Week 11 – Final Project Concept

Growing up, I used to love playing with pinball machines in malls and carnival parks, so I would like to recreate the same fun that I had as a kid in my final project. My concept revolves around replicating a traditional pinball machine using Arduino and P5.js. By combining the power of Arduino and P5.js, I will be able to create a physically and digitally interactive pinball game, and I hope to bring the joy and challenge of playing pinball into a more modern and unique setting.

Pinball machine

Through switches that control the flippers on P5.js, users will have the objective of scoring as many points as possible before losing the ball, just like in a classic arcade setting, being able to mimic the experience of playing a pinball machine. Many dynamics could be added to the game, and I am excited to explore sensors that I could potentially use.

Week 11 – Reading Reflection

In “Design Meets Disability”, I found myself agreeing with most of the author’s arguments, especially when it came to balancing problem-solving and playful exploration in design. However, while I believe that products for people with disabilities could be more playful and focused on aesthetics, I also recognize that personal preferences vary. Some individuals may prefer traditional products that mimic the human body, while others may lean toward more fashionable or visually appealing options. Recognizing this diversity of taste and choice is essential.


Moreover, in exploring the history of design and utility in products for people with disabilities, the reading provided intriguing insights. It was interesting to learn about the various examples, such as glasses becoming more of a fashion item in some cases. This highlights the cultural role that fashion plays in the acceptance of products designed for individuals with disabilities, but it makes sense if you think about it. It is much easier to make glasses look more visually appealing than let’s say crutches because glasses are not as invasive and can sometimes even enhance visuals. From a positively stereotypical perspective, they can sometimes make someone appear smarter or more intellectual, but I cannot think of any appeal in a lot of other products for people with disabilities.

Week 10 – Reading Discussion

“The Future of Interactive Design” was an entertaining and reflective read about the future of interaction in digital products. I agree with all of the points made by the author, and I found his disappointment with the obsession with touchscreens in Future Technology very relatable. Watching the Microsoft productivity video reminded me of the hilarious fan creations of future video game consoles such as the infamous “Xbox 720” that you have probably seen 14 years ago. It is funny to see that this whole obsession with glassy touch screens and the use of hand motions represents a certain period of the past more than accurately representing the future of interactivity. 

Moreover, his points about the feelings with hands also made me reflect on the usage of everyday objects. I always had a strong preference for physical books rather than PDFs, but I never cared enough to think about it. It is pretty obvious though, that the sensation of the paper in your hands and the weight of the book makes the interaction way more pleasant than just staring at a screen and moving your fingers. I suppose that explanation works for many other objects as mentioned by the text, and from now on I will make sure to appreciate dynamic mediums much more. As a side note, I also related to the author’s frustrations with the response text. Not everything has to provide a solution, sometimes expressing problems is just as valuable. After all, we need to start somewhere if we want to change the course of how things are going, and for that reason, I admire the author’s text even more.

Week 10: Instrument


Instrument: piano.

Team members:  Fady John (fje3683) and Victor Alves Gomes Nadu (va2269).

For our instrument project, we have decided to create a piano that plays different tones of the musical scale depending on the measured distance that someone is from the sensor. To build the instrument on the breadboard, we utilized an ultrasonic sensor, LEDs, resistors, and jumper wires, creating an interactive and dynamic musical experience. The analog ultrasonic sensor was responsible for measuring the distance, allowing for an intuitive interaction with the piano. As the user moves closer or farther away, the musical output changes, providing a unique take on the instrument. As for the LEDs, they add a visual element to the project besides also offering an understanding of the distance-based musical scale since they light up corresponding to the played notes.


In the code, we defined the specific pins used for each LED and provided the notes in the musical scale in the form of an array.

// notes in the musicalScale:

int musicalScale[] = {

262, 294, 330, 349, 392, 440, 493, 523


int ledPins[] = {

9, 12, 11, 10, 9, 12, 11, 10


void setup() {


pinMode(trigPin, OUTPUT);

pinMode(echoPin, INPUT);




Reflections and improvements

Initially, we planned to create drums, but we ended up settling on a piano since that was a more feasible and practical instrument. As for improvements, currently, the distance sensor is not that accurate, which is something that could be worked on. Other than that, we have managed to create something fun and so we are proud of our work.

Reading Reflection – Week 9

“Physical Computing’s Greatest Hits (and misses)” was a fun and inspiring read about physical computing and some examples of projects that were done throughout the years. Although this is my first time using hardware to create interactive projects, I have had a lot of enjoyment so far, and reading about these projects motivates me to learn more about Arduino and hopefully come up with my own takes on them. By far the projects that most caught my attention were the theremin-like instruments, the dolls and pets, and the remote hugs. 

First, when it comes to hardware, I believe that instruments are one of the most effective and fun tools to exercise creativity. For instance, the drum glove turns a mundane activity into something that people could actually use to learn drumming and spend their free time with. Not only is it entertaining, but it is also convenient, and I believe that people of all ages would find joy in such a technology. The dolls and pets one is also interesting, and it is something that I see many kids or even adults enjoying depending on the context of the product, such as a physical version of Tamagotchi which could captivate both Millennials and Gen Z. Finally, the remote hugs intrigued me. I do not think such a tool would be convenient as a commercialized product, but I do think it opens doors to a set of captivating technologies that could be used in virtual reality games or even in long-distance relationships.

Meanwhile, “Making Interactive Art: Set the Stage, Then Shut Up and Listen” made me reflect on the purpose of interactive art and how it should be conducted to the public. I strongly agree with the author when it comes to how people should approach interactive art. To me, it is intuitive that too much information can ruin an interactive experience. If the author is micromanaging the user and explaining every single detail based on his perspective, then there is no mystery in the project, no room for interpretation, and no way of knowing how people truly approach your work, leaving a diminished experience and a lack of observations.

Week 8 – Switch

For the unusual switch assignment, I have decided to utilize a keychain and a shot glass to create an unusual switch. The idea is that you signify that you are done drinking by closing the shot glass with the sombrero keychain on top. Because both items have conductive materials, the LED turns on after the shot glass that is connected with a jumper wire touches the keychain that also has another jumper wire attached to it. The result can be seen in the video:

Although that is an extremely simple concept, I had fun brainstorming until I came up with this. The visuals are also not the most pleasing since only tape was used, but my main concern was with the concept itself.

Reading Reflection – Week 8

Donald A. Norman’s “Emotion & Design: Attractive Things Work Better” was a pleasant read about the importance of the balance between beauty and usability. When it comes to products, especially digital ones, one of the most important characteristics to me is beauty, or, in other words, how aesthetically pleasing a design is. This necessity makes sense considering that beauty increases the satisfaction of the user when using a product, as explained by the author. Now, of course, there is a whole scientific explanation behind this idea, but honestly, I am not that interested in that, since this is such an intuitive concept to me.

For instance, the author gives the example that although colored monitors offer no advantage over black and white ones when it comes to displaying data, everyone strongly prefers them. The fact that colors offer more intrinsic pleasure to the users is incredibly obvious to me. Humans are not robots that just perform tasks over and over again thinking only about usability; we also care about aesthetics and entertainment, and that is precisely why products that look better will always be more successful, even if their performance is a bit inferior.

Moreover, attraction is so important that aesthetics are an actual driving force when it comes to your work style. Some people are essentially driven by the beauties of life, just as much as others are motivated by knowledge or power, for example. Even eating a sandwich cut in half somehow makes it taste better than just eating it plainly for me; that is how much we can be influenced by looks.

The other text, “Her Code Got Humans on the Moon—And Invented Software Itself” was also quite interesting. It is fascinating to me to see the great things that people can accomplish when they are so driven and focused on their objectives. The passage where Hamilton mentioned when she would think about the headlines was especially compelling.

Week 5 – Midterm


“Remy the Rat” is a dark visual novel about a comical and relatable experience related to pets. It tells the story of a teenager that forgets to feed his brother’s rat, and his attempt in solving the issue.


All of the background drawings were made by me on Paint. They are extremely minimalistic, almost like they could have been made by a five year old, but truthly that was the aesthetic that I was trying to achieve. This rough look is also enhanced by the doodled dialogue boxes of the library p5.scribble. The background music was also done by me, being the recording of boiling meat tweaked on Audacity.

Below are some pictures:

Future Improvements

Unfortunately, I was not able to add some of the game mechanics that I wanted to, such as controlling the sprites of a character, or choosing your own paths, which could have improved the concept and the replayability of the game. Nonetheless, I am satisfied with the final product, and I believe that taking a more minimalistic approach was more effective.

Week 5 – Midterm Progress


Something that I have always been interested in but never had the opportunity to make is visual novels. Having the option to influence and experience a story with your own choices is a concept that has always fascinated me in video games, and I believe that P5.js would be great for that. Through this form of interactive fiction, I would be able to tell a story that would not only be engaging but also intriguing, creating something that would look aesthetically pleasing while also invoking several emotions.

In regards to the story, my intention is to depict a weird and disturbing yet comical narrative, focused on making the user uncomfortable. Topics will most likely be related to dark themes, but in subtle and fun ways in order to not cheaply shock the user.


My initial inspiration for the visual novel came from the game “Phucker in the Woods”, due to its bizarre storyline and visuals. What captures my attention is the uncanny design of the characters, something that I want to replicate although in a minimalistic way. The ambient and sounds will be dark, using mostly black and white colors and eerie ambient music and sound effects. The storyline will be short and simple, but with different choices that the player can make, altering the endings. Each screen will have drawn characters and objects along with dialogues.

Below is an example of the character which the player will follow:

Additionally, I would like to implement different game mechanics as opposed to just using the point-and-click aspect of a visual novel. Two of these mechanics could be scenes in which the player can control the character and walk around the screen by using sprites and the “keyIsDown” function, and a maze scene in which the player controls a cursor.

Frightening / Challenging Aspects

  • Coding the logic of screen transitions after each choice
  • Implementing an engaging story within a reasonable amount of resources and lines of code
  • Applying different game mechanics under one project

Risk Prevention

  • Utilize boolean variables to update the screen after each choice
  • Write a concise story with a limited amount of choices and refactoring the code as much as possible
  • Only focus on the point and click aspect or make the scenes with different mechanics as simple as possible