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$2,976
pledged of $7,500pledged of $7,500 goal
34
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, August 24 2013 7:07 PM UTC +00:00
$2,976
pledged of $7,500pledged of $7,500 goal
34
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, August 24 2013 7:07 PM UTC +00:00

About

Project Description-

The Grid is a development platform that can be used for a wide range of purposes but is mainly used for gaming. It is made up of 64 individual tiles that interlock and communicate serial data to each other and a master computer. The Grid can facilitate games for up to 8 people, who will walk and step on the tiles to play the game. We intend to program games including a Rush Hour type game and packing puzzles along with the platform's release title Flow. 

Working prototype of 4x4 game grid.
Working prototype of 4x4 game grid.

Game Play for Flow-

The game play for Flow will begin with a blank grid. One player will be chosen for each color to be used in the game. The game grid will be set to a new game. This will consist of two tiles displaying colored circles for each color used in the game.  Players will enter the grid and choose one of the two tiles displaying a circle that matches the player’s color. Once all players have selected their starting circle tile the game can begin. On a signal from the game operator players begin making their way toward their matching circle. As the players advance, a colored LED trail is illuminated to indicate their path. Paths cannot cross. Players must cooperate to insure that all matching circles can be connected without crossing paths. This game will teach players communication skills under pressure and in a confusing environment. Players can retrace their path to choose alternate routes. The game is over when all pairs of circles are connected or the allotted time expires. 


Tile Specs-

Each tile has a 19.5in by 19.5in substructure made of Baltic Birch. The tiles are designed with a inter locking bottom slot that is coated with a strip of clear UHMW Polyethylene Rubber Adhesive Tape. This slippery coating allows the tiles to snap together easily, making electrical connections without damaging the copper tape contacts.

Close up of The Grid
Close up of The Grid

Each tile top is made of an 3/8 inch thick acrylic plate that has 48 countersunk  RGB LEDs in a cross-hair pattern. The tile is then outfitted with a load cell that is electrically a half Wheatstone bridge. This load cell is located in the center of the tile and will signal player state to an Arduino Mega. The Arduino Mega is the brain of the tile and controls communications and LED display state.

The Arduino in the tile substructure
The Arduino in the tile substructure

What we have Accomplished so Far-

So far we have acquired all parts and materials necessary for 64 tiles. We have completed 18 tiles and have another 18 tiles ready to make. In addition, we have built three simulators so that we can develop programs separately from the actual game board Grid. The simulators are basically a small scale, 4 by 4 grid fully equipped with 16 Arduinos.

Contact Plate Assembly
Contact Plate Assembly
Davis working on simulators
Davis working on simulators
Lots and lots of switches
Lots and lots of switches
Matt wiring tile
Matt wiring tile
Simulator close up
Simulator close up
Completed Simulator
Completed Simulator

With 16 tiles, we went to Maker Faire: Bay Area. The exhibition was a great experience and we even won 2 Educator's Choice ribbons. Our project was very well received and we met a lot of interested people. Even though The Grid was not yet fully programmed, people responded enthusiastically and the younger kids loved to play on it. We hope to be a part of Maker Faire: Bay Area for many years to come.

2 Educator's Choice awards
2 Educator's Choice awards
Matt and Sami explaining the Grid
Matt and Sami explaining the Grid

Future Plans-  

This September when we go to Maker Faire: New York we will go with a fully functioning and interactive Grid. Once there, we hope to meet up with developers that would be willing to program games for The Grid. When we get back we plan to show it at schools in the Bay Area and hope to inspire kids to pursue engineering and science early on in their lives.

Davis Dunaway-

I'm currently in 9th grade at Harker High School. I'm currently interested in physics, computer science, and electrical engineering. On an non-academic front, my hobbies are strategy games, trampolining, and playing bass.

Sami McGinnis- 

I'm 13 years old and will be starting 8th grade at Valley Christian Jr. High this fall. I love music and play alto saxophone in jazz band. My interests include reading, medical science, and engineering in general. I also enjoy swimming, biking, and writing.

Matthew Tung -

I am an incoming freshman at Saratoga High School. Personally, I am interested in building things, like models; software; and music. I am in marching band and also jazz band. Music is an essential part of my life. In my free time, I like to read and play video games.  

Young Makers-

The three of us are all a part of the Willow Glen Young Makers club. The Young Makers program unites young people with mentors and resources that can help them with their projects. We also attended multiple Open Make sessions at the San Jose Tech Museum where we could share what we had so far and see what other young makers were doing.

Young Makers at work with their mentors
Young Makers at work with their mentors
One on one work with mentor
One on one work with mentor

Stretch Goals

$10,000- Back lighting 

We'll put RGB LEDs in the sides of the tiles for ambient illumination 

$13,000- Speakers

Install speakers in each tile for enhanced game play 

$15,000- Improve speakers

Upgrade speakers to full range high fidelity speaker system with external sub woofer channel  

$16,000- Website 

Make a full fledged Pathfinder community website where people can get updates and share project ideas

$20,000- Self generated midi track

Incorporate a self-generating music composition program that creates new pieces of music depending on the direction and speed of the players.

$25,000- Ruggedized casing for more durable commercial tiles

Change the wooden casing to a more durable material

$35,000- Build The Grid 2.0

Add all the new features and a 15x15 LED matrix to a second Grid.

$40,000- Find a permanent home for the original Grid

Find a place where The Grid can be permanently installed and open to the public.

Risks and challenges

Tile production-
We are confident that we will be going to Makers Faire: New York with a fully functional gird. However there is a chance that we will not have enough tiles to complete an 8x8 grid. Even though we have acquired all of the parts and pieces we need to finish the tiles, there still is the manual labor, which is extensive and that alone could be enough for us to not finish all 64 tiles in time. We are working vigorously at assembly but even working at our hardest there is a small chance that we will not get them all assembled; but we will, however, have a large portion of it completed.

Coding-
Most members of Team Pathfinder are new to coding and the programming we are doing is very complex. Even though we are fairly sure we will have the software done in time for Makers Faire: New York, there might still be bugs in in the coding for some tile instances.

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    Explorer: Get access to a personal email where you can send us your game ideas and code. If we make your idea we will give you full credit

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    Guide: Two 3D printed mini tiles that interlock (not included with higher levels)

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    Innovator:A mini tile with LEDs arranged in the shape of the word, Grid.

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    Engineer: Send us your idea for a game and we'll work with you to craft it into a game that we can code! We will give you full credit for the idea and send you the code and a film of it running on the grid!

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    Experimenter: Private tour and game-play at the shop for you and three friends. Airfare not included. (we will contact you about location)

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    Developer: We'll bring the tiles to you anywhere in the Bay Area for a half day of game play! (we will contact you about location)

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    Architect: Want the flow game at home? We'll make you a 3x3 grid for your own personal use. (free delivery within bay area, otherwise shipping not included)

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Funding period

- (30 days)