Prototype I - The Beginning
Two balls from the Migros toysection provided the skin to protect the built in hardware: Arduino Nano, Accelerometer, vibration motor, LED’s, XBee and the wires. We already got used to the huge effort it needs to protect the electronic parts.
The first prototype records already the flight phase, bounce and rebound and gives a feedback through the four LEDs outside. During the test, we registred some insulate contacts by pitching the ball very hard. In addition we got aware of the problem, that the parts inside got a little bit crimed, whereon we decided to build a case arround these parts.
Prototype II - Almost There
The core is now a cube with a strong case. Inside the case are the parts protected with some foamed material. To read the sensor inside the ball and to upload the code to the Arduino Nano we used XBee, a stable, serial radio communication.
The main attribute from a ball is the bounce. The assure this bouncyness, we used a very flexible foamed material. Therefore we hoped the final ball would bounce enough to play our game.
To load the internal 9V battery we installed an external power port; However, to work while we charge the ball we added another power port to run all the parts from an external power source.
The technology works ;)
To provide an nice user experience when touching the ball we decided to cover the ball with silicon. As side effect, the ball will be almost watherproof, dirt repellent and the LED will get more protection.
Sadly, this phase didn’t took us at all to the expected effect we got before in some small experiments.
The externel power source works and we tested some light effects for the various feedbacks.
Prototype III – It’s on!
After some new field test our ball didn’t work anymore and we had to identify the source of the problem. It was the heart: the arduino. Perfectly, we needed a new skin anyway because we were not happy with the current one. But with all the experience from the first two prototypes we were really fast and knew exactly how to do it.
Our next skin was going to be a gym ball out of industrial rubber, perfect. Because of its robustness and its very thick and stable rubber, this ball was very bouncy and therefore perfect for our purpose.
The start up of the brain ;)
The ball is ready, the code implemented, the outdoor test can start again. In our concept the whole electronic and technology is inside the ball. Any feedback should come from inside the ball. For the implementation we had to recognise that this isn’t possible, there just was not enough space. Therefore we had to carry all this parts in our baggage:
Below you see the so called nerd-bag ;)