Hacking a Mouse for Closet Light Start Button

Game Cabinet, How-to's & Tutorials, Ninja Shadow Warrior, Physical Computing

Ninja Shadow Warrior in its first phases used the Arduino to attach the Closet Light Start Button (modded with Normally Open Momentary Switch instead of On-Off Switch). It was being a bit unreliable, so I changed to just connecting it to a mouse — Syed from Babycastles suggested it! I used a Logitech Mouse that Syed had left over from one of his One Button workshops. Here are the wires I used to connect it to the Closet Light Start Button. I brought 4 back up start buttons to Paris, in case the start button busted during the show.

Hacking Cheap Closet Lights to be Obnoxiously Large Game Buttons

Eyebeam, How-to's & Tutorials, Ninja Shadow Warrior, Physical Computing

I recently needed an obnoxiously large push button for the Ninja Shadow Warrior game cabinet. I have been working on making the cabinet whimsical by adding oversized elements to it.

I found a 5 dollar pack of 2 lights at Home Depot and took them apart. I then opened it and did the following:

  • I replaced the on-off switch inside the light with a momentary snap switch that is normally open and glued it down.
  • I rewired the snap switch with the usual “button circuit” —  a 10k resistor, ground, voltage, and a wire to pin2 on the Arduino.
  • I rewired the light bulb so that the Arduino can control it from pin8, via reed relay.
  • I mounted it on to the game cabinet

I used the digital Button code example and now I have an obnoxiously large push button made cheaply. I separated the light from the switch part so that the game can flash the button light whenever it wants to bring attention to the push button, even if it hasn’t been pushed yet.

Beyond the Joystick: Intro to Alternative Controls Workshop Series at Eyebeam

Eyebeam, Physical Computing, Workshops


I am running this workshop series weekly on Tuesday Evenings for 6 weeks, starting on June 28 to Aug 2 at Eyebeam. It’s basically for artists, designers and hobbyists interested in starting to think about and explore alternative physical interfaces that can be used in games, toys or interactive art projects. We’ll be learning about using the Arduino and some Processing with various sensors and switches to make simple, but effective controllers. This area is a big part of my practice so I am really excited about sharing it!

Hit Me! 2.0

Eyebeam, Face-to-face Games, Hit Me!, Physical Computing

I will be showing Hit Me! at the next Eyebeam Mixer. I am really excited about it. I need to do some updating to the game. Here is a list of intended updates:

1. Better wireless pin-hole cameras. For the game, I need 2 cameras that are same but run on different channels. I found some rechargeable ones at Geeks that have a choice of 4 different channels around the 2.4 Ghz frequency. Unfortunately I won’t know how the system would run in a space until I actually try it out. There are always going to be things that run on the 2.4 Ghz range, as well as the 900 Mhz range that my older cameras ran on. In the Chelsea Museum show, the old cameras conflicted with the project that was running right before mine, but it worked fine as soon as the previous project was turned off. So I am looking forward to getting them quick to try out in the space.

2. Better doorbell system. For the game, I need 2 that run on different channels like the cameras, but they can share the same receiver. I found a set on amazon which can run on a range of frequencies it seems, but I am waiting for an email reply from the manufacturer about what frequency it runs on. I don’t want anything that would interfere with the cameras. Also I would like to get ones with lower latency from my previous set. However, latency is not really an important function when it comes to doorbells, so it’s not a function that is highlighted or written about. Basically it’s hard to research that information before purchasing.

3. Rewriting software on Processing.

4. Composite Video to USB adapter. I already have a one that goes to firewire.

To Do List for Mary Mack 5000

Eyebeam, Mary Mack 5000, Physical Computing

Shoulder/Lap Pads: I clearly  need to find a better way for people to put on/take off the pads without taking so much time. I have been looking at Neoprene Velcro material like on athletic knee supports sold at drug stores. Seattle Fabrics seem to sell it. Can I do it without losing the “rocker” look?

Enclosure (plastic? metal? wood?) for game for the purpose of:

  • protecting circuit
  • stick to the floor/table so players don’t pull wires out
  • protect circuit, stick on table/floor
  • quick sockets for wires

Circuit: the cleaner, sturdier the better!

  • changing all pots to trimmers so they can’t be changed so easily
  • turn all wires connecting pads to two easy sockets (10 wires ea)**
  • getting new terminal blocks that use 10 wires for each person

Wires!! need to find a way to make cleaner, quicker! Looks like spaghetti right now…

  • find wire with at least 10 conductors (round shape, not flat, black)
  • find quick, sturdy connectors, easy to attach/disconnect


  • neoprene velcro – I am not sure if this will take away from the “rocker” look
  • add the chains, studs, patches


  • must publish on GitHub!
  • Create 2 Arduino code – one for callibration, other for actual game

Mary Mack 5000: Brainstorming

Eyebeam, Face-to-face Games, Mary Mack 5000, Physical Computing

The most important role of gloves in Mary Mack 5000 is to measure the accuracy of the claps. The technology must be able to assess whether or not the correct claps are being made at the correct time.

I first started out mapping out all possible clapping combinations.

Ideas like pressure sensor combined with color sensors & colorful gloves or pressure sensors combined with RFID were considered, but ultimately a simple method of ID through contact would be most suitable for the game. I bounced around several scenarios with Marko, and while a voltage ID would work, it was a mysetery how the gloves would be able to read each other’s voltage ID. Remember, each gloves would have to have both voltage and input to work with all clapping combos (clapping hands together alone, clapping hands with the other person, clapping just the right hand with the other’s right hand etc…). Combining two voltages would lead to some new voltage that stood between the 2 original voltages and creating 2 pads per gloves wouldn’t work with the various combos with the different directions the pads would face for different claps.

On Jie Qi’s last day at Eyebeam, I explained her the problem, and she suggested flipping really fast between voltage and input. So each glove would have its own unique voltage ID and yet be able to read the unique voltage ID of another glove. Thanks to Jie, this was the elegant solution to the problem!