Interaction Design + Rapid Prototyping: Zen Master

Created: 08/14/13
Last Edited: 01/25/14
Zen Master is a game created in Processing controlled by a hacked EEG brainwave reader and an Arduino. The game is meant to act as a guilt machine in order to keep the user humble, while they learn Zen practices such as "meditation" and "concentration".
  • Hacking and Controlling Zen Master was my final project for Programming for Interaction. In this class we learned basic programming and hacking methods for rapid prototyping methods. I hacked a Mindflex to act as a controller. Mindflex is a child's game that picks up EEG brain readings, so that a child can raise and lower a foam ball controlled by the head set, powered by a small fan in the game's console.
  • Tweaking I wanted to create a brain controlled video game. After soldering a new connection to one of the data ports in the headset I was able to control within a sketch within an Arduino programming environment either up and down controls or left and right, but due to not enough independent data from the device, not both. This led me to adding a potentiometer to the newly reconstructed headpiece, so that the user would access to both sets of controls simultaneously.
  • Zen Master I created a game (sketch) in Processing, called Zen Master, to be controlled with the hacked headpiece. Zen Master is a guilt machine in the form of a video game that is meant to teach the user zen practices by improving the users concentration and meditation methods.
  • How the Game Works The goal of each level is to move the rock from one pedestal to the other. In order to raise and lower the pebble the user has to "concentrate" by focusing or "meditate" by not focusing. While doing that the user uses the potentiometer in tandem to move left and right.  Each level's difficulty increases by changing the height of the pedestals. If the rock goes off screen the player loses their turn.
  • With the completion of each level the users is rewarded with a depressing facts about the world, nature and  politics. The facts are meant to invoke guilt in the user. Ideally it will be this guilt that humbles and motivates them to be a better, more patient person.

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