Completed Ouija Board

Filmon and I completed our midterm! After many long days on the floor, I can safely say that our project is finished. We created the cardboard box with glue. The words are made with stencils. The back side of the box is open in case we need to adjust wires before our presentation. I noticed that the tape on the wires would come off overnight. I wonder if I should use hot glue next time. I’m starting Introduction to Fabrication, which I believe will open up a lot of possibilities for physical computing.

The words are equidistant from each other. I believe that “Where” and “How” should be switched, but changing that at this stage would interfere with too much code. The “try again” button is positioned on the bottom right of the box. Ideally users spell out questions, light the “try again” phototransistor, and move the flashlight back to start.

The answers change depending on the question

The user testing was very interesting. The biggest issue with the board is the fact that values must be activated in the correct sequence for the answer to appear. Each time a word is activated in the correct order, the word appears in p5.js. For example, “WHO” would become “WHO ARE” and then “WHO ARE YOU” would be transformed into the answer. Sometimes users would incorrectly spell out questions by flashing the light in the wrong location. They need to activate the 10th phototransistor known as “try again” before starting to ask another question, but occasionally they would not understand the initial directions. The directions are “SLIDE THE FLASHLIGHT ON THE SPIRIT BOARD…IF YOU DARE. IF YOUR QUESTION DOESN’T MAKE SENSE, TRY AGAIN.” I would have liked to incorporate an immediate feedback feature in which p5.js. would inform the user if a question is spelled incorrectly. The amount of incorrect strings, however, are too large to count. Perhaps I could have incorporated an if/else statement in my p5.js code or place lights on each question that may turn off when the values of the string are incorrect.

Updated p5.js sketch

The use of the phototransistors from our kits was an interesting idea. They worked very well in terms of activation and added a spooky energy to our project. After some user testing, I decided to update the background image and change the font color so the answers would be more easily read. Additionally, I noticed that some users did not find my answers to be funny. We chose to produce comical answers because Filmon and I found that creating an actual persona for a dead person would be too morbid.

A user enjoying an answer. Success!

I really enjoyed the process of creating the midterm project from the first sketch to the final product. Filmon and I worked well together. We planned our schedules perfectly and split the assignments equally. I enjoyed debugging, fabricating, and bouncing off wacky ideas with another person. Although I feared serial communication in the beginning of the assignment, I am understanding programming concepts and how they relate to each other. Creating the Ouija Board opened my horizons for the possibilities of physical computing.

Link to Filmon's blog:
Link to the p5.js. code:
Link to the Arduino code: