Project 3: City as Amusement Park- Simon Says Lanterns (Tegan Power & Rida Rabbani)

Project Proposal:

Project Video:

Project Description:

Our project is an interactive two player game installation using XBee communication. This project is inspired by Simon Says but has been altered to be two player and to transform an existing space into an installation for game play. Lanterns of different sizes and colours communicate with each other and players attempt to match the colour sequence that the other player has input. A set of 3 small lanterns (blue, green, red) have large arcade buttons that player one may press 6 times in any order. This input corresponds to the large lanterns hanging on the other side of the room. Once player one has inputted the sequence, the corresponding LED string colours will blink in order on player two’s side. Once this is done, player two must match this sequence. Player two inputs their response by tapping the large lanterns, activating the tilt switch in each. If player two matches the sequence correctly, all six lanterns on both ends will blink in congratulations. If player two fails to match the sequence,  a buzzer will sound. This game could transform any space, indoor or outdoor and could be packaged and sold as a “install yourself” party game.


Transmit (small lanterns) code:

Receive (large lanterns) code:

Writing the code was by far the most challenging aspect of this project and took several days to evolve and become functional. We first started by testing arduino to arduino XBee communication by having buttons on one end control LEDs on the other end. We did this by assigning each button pin to a number (1,2,3) that would serial print to the LED side. The LED side would read the incoming number and light up the corresponding LED (1=blue, 2=green, 3=red). Once this was set up, we focused on the receiving end. (We wanted to have player one and player 2 roles interchangeable but once we realized the difficulty of the code we took on, we decided to stick to a one way communication that would simply reset at the end of a turn. The first thing we did on the receiving end was create variables for player and player two’s sequence inputs. Player one has six button presses so the code would look for button presses and fill the six “YourHold” spaces. We then had to add booleans to indicate when Your turn and My turn was over. Once YourTurnIsOver=True, the input sequence is digitally written to the corresponding LED string in the large lanterns for player two to memorize. Once this is done, player two fills the six MyHold spaces. It does this by looking for button presses 1,2 or 3 to fill the six slots. Once player two has finished, MyTurnIsOver=True. At this point, the YourHold and MyHold values are compared. For this comparison of the six values, each is nested into the last because if any value does not match, there is no need to check to others. At this point, if the matches are all satisfied, all LedPin outputs blink, if they do not match, the buzzer in pin 13 is HIGH. The system then resets for the next match.






Case Studies:

Case Study 1-Intel World Interactive Amusement Park

Intel came to Inhance needing an environment in which to explain their Intelligent System Frameworks in an educational and enjoyable way.

Interaction: It features an animated theme park that allows up to thirty people to engage with the wall, bringing up floating windows of content amidst the rides, roller coasters and people moving about the park.

Technology: The result is the Intel Amusement Park Experience, an interactive multitouch application displayed on a 3×2 multi-screen LCD wall. It integrates with a Social Media Photo Booth App that allows attendees to take photos that superimpose their faces on a roller coaster ride. The photos can be sent to Facebook, Twitter, the Intel®World Wall and their email.

Narrative: The wall brings all of Intel’s products into one environment to show the connectivity through the entire park. Our goal was to deliver the same emotion one experiences in an amusement park, drawing attendees to the wall to touch it and learn. The result was constant excitement on people’s faces and large clusters of people touching the wall. It was highly successful in terms of being created primarily for trade shows, including Embedded World, Mobile World Congress, Design West and Cornell Cup.

Case Study 2-Lagoon Amusement Park

Amusement parks are all about speed. Whether it’s riding a massive roller coaster or plummeting 70 feet inside a tubular water slide, guests want to go fast.

Interaction: Lagoon now is able to satisfy the needs of its employees and guests with the updated card printing technology, bringing the park back to its desired speed.

Narrative: Now that the Lagoon Amusement Park has established its current system, computer stations at the gates can track Season Passport access information and provide valuable marketing information. “We’re trying to increase our per person usage through promotions such as our Season Passport Holder coupon books,” Young said. This allows them to operate at full capacity all day long, allowing their guests get their season passports quickly and in a fun way.

Case Study 3-  XD Dark Ride in the world 

Set in the iconic Filmpark Babelsberg just outside Berlin, this full turnkey project was the first installation of the XD Dark Ride in the world.

Interaction: XD Dark Ride is an immersive and interactive screen with a capacity of  24 seat hence being an object to many people ride.

Technology: Adding interactivity to state-of-the-art immersive special effects, it has revolutionized the world of ride simulation by combining video game technology with 3D animated movies.

 Narrative: First XD Dark Ride theater project in Europe. Is a conversion project of a pre-existing spherical structure into a one-of-a-kind interactive dome integrating the world’s largest interactive screen (16m wide)
Case Study 4- Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The latest installment of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is scheduled to open this summer in Orlando’s Universal Studios theme park. The new attraction features London and the magic-packed Diagon Alley.
Interaction: Guest will not only be able to enter the arches of the Leicester Square facade but will be immersed in a bustling Wizarding hub within a Muggle city where towering buildings are slightly askew, with steep staircases and jagged edges galore.
Technology: In the real-life version, visitors will be in awe of the marble lobby and cavernous passageways. They’ll take off from here on a multi-sensory thrill ride through the vaults. And the dragon that will perch atop the bank building (reminiscent of when it escapes from the bank in the series) really does blow a giant ball of fire quite frequently. The thrill ride requires visitors to don 3D Glasses and features 360-degree themed sets, intense 4K animations, and 3D projection systems for complete immersion.
Narrative: Guests around the world were impressed by the immersive experience Universal created and the meticulous attention to detail they used to bring the Harry Potter stories to life. With the theme central to that of Harry Potter it is brought to life through a real life version of the story.

Photos and Diagrams:


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Soldering the arcade button to longer leads. Installing the button into the small lanterns by wrapping wire around it and the metal piece in the centre of the lantern. LED string is fit into the small lanterns and affixed to the sides to keep it in. Long leads come out the bottom for later connection to the Arduino.

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All three small lanterns are affixed to the black player one board. Construction paper covers with button holes are attached to the top to hide electronics inside each lantern.

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Large lanterns are also filled with corresponding coloured LED string and affixed to the edges. The tilt sensor is soldered to long leads and affixed to the bottom of the metal lantern structure. The tilt sensor had to be placed at a very specific angle so that players two’s tap would successfully close the switch fully. Long leads are soldered to the other end of the tilt switches and LED string for connection to the Arduino.

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Final setup: Hanging large lanterns for player two, board mounted small lanterns for player one.


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  • 2 Arduinos
  • 2 Xbees
  • 6 Lanterns
  • 3 Tilt sensors
  • 6 sets of LED string
  • 3 Buttons
  • 2 9V Batteries

Circuit Diagram:

small lanterns breadboard prototype: buttons are replaced with large coloured arcade buttons installed in small lanterns. LEDs are replaced with red, green and blue LED string inside small lanterns.


large lanterns breadboard prototype: buttons are replaced with tilt sensors. LEDs are replaced with red, green and blue LED string inside large lanterns.






Notes on process:

We started of thinking of different ideas generated by the theme of the project. With the theme being an amusement park we wanted something that involved people in terms of visuals and engaged them to join in or interact with the installation. Initially we wanted to create an environment which coul be from both inside and outside. However once we started working with our simon says idea, it really didn’t really matter where the lanterns were placed as long they could create a establish a communication.

Then we had to decide whether we wanted a one player game dedicated to one player interacting with the simon says lanterns or two players playing amongst each other, while the rest of the audience enjoyed this process of lanterns creating a pattern and lighting up.

After establishing the 2 player game installation we had to work with the different materials, at first we were thinking of using balloons but then we decided the lights and lanterns along with XBee  inside them as we could not find balloons with cavity space within it. When we proposed the idea we were also advised that larger lanterns and materials would make a bigger impact.

The code to respond to our game was the more complicated part however with a large help from Ryan we got a code which stored arrays and chunks of sequences, the point we got stuck was when it came to the buttons responding to the sequence of lights.

While at the same time we managed materials, sensors and how they respond to one another. On the day of the final presentation we were experimenting with stability of materials as well as the code to correspond to our idea, however it was more complicated then we thought although it was able to store the sequence, not only was the communication with the XBee lost along the line but when we got them to communicate one of the buttons kept sending faulty data, at some point our simple on and off button became a sensor detecting movement near it. It was finally with Ryans help when we got the circuit to work as a simon says game it was too late to set it up to the tilt sensors and lights on the larger lanterns. Which despite our last minutes attempts wasn’t sending any data to the lED lights if it was not connected directly to the arduino.

Project Context:

Although the simon says Arduino was a very simple demonstration without making use of the XBees it gave us an idea of how to send information back and forth and simply test out the led’s and match them using the buttons. The next step from here was to translate this into our more complicated wireless use of the simon says technique back and forth within the lanterns and making it more interactive.

These case studies helped us explore not only the potential of real time technology but how experiential and interactive attractions, sets and props add to the touch and feel of the environment. Provoking senses and working with the familiarities and surprises for the audience makes them curious and interested in the space and attractions.