File sync juggernaut Dropbox gave their first conference a couple of days ago in the amazing and expansive Fort Mason Pavilion in San Francisco. Ninja Blocks sent me over to build a 'High Striker' - a carnival game in which you swing a hammer at a pad and try to launch a projectile high enough to ring a bell.
Here's an old Popular Mechanix article from the 1930's on why you can't win with the mechanical version.
Needless to say, an electronic version was called for, and I was delighted to provide one. Watch a video about it here:
I pitched the idea (given that it was for a developer conference) for the striker to show various phases of development:- Idea, Proto, Iteration, Testing, Polish and finally Shipping. The game was titled "You Shipped It".
When the players reached the top, they won some free space on Dropbox.
As they struck the pad, a web cam attached to the Ninja Block would take a picture and upload it to a folder on Dropbox.
The game used the same RF433 MHz wireless technology that's found in the Ninja Block and its wireless sensors and actuators.
The 'striker pad' used an accelerometer to detect the force of the hammer swing, and an Arduino to read that value, and send an appropriate code to both the main display and the Ninja Block.
The main display would shoot a virtual 'puck' upwards, lighting design phases as it went, before either falling back to Earth, or if the strike was strong enough, into the tick, which would signify that the player had 'shipped it'.
The Ninja Block would receive the code and would then take a picture of the player with the web cam, and upload that picture to Dropbox.
Thanks to Morgan Knutson and Ryan Putnam for their awesomeness.
The main display was constructed of PVC pipe and PVC foam, with vinyl stickers as a facade. Stay tuned for an in-depth article on how the game was constructed.