Ballonator 2000, a MyMachine Project

Introduction: Ballonator 2000, a MyMachine Project

First of all I want to introduce us and explain the following idea. We are four students from Kortrijk Belgium in Howest, given an assignment by MyMachine Belgium ( ). This group wants to focus on the creativity of children and strives to create their dream machine.

It starts off with an explosion of creativity from the young ones, generating multiple ideas and wacky inventions. The best idea gets chosen by us where after we’re ready to start prototyping. Our tiny inventor came up with the following: a ball, that when thrown or kicked, changes shape, size and colour.

The first drawing is the one made by our tiny inventor, the second one is one of ours where we tried to get an idea on how to make all his wishes possible.

Since we’re not MIT students and want to keep the
concept cheap we had to improvise. Instead of a ball we went for a Dodecahedron shape. It would be able to change colour thanks to RGBleds within the frame linked to an arduino, change shape by being compressible and size by using bigger or smaller models.

The first pic is of our mock up and the last of our final model.

After all this work we decided to incorporate the idea in a game for the children to play. (the playing field is also added to the pics)

The game itself is simple. 4 teams are each assigned a colour and a corner with a corresponding colour. The “Ball” itself starts in the centre of the field. When the lights on the ball start emitting light (for example red) the team with the same colour has to try and score by bringing it to their corner. The other teams have to try and prevent that. The added twist is that the designated team can choose a handicap for the other three teams (for example hands have to be held on the back). This goes on for about 15-45 seconds until the ball changes colour (for example green) and another team is assigned.

The use of the Arduino also allows multiple scripts to be written and more games to be incorporated. We believe this will allow the children to come up with their own new games with the ball since this would stimulate their creativity and really make it their game rather than leave it at one game and restrict them to just that.

Step 1: Getting Started

To start making this “Ballonator 2000” you’ll need the following: We ended up only needing the foam (PE) tubes, bungee cord ( a bit less than 10 m) and the tape. Make sure the tubes are hollow for all the wiring and the pieces of bungee cord have to be pulled through it.

The electronics is a bit more complex, you’ll need an Arduino, some wires, small electric resistances, shrink sleeves and LEDs ( for the best result Led strips would be ideal).

Step 2: Making the Shape

We started out with the basic pentagon shape, cutting the tubes in sections of 14 cm with a piece of bungee cord pulled through.

Now slowly start adding the other parts as shown in the pictures.

Step 3: Wiring

Once the shape is made, we can start putting in the wiring and electronics in. We cut small holes in the tubing to push the led’s through. It is also desirable to put the Arduino and battery close to the openings.

I've included a flow chart to show how the wiring was done to save you some time to figure everything out.

Once this all was done we played with the ball a bit. We also found it fun to play with it in the dark where the lights and colours really came out nice.

The last pic is of the script we used for the Arduino. You can change the colours by looking up their RGB number and entering it in the script if you desire more and other colours, I've attached the script in file form.

Or you could copy paste it from here should it not work:
int blauw = 11;int rood = 10;int groen = 9;int drood,crood;int dblauw,cblauw;int dgroen,cgroen;int kleur;void setup() { pinMode(9, OUTPUT); pinMode(10, OUTPUT); pinMode(11, OUTPUT); drood = random(0,0); dblauw = random(0,0); dgroen = random(0, 0);}void loop(){analogWrite(rood,crood); analogWrite(blauw,cblauw); analogWrite(groen,cgroen); if(crood > drood){ crood --;}if(crood < drood){ crood ++;}if(cgroen > dgroen){ cgroen --;}if(cgroen < dgroen){ cgroen ++;}if(cblauw > dblauw){ cblauw --;}if(cblauw < dblauw){ cblauw ++;}if(cblauw == dblauw && cgroen == dgroen && crood == drood){ delay(5000); kleur = random(1,5); switch (kleur) { case 1: dgroen = 255; drood = 0; dblauw = 0; break; case 2: dgroen = 0; drood = 255; dblauw = 0; break; case 3: dgroen = 0; drood = 0; dblauw = 255; break; case 4: dgroen = 0; drood = 255; dblauw = 255; break; default: ; }}delay(5); }

Step 4: Making the Playing Field

This is by far the simplest step. All you need is a wooden board and 4 2 by 4’s. You then cut the boards to size and make 4 pentagon shapes These are then painted to match the 4 colours of the game. Once this is done you can attach the 2 by 4’s to the centre of these shapes. The beams can be cut to a desirable length. We cut them down to 4 pieces of a metre each.

The reason for this all is to make up the corners and goals of the game. The size of the playing field is determined by the players of the game.

Step 5: Final Word

Once we made everything, we had a little go with the ball. Our little "play session" is included in this step.

This is all of course an early concept with room for improvement and alterations. Feel free to add them or send us a message. Depending on how everything goes at the upcoming presentations we’ll add some updates or modifications to the plans.

c.2007 All ideas, concepts, drawings, pictures, videos, documents, posters, comments, mock-up scale models, prototypes and machines that are developed in the context of MyMachine are the property of MyMachine vzw.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from MyMachine vzw is strictly prohibited. MyMachine vzw is a social profit organization that fosters creativity, entrepreneurship, open education and STEM in education.

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