tldr; In 2015, the student representatives for electrical engineering at RWTH Aachen university rebuilt an awesome childhood game.
|While I was studying at RWTH Aachen University, I was part of the student representatives for electrical engineering (FSET) for a few semesters. We were elected each semester and besides representing the students in different bodies within the university, we were in charge of welcoming the new students. Luckily, a fund from the university allowed us to spend money specifically for the new arriving students each year for things like building games, renting an inflatable human-soccer-field or having a BBQ. One time in march 2015 I received a message from a friend while I was on holiday: “Martin! do you know the ‘Arktos Superspiel *(1)’? From Tabaluga TV? Do you think we can build this for the first semester student welcome?” I remembered an ‘ice-field’ represented by hexagonal, lit up plates where the children on the TV show were shown a ‘safe path’ step by step. Then, the markings disappeared and they had to walk across the field by remembering the path. Awesome idea, I thought and replied “Well, it’s gonna take a lot of hard work and probably ~3000€ for the materials but yeah, sure we can!”.
After being back from my south-america-trip , we started brainstorming and prototyping. Thanks to many helping hands, we recreated this childhood-memory as a game with 60 fields for the first semester students and even won a price at the university.
The game is built as a set of 20 modules with 3 ‘ice-fields’ and an RF-module each; supplied by 10 computer-power-supply-modules. 2 transport-wagons were allowed us to store and transport the game and a software with a GUI allowed an easy, setup and automatic generation of the ‘path’ as well as measuring the missteps.
=> about 4.000 watt power-consumption and lots of fun!
It’s important to note that all of us worked without pay and spent many hours of our free time (even during the exam phase) to create an awesome experience for the first semester students. Thanks again to everyone who helped to realize this idea!
Some of the main issues we encountered:
Ps: To avoid any risk for the students / children that might play the game, we kept all self-built parts at the 12V-level and used standard PC-power-supplies to power the game.
(*1) The name ‘Arktos superspiel’ is most likely trademarked by Tabaluga TV but not know outside of the german speaking community. If you want to know more about the game, feel free to google the name and rewatch some old episodes on their channels/websites
As if 720 RGB and 720 warmwhite LEDs* wasn’t enough for a living room… [* 2*12m Led strips on the walls] – I added a light-up table!
Back in 2007 the first of my friends moved out from their parents home and got her own appartment. We celebrated – and I gave her a color-changing lounge-table like the ones our favourite bar had. It was a simple, wooden 50*50 frame with 4 legs, an acrylic-glass top and a color-changing LED-lightbulb.
Years later, in 2017, I bought my first sofa creating the need for a coffee table. As a tribute to the ‘Schollenspiel’ we created the year before, I decided to go for a hexagonal table with LED-strips, similar to the 60 LED-‘ice-floes’. [article and pictures of the game will be added in the near future]
Here’s what the building process looks like:
The frame is composed of white cupboard-shelfes and outfitted with 3 legs and wheels. An extension cord enters through the bottom to connect the power supply. The LEDs are arranged on a wooden hexagon, soldered together and placed on top of the receiver and power supply. To avoid the visibility of individual LEDs, the acrylic glass is coverd with sticky foil and then placed on top of the wooden rests on each side. A plastic corner-cover keeps the ‘glass’ in place and ensures spilled coffee/beer won’t get to the electronics.
As you can see, the LED-strips I still had lying around had 2 different tones of blue – and the wifi-controller in the pictures isn’t Alexa compatible. I since replaced these LED strips to have a unified colorspace and put in a controller similar to the one powering my wall-LEDs.
The LEDs can be controlled via smartphone or voice-control via Alexa.
The last picture shows a hexagonal wall-mounted frame with a Tequila-hat on display. It’s based on a hexagonal tray I found in a store and omitts the acrylic glass. The ‘picture’ is thin black plastic stuck to sticky foil and the LED strip runs around the inner edge of the tray. I’ve built a few of these simplified, wifi controllable versions so far =).
– ~6m RGB-LED-Strip
– a wifi-led-controller (magic home compatible)
– a 12V 60W power supply
– extension cord with in-line switch
– a hexagonal inner-plate for LEDs
– a hexagonal bottom-plate of wood
– a hexagonal 6mm acrylic glass top
– plastic corner-cover + silicone
– white sticky foil as diffusor
– six side-covers, 100mm high
– inner wooden rests for glass
– 3 legs with attached wheels
– screws, glue, metal-angles, wire & solder
I’ve always loved LEDs sind I built my first 5mm-LED Flashlight in a ballpen-casing back in 1999. So LEDs were bound to become a part of my new appartment. For watching TV, partying or simply a nice, dimmable light I wanted to have indirect LED-lighting in my living room. Without wasting much space or money, I decided to mount it on the walls: A small cable-canal offeres a great solution to mount LED strips facing upwards and/or downwards while a black wooden cover-plane (~5cm tall) serves as ‘shade’ to avoid the glare of individual LEDs. Two RGBW-LED-controllers offer wifi connectivity and control via smartphone, tablet or Alexa (via the ‘Magic Home’ App). Here’s how the ~ 12m Warmwhite and ~12m RGB-Led-Strip look in my living room:
As you can see, they are bright enough to replace conventional lighting entirely.
Shopping-List ~ 130€:
– RGB-LED Strip, 60 -LEDs/m, 12m 24€
– WarmWhite LED-Strip, 60 LEDs/m, 12m 20€
– RGBW Wifi controller, *2 30€
– Power Supply, 60W *2 30€
– Cabel-Canal, 12m 8€
– Wooden 100cm*5cm*0.4cm-Panel * 14, 13€
– short screws, rawplugs, hot glue, black paint, 4m DC-cables & Tools