Before our newest version of the illuminated quilt game, eBee was exhibited at the {Craft, Game} Play workshop at the Foundations of Digital Games Conference 2015 as it went through some prior phases.

In this early stage of our game, the mechanism behind it was quite different from the fluid mechanic we have now. Instead of using conductive Velcro and pieces that contain parts of the circuits, there was an underlying structure to the circuitry which was built into the “board” which was essentially a quilt substrate. This underlying layer connected the game pieces with the power source and the Lilypad Arduino.

Players would take turns buttoning the pieces, each of which had lights, onto the substrate. Depending on whether the patches were positioned correctly, they would light up. Once all patches were placed in the right spot, the victory tune would play from a buzzer connected to the Arduino. However, if a patch was wrongly placed, the sad trombone tune would play and the game would be over.


How it worked:

The Arduino was programmed to determine whether the patches were in the correct places.

The conductive buttons were sewn on the substrate with conductive thread tied to the respective Arduino. The buttonholes on the pieces were lined with conducted fabric and thread to connect the lights on each piece. The buttons could then transfer electricity from the power source (the Arduino) to the buttonholes and thus to the light on the piece. The Arduino was connected to the buzzer informing it once all conditions were met.

The pieces looked like this:

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Besides the conductive lining on the buttonholes, they also had lights and magnets on the inside. Each buttonhole was assigned as either a positive or negative pole and connected to that respective pin on the light between the holes.


The magnets were covered in cloth and sewn in place.

It was set up so that each layer performed a different function:

The top purple and yellow layer made it possible to button on patches. The backside of each button had conductive metal which would touch the thread on each patch.


This layer also had eyes on on the backside of it to connect to the hooks on the layer below it.



The white second layer (seen below) had hooks fastened onto the above layer and transferred electricity. For each possible position to place a patch on the substrate, there is both a positive and negative connection from it to the Arduino. Arduinos checked whether a patch was placed, by finding out if the circuit was complete.

In between the second layer and the next one containing circuitry, an empty sheet of cloth was fitted in to prevent short-circuiting.

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This next layer had reed switches connected to Arduinos which could also detect whether there were patches on the quilt, by detecting the magnet inside the patch. This would complete the circuit.

Close up of an Arduino:

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On the reverse side, we sewed lights on in case we decided to hang it and have it viewed from both sides.

The lights would be visible on the back side, which had the quilted pattern below.

The idea of completing circuits was then carried over to our new eBee game, where each patch is part of an all-encompassing overarching circuit.