Alex Hess - Project Overview

The goal of this project was to create an electronic toy that contained an embedded system.  I wanted to take a classic toy and modernize it by making it electronic.  I chose to use a maze game called a wood labyrinth.  It is a simple game where the player moves a marble though a maze on a wooden surface.  The surface tilts on two axes allowing the player to move the marble.  The game is made challenging by holes placed throughout the surface.  If the ball falls into a hole, the player loses and the ball is returned in a slot.  

I chose to make the project electronic by giving the player an easier way to control the movement of the board.  I compared using an accelerometer or a joystick to control the board and decided the joystick would give the user more precision.  To provide the logic for the game I used an Arduino Uno microprocessor.  I used a joystick that was similar to an old Nintendo controller.  It was part of a joystick shield kit for the Arduino.  To actually move the board I attached a servo to each of the two control knobs.  

The game was quite difficult before making it electronic.  It is hard for me to tell if my improvements made it easier to play.  The most challenging part of the project was the mechanical construction.   I learned a lot about connecting electrical and mechanical systems.