Friendship & French Fries

A podcast & blog about life and the creative pursuit of happiness

[BearBooth aka The Box] Update

[BearBooth aka The Box] Update

After the playtest last Thursday, we walked away with a couple of learnings:

  1. people think the twitter thing is creepy–so that’s gotta go
  2. Users like being able to see their photos immediately, so we need to find a way to make that happen
    1. a suggestion was to project it on the outside so that people will want to do it again, I think we’re gonna go with that.
  3. We need to prepare the space (inside the box) more, people are still having a hard time wrapping their head around what it actually is/does
  4. Look into the possibility of having the light just be white, instead of RGB
  5. The pictures we got are just awesome


  1. we’re gonna stick with the bears (so I guess that’s not a change).
    1. half of them will go around the users face for the “family picture”
    2. the other half will be on servo motors at the end of the box moving side-to-side–emulating a cheering/happy movement
  2. change the track to include different “yays” or cheers, and loop it
  3. Output: the pictures will be projected on the wall outside the box, and will have a gold frame around them to give the feeling of a big family portrait
    1. we may upload them to a flickr or another type of account so that people can download their picture if they want
  4. dimensions: 16x x 18y x 16z. we get two box walls out of 1 acrylic panel.
  5. If time allows: have confetti being blown by a fan inside the box to add another playful element to the experience


After the playtesting, we wanted to hit the ground running and get everything done. So the next day we went for the acrylic and got it got (and some panels ruined) so that we would know exactly how big the box needed to be since we were building that on Saturday. We finally settled for the typical 4-sided box shape after trying out many shapes and discovering that was probably the best for the illusion to be most effective.


Once the acrylic was cut, we met up with Katie Takacs–another first year who’s a fabrication genius and works in the scenic shop for the dance department–and she helped us build our beautiful box and actually have something more to show than some janky foam with makeshift mirrors glued to it. Happy we’ve moved on from these dark days in our lives.

Once our beautiful enclosure was fabricated and complete, we painted on Sunday (on the window ledge, because we live on the edge…. or because there was no room anywhere else) and while it was drying got to work on securing some servo motors and figuring out how to merge all of the pieces of the code together.

IMG_5426 (1)

That’s when things took a dark turn (if only for a second). We got the motors to work on an individual code but when we combined it with our existing code, things broke. At first it was creating a delay with the lights, which we fixed, but then it was making it so that only the blue lights would turn on… and not the red or the green. We got help from several second years but even they couldn’t figure it out…. until Sam came around, and after a WHILE we were able to figure out that apparently the Arduino servo library disables pin 9 and 10 from AnalogWrite…. which we were using to dim the lights and randomly circle through the RBG colors.
We moved the pins around, decided to ditch the green light altogether (not enough PMW pins on the Arduino boards we have) and we made it work! We still have to tweak and really fix the code, but for now it’s somewhat working again.

IMG_3813 IMG_3816

Once that was solved, we went to work on cutting out the back panels for both the acrylic and the wood to make sure the motors can poke through. We did some minimal damage to the box, but nothing that is a huge eyesore and/or can’t be hidden. We also cut out the front panel since the first pass was broken and terrible, and did around 4-5 cardboard tests before we settled in for the perfect design–which still didn’t work as we were a couple of millimeters off on the edge and had to sand it down to fit. C’est la vie!
Lastly, we were finally able to figure out the position of the camera and cut out the perfect square hole for it to fit. My new favorite tool? The jigsaw. It’s the bomb diggity.




Now, on to the finish line. We glued the bottom and side panels and left them to set overnight. Now, it’s on to mounting the back panel and the motors, as well as the front panel with the soft switch and running the wires through the box. Once all of that is done, we just need to affix the lights, mount the bears (they’ve been lost in the NYU mail for two weeks now, and we’re out of time) and figure out the projection–the latter can be done later if need be.

To-do list
To-do list

So much to do, so little time!

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