Introduction: DIY Motion Controller and Dance Floor for Scratch Games!

About: I am a former game designer who teaches kids about electronics. In our workspace, we have a ton of materials and tools to tinker around with. However, I was always excited to make electronics more accessible t…

To me, knowing how to write code is the swiss army knife of creativity. It lets you create that one idea you have in mind (to change the world, of course!). So teaching kids the basics early is a great idea. The programming platform Scratch is perfect for that. It is easy to use and specially designed for kids! To keep screentime low and inspire some real magic, I created this DIY motion controller. It is like a magic wand that controls your Scratch games and you can build it together with kids. Afterward, kids can get creative with coding what that magic wand should do in their games and digital art. The motion controller connects the real world with the digital world. Potential is endless.



For this project, you only need a webcam and one of my RGB Touchcubes. You will find instructions on how to create one on my website and here on Instructables.

Step 1: Watch My Video Tutorial

First, check out my video to see what this project is all about. I will break down the basic steps below.

Step 2: Create Your Touchcube If You Haven't

You need one of these Touchcubes to use it as a motion controller! They are interactive RGB lights and easy and fun to make. These Touchcubes are a great way to teach kids about basic circuits, RGB LEDs, and color mixing. Follow the tutorial on my website or this Instructable to create one.

Step 3: Print Markers

Webcams are usually bad at picking up the color of a light source. But in the next step, that is exactly what we want to do! Print and cut those markers (template is attached) so that we can adjust the brightness of our Lightcube in the next step.

Step 4: Test Your Motion Controller in Scratch

First Test

  • Follow this link to find the test application I made using scratch.
  • Allow the web browser to access your webcam. Make the webcam point in your direction.
  • Make your room as dark as possible.
  • Add one or two markers from the previous step on top of the light cube.
  • Then run a test by clicking the green flag: Light up the motion controller in red, green, or blue and touch the saxophone or cat. You might hear some music!
  • If it is not working try to add another marker or remove one marker and watch how the webcam picture changes. You want a well-saturated color (light) coming from the light cube!

Step 5: If It Is Not Working...

Chances are it will not work at your first try because your webcam and the light in your room will be much different from my setup. You can easily recalibrate this:

  • Open up the scratch file by hitting the "look inside" button (or "remix" button).
  • Then click on the saxophone and find the three "touching color" blocks.
  • Click the colored circle and then activate the color picker.
  • Then pick a color from the webcam picture while lighting up the Touchcube.
  • Repeat this step for every "touching color" block and for the cat.

Now everything should work fine!

Step 6: Play Stardropper Game

If everything works, have some fun with my Star Dropper game.

Step 7: Transform Two Touchcubes Into an Interactive Dance Floor

If you want to transform two Touchcubes into an interactive dance floor, please visit my website and download the template for the step buttons and the wiring plan. This is very easy to make and another great DIY project for kids!

Step 8: Lets Dance!

To play my dance game in Scratch follow this link!

Step 9: Create More Games!

So that's it for this Instructable. However, do not stop here. Scratch is super easy to use and you can easily open up my games and remix them into new stuff.

Or you make completely different games with what you learned. Again, the hole project is made to teach kids about technology and programming. So if you make this together with kids, let them get creative now. Kids love Scratch!

If you liked this Instructable please follow me on Youtube and Pinterest and visit my website for more great STEM projects using technology.

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