Wireless Button Control
During the early part of this year Ien Cheng had asked me to design and build these wireless buttons. He was working on a project called Playtime Happy Hour which was a project to promote games, play, and socializing. He needed to have the buttons be wireless and addressed to specific lights and camera. Essentially what needed to happen was that any time a group of people were a part of something amazing, or wanted to document a moment in time, they would hit the button. The button would then take a picture of the group of people and trigger an indirect lighting que to let others know ambiently that something 'awesome' happened in their periphiral.
I decided on using XBees as the form of wireless communication, because I could create an appropriate network for the system that Ien wanted to be installed. Bluetooth only really allowing for pairing networks, and RF being more of a broadcast network that is prone noise. Each button was equiped with an XBee, a battery, and an arduino. I was going to bypass the arduino in each of the buttons to allow for more space, but Ien wanted each button's LEDs to breath and XBees alone aren't really too equiped for that king of progamming. If you look a the video below you can kind of make out the LEDs breathing. It's subtle, but that was it's intent. We didn't want to distract people from playing.
I the actual mechanics of the button I need to add some springs to give a little more resistance to the weight of the cover. Before the springs, the cover would weigh just enough that the button mechanism wouldn't actually allow the cover to pop back up. I initially bought some springs from the hardware store and tried those, but they proved too strong. I eventually settled for 24 gauge hook up wire that I wrapped around a pen tightly. Not only did it give a nice bouyancy to the button, but they also helped to stablize the cover. You can check out the video below.