Our Drought Abatement Machine (DAM)
In our game, Stop the DAM Leak, two players collaborate to stop the water from dripping out of a leaky shower head. One player torques a wrench and follows the red LEDs to fix the leak. The other player slides a bucket and follows the blue LEDs to catch as much "water" as possible. Periodically, pieces of the piping system fall out, causing extra water to drip down from the shower head, and one player must press the correct button to bring the pipe segment back into place. When the players win the game by saving enough water, they hear a celebratory song and Uncle Ed does a dance, a tribute to our professor. This game is brought to you by Margaret Coad, Aaron Manheim, Alex Cain, and Michael Lin as their final project for the class ME218A, Smart Product Design Fundamentals, at Stanford University.
Click here for a video of our game being played.
Functionality of our DAM
Upon being powered on, our DAM goes into ARMed mode. During this stage, a patriotic tune plays repeatedly in the headphones of each user while the large, red LED-backlit start button flashes on and off. Additionally, Uncle Ed’s arm points towards the start button. To start playing the game, a user must press the red start button.
When the start button is pressed, the “hourglass of desertification” flips and normal gameplay mechanisms begin. For the bucket user, normal gameplay entails catching “water” in their bucket. To the user, this “water” is represented as four columns of blue lights travelling downwards in a random pattern. These blue lights are produced by large, blue LEDs behind a semi-opaque acrylic sheet. Each blue LED is attached to the end of a lever arm that is controlled by a servo motor. These servos rotate very small discrete distances, but with great speed and frequency. This simulates a steady path downwards for each blue LED. In order to catch any given LED droplet, the user must position the bucket under that column such that a flag attached to the shaft of the bucket apparatus interrupts that column’s corresponding coin sensor. Each time a droplet reaches the bottom of a column without being caught, an error sound plays for the bucket user and their score is incremented by 1 and displayed on an LCD monitor. Each time a droplet is caught by the user, they hear a reassuring tone in their headphones. This pattern repeats throughout normal gameplay.
Meanwhile, the wrench user experiences entirely different gameplay. This user sees a random red LED light up, and he/she must rotate their wrench such that the handle hovers next to that LED. They must hold the wrench there for a second, before another randomly selected red LED lights up. Upon this successful move, the user hears a reassuring tone in their headphones. This pattern repeats throughout normal gameplay. The speed at which the wrench user successfully rotates between LEDs controls the speed at which the blue LEDs drop for the bucket user. This gameplay tweak is performed in the code by measuring the time between each successful wrench move by the wrench user, and communicating that time to the service controlling the blue LEDs.
Normal gameplay is interrupted at several points throughout the game, when one of two pipe segments “bursts.” This is simulated via rotating one of the pipe segments out of the users’ view with a servo. This event happens every 16 seconds, thus it occurs three times in a 60 second game. When this event happens, both users hear an emergency tone in their headphones. Furthermore, the wrench user sees all of their red LEDs light up. However, moving the wrench to any of these LEDs won’t register as a successful move. Simultaneously, the bucket user will see all blue LEDs reset to the top of their columns, and travelling downward synchronously. If these LEDs reach the bottom of their columns before the pipe burst is fixed, the users’ score is incremented by 4. This is obviously very bad, so it behooves the user to fix the pipe burst. In order to do this, one of the users must press the correct blue dome button located near the rotated-out pipe segment. To further indicate this task to the users, the correct blue dome button will flash on and off while its pipe is out.
The game ends after 60 seconds of play. At this time, Uncle Ed’s arm rotates to point at the LCD with the score displayed. If the users scored well enough, the DAM enters celebration mode for 30 seconds. This entails a flashing red and blue LED strip and a dance performed by Uncle Ed’s arm. Additionally, a celebratory tune plays in each user’s headphones. At the end of this celebration, the DAM goes back into ARMed mode. If the users failed to catch enough water droplets, the DAM enters failure mode. In this mode, the DAM plays a sad tune and waits 10 seconds before re-entering ARMed mode.
Bill of Materials
Total Spent = $154.36
Total Spent = $154.36