Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bee Puppet - Bee Sim Interactive Game

The Bee puppet is part of an interactive game for children learning about hive activity of bees, including pollination, by playing the role of the bee. The bee puppet sits velcroed on top of the glove hiding the main board, x-bee and LiPower. Three LEDs are sewn into the glove exposed on a finger (represents the flower pollen strength). The battery is hidden inside the bee body cavity sewn onto plastic mesh to help form the body shape.

The RGB sensor (game ticking clock) & 3 additional LEDs (represents bee pollen gathered) were sewn first sewn directly onto the puppet for the first prototype. However, it was quickly seen that total access was needed to the boards below the puppet, therefore the second iteration had the RGB sensor and LEDs sewn onto felt buttons, then buttoned through the bee cavity onto the bee neck and abdomen (glass beads were used to insulate the conductive thread) This design was chosen to not only allow easy access for repairs, but also to allow the glove to be interchanged with other insect puppets to examine their activity habits.

During the Bee Sim game the child/bee interacts with flowers, some with conductive material with a variety of hidden resistors beneath the felt flower center and some without conductive material (representing no pollen). After the child gathers the pollen they must return to the beehive before their energy runs out (as represented on the RGB sensor) where the pollen is dropped off and recorded/accumulated by the computer hive through the use of the xbee.

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