BouncyIrises, a Physical/Digital Interaction Game

Arduino Craft & Design Workshop
BouncyIrises, a Physical/Digital Interaction Game



First year ITP student Xuedi (“Zoodie”) Chen presented this awesome physical/virtual game installation as part of ITP’s Winter Show.

The physical game board has 5 irises staggered at the bottom. The irises will open and close by the use of servos working behind the game board. A processing sketch is projected onto the board with circles in positions corresponding to each iris.

Particles/balls/objects fall from the top. The objective of the game is to catch these objects by opening the irises. To open an iris, the player presses the button on a physical controller, which triggers the servos. Each iris will only stay open for 2 seconds then closes again. If the object hits an open iris, player scores a point (iris lights up/blinks). If it hits a closed iris, it will bounce off and change its vector. At that point, the player still has the chance to catch it by opening one of the irises in the next row. If the object is never caught, it falls off the screen and disappears.

Five Arduino-controlled 3D printed irises are powered by five servos. A collision detection algorithm in Processing is used to define the areas of the irises and track the positions of objects. The laser-cut acrylic irises for the project were inspired by thing 31855 on Thingiverse. And you can download the BouncyIrises Arduino and Processing code on Xuedi’s ITP project page.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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