Interactive Toy Box for Shape Learning
9C Sam Chen
Inspiration & Objective
Before doing this project, I always do devices associated with light and LED, such as telephone booth lamp, planet lamp, and more. However, this time I try to challenge myself by doing an interactive project.
Thinking about an interactive game, I thought of the toys I play in my childhood. I vividly recall one which I can insert different shaped blocks inside, which my mother guided me by telling me which is what shape. Suddenly, I realized how I can create a similar project, but with interactive elements. Since this toy is aimed to entertain children, I need something that they will like as a prize: candies.
Therefore, I developed a plan for a toy box. The child playing with this game can insert the four shaped blocks into the game box. If they get the shapes all right, they get to have candies.
- For the materials, you need:
Circuit and Coding
- Arduino Board x1
- MicroUSB-USB Cable
- Arduino Programming Application
- Several jumper wires / DuPont wires
- Servo motor x1
- Photoresistor for Arduino x4
- Breadboard x1
- Soldering gun x1
- A bundle of soldering tin x1
- Hot glue gun x1
- Several hot glue sticks
- Tape x1
- Several cardboard pieces
- Adobe Illustrator & RDWorks (or anything that helps draw pictures for laser cut)
- Laser Cutting Machine x1
- Candies (better to be round, not any other shape)
Step 1: Coding and Circuits
Please see the photo for detailed circuits making. Note that the resistors should be 1kΩ.
There are footnotes for every line of code.
Step 2: Making the Box
Before making the actual box, I would suggest to make a plan by drawing a rough blueprint. The first image above is the blueprint I've drawn for the box. (It's in Chinese mostly, but I will explain the function of each part later; the unit is in centimeters, 1 inch = 2.54 cm)
Next, I made a box out of cardboard to see if everything works. Although optional, this step is essential for laser cutting precision (mine is not perfect though) and overall function checking. The second image is a partial photo of my cardboard box where I stored my messy circuits.
Lastly, I can make the laser cutting box with the measurements done when planning and making the cardboard box. The third image is the file I used for laser cutting (third image). Note that those measurements are not perfect, and I will need to change it for more precision and better appearance. I also included the laser cutting material for the blocks (which players insert into corresponding holes). Those blocks have heights of 6cm, which are shorter compared to the box's 8cm height. Please note that the backboard does not include a place for Arduino board cable connecting. It might be a good idea to drill or cut a hole so that the microUSB-USB cable can pass through. Or you can also redesign the box to put in batteries or portable chargers!
For I used hot glue gun to connect all the pieces together to form a 3D shape.
Step 3: Assembling the Parts
Once the circuits, the code and the box are all done, start preparing to put them all together as one device.
I put photoresistors into the oval holes in the middle board; I placed the Arduino board on the left board; I stored the circuits at the back of the middle board where a board separates this area with others. The finalized inner structure of the box would look like the first picture above. The photoresistors are under the blocks. For the servo motor needs to stay on the right board, and a small piece of wood/cardboard is needed to act as the gate for candies to roll out..
After all the circuits are inside the box, the project is complete and it should function properly. The last version of the box ( the one you can play with already) is shown in the second picture.
Step 4: Have Fun With Your Toy Box!
Once the box is done and is ready to work, feel free to play it with your kids, friends or anyone. Remember to insert candies before playing!
The above is a video of the project working.
Please like, share and comment so I know what I can improve upon!