compass, a ruler and maybe a few other daily objects to contribute to a narrative in a game environment on a table top interface. The intention of the team is to encourage children to think of geometric tools in a more intuitive and intimate way. This project can also be thought of something adults can engage in to communicate with each other as conversation starters or as a game to play with over a get-together.

The puzzle is tied into a narrative where the players will use their tools to help a protagonist navigate her way to a reward. This environment would be offset by the tangible constraints that the drawing tools themselves pose and digital constraints through virtual traps in the puzzle which help make the game more difficult and engaging with progress and learned skill. The narrative that we’re looking to tie in this also involves the use of materials – straw, wood and stone – and this led us to exploring possible narratives like Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf or getting a colony of hardworking ants to secure food amid obstacles.

As a starting point, the most basic game environment could be a fluid path of dots indicating a reward-filled path to the goal and the task of the users is to connect these dots using the drawing tools that they have. To make the learning process more coherent and make gravity more intuitive, we chose to go with a birds’ eye view of the environment, so we are looking at the protagonist from above. The dots can involve materials that stack up across levels and the users may use up materials to build their path to the goal, so they might be nudged to draw optimal paths.

Fun with Drawing Tools 2

The game dynamics physically would be the users drawing paths using soft tools (since the age bar is low, we also want to make sure that the compass and rulers are not sharp/pointed objects). Straight-line paths can be drawn using a ruler and circular-directed paths can be made using a compass for the protagonist to travel along the circumference. An additional advantage is that users can indicate direction of the movement from the way they draw these constituent paths.

Fun with Drawing Tools 3

Next steps:
The next step for us as designers in this particular project would be to scope the project so that our vision is achieved. This would involve detailing out the game narrative – creating a story, reward system – and the virtual game dynamics in addition to understanding intuitive ways in which children use geometric tools so that the physical interactions that we have proposed can be refined.

Looking forward to hearing your feedback! 🙂