MM5000 Vest

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

Originally the MM5000 shoulder and thigh pads were made from bandanas and D-rings. However, it’s been quite a hassle. They slide off while playing, they take a long time to put on and are equally annoying to take off.

So the solution to this problem is to create a vest interface that is much easier to put on and off. And not only does the vest add to the “rocker” feel of the game, but also it provides a nice surface to mount the sensor pads on to. I found some RJ50, also known as 10P10C cables, which have 10 conductors. They look like ethernet cables and fit into a similar looking jack. These jacks I will place on the vest and the console box. Colin Leipelt constructed the muslin version (center) from paper patterns (right) that I made off of the terribly hideous looking vest (left) I got from a thrift store. I have revised the paper pattern since then to give a more “rocker”, jean-jacket vest type feel silhouette-wise. The vest will be made from black denim and will be appropriately distressed.

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 at Hide & Seek Weekender Festival in London!

Eyebeam, Mary Mack 5000

Wow. The Hide and Seek Weekender Festival has been such an exciting event!

Showing Mary Mack 5000 has been amazing. I got a lot of good feedback and constructive suggestions on how to improve the game. I will write up a to-do list later. It was such a good opportunity to have different people playing the game. I feel as if I was successful in reaching the 2 most important goals of the game:

  1. having a wide variety of people other than little girls playing the game
  2. having people enjoy themselves and the face-to-face experience

Besides showing MM5000, I was able to play a lot of great games at the festival. Some were more experimental than others, while some seemed like they had been tweaked to perfection. I really enjoyed Segue, by EnterPlay where you would control the direction of a live dancer through a game space by holding up musical score cards to a musician. Another game I enjoyed was Noah’s International Lark played with teammates in Delhi, India, where you get points for finding things in common with your long distance teammates.

I was so impressed by the street games community in London. Everyone is so enthusiastic, patient and imaginative. I had many interesting conversations about game play and games and met some really nice people. Photos after the jump….

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!

Mary Mack 5000

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

Mary Mack 5000 is a project I have been working on at my Eyebeam fellowship. It’s a game that reintroduces the popular Patty Cake little girl’s games in a hyper, rocked out, digitized version. It uses special finger-less gloves with conductive pads, as well as pads on the thighs and upper arms. The sensors help measure timing and accuracy of two people playing the clapping game, and the score is based on these two factors. A projected interface keeps the players and spectators informed of the score and types of claps.

I am collaborating with Lina Fenequito. There are also some incredible music tracks made by Ray Mancini and Sergey Popovich of Goodswan.

The game debuted last Friday at the Come Out and Play Festival at the Brooklyn Lyceum.

I will be updated more about the development of the game here as it progresses.