Interface design

When I was thinking about what to change about the Treasure game interface, I thought about my experience trying the treasure game in class. I didn’t get the game at all even though it’s suppose to be pretty easy to play. There is no instruction or whatsoever to tell the player what to do.

For this interface design, I plan to create like an alert pop-up message before the gameplay to let the player know how the game works. Unlike javascript, creating an alert message isn’t that easy in java. I searched on StackOverflow and it seems like I need an extra library or something.

The links weren’t that helpful when I tried out the code. I looked through Chris’ existing code and realized I could just add another button as a pop-up message. I went to the gameview tab to create a new text button class. I looked at how Chris created his opponent and player buttons and tried to estimate the location of the x and y coordinate as well as the size of the button.

Screen Shot 2019-03-12 at 11.21.46 PM

The width and height of the button are a bit tricky because of the text. I need to tinker with the font size on the style tab and the size of the button several times. I also explore the style tab on the RGB button and text colors.

Screen Shot 2019-03-12 at 11.30.21 PM

Link to download my file.


Dream Toy Part 3 – Final Design

“Little Big Planet Emerson Edition” by Sam Thanapornsangsuth and Lilian Lin
Suitcase cover

It was a pleasure designing with and for Emerson. I’m also very thankful to work with Lilian who is such a great maker! For our dream toy, we made a physical version of a PlayStation platform building game, “Little Big Planet.” Little Big Planet is Emerson’s all-time favorite game. It was his idea to make the game a physical version.

The game consists of a piece of 17*11 in. pegboard, 2 pieces of 8.5*11 in. pegboard, 5 laminated background variations, 6 original characters from Little Big Planet #3, 4 additional “boss” characters designed by Emerson and us. We include game-like items such as sticker bubbles, small and large platform pieces, and wooden toy pieces like a treasure box, a cage, ladders, zip lines, bouncing pads, and a smasher. Lastly, we also make simple machine miniatures such as a pulley, ramps, and lever.

Characters hand-made by air-dry clay

Apart from the hand-made characters, we also print “Sack Boy,” Emerson’s favorite character with Form Lab. We downloaded a file from Thingiverse.

Emerson requested a 4-eyed crab as one of the 4 bosses in the game
Laminated backgrounds for the game
Characters from Little Big Planet #3 by Emerson, as appeared on the suitcase cover
Emerson and his new toy!
The design team!

Play time!

Packing up! Time to go home.


Thanks to Lilian for the awesome photos!

Dream Toy Part 2 -Prototype

emerson gif
Emerson played with the level he created while controlling a price bubble with magnets.

We went to Emerson’s place with a cardboard suitcase, a pegboard, and several wooden platform-building pieces and simple machine miniatures. We made prototypes of his favorite characters with found materials from TLTL. Magnets are essential to our design as it created a magical playing experience. It allowed Emerson to control his favorite characters and bubbles as if they were automatically moving.

Newton prototype on a suitcase
Our platform-building pieces

Once Emerson saw the materials we brought, he knew exactly what to do with them. He had a lot of interesting ideas on the scrap pieces that we found from the laser-cut recycle bin. “This can be a cage, like a prison” or “This piece can be like a hammer that falls from the sky.”

Showing him the toy for the first time.
Emerson was setting up a zip line on the pegboard.


His sister, Maisie, helped out
Emerson was thinking about the items he wanted to add to the game

He thought of more items to add in the game and gave us his list.

Lastly, we asked him to draw the suitcase cover
Little Big Planet Emerson Edition!


Dream Toy Part 1

Interview protocol

Emerson, we are going to design a toy for you together. Before we start designing, I need to ask you several questions. Can you help me answer these questions?

  1. Can you show me the things that you like to play? Why do you like it?
  2. What is your favorite cartoon character? Why?
  3. What is your favorite color?
  4. Do you prefer soft or hard toy?
  5. Is there something that you particularly don’t like? Or something that I need to know about designing the toy for you?
  6. Take a look at these tools, what are something that you can make out of these materials?
  7. What subject do you like most at school?
  8. What is the thing that you wish you can get better at?
  9. If you can unlock one skill, what skill is that?
  10. Let’s draw out some ideas we have for the design.

A summary of the interview notes:

Emerson: 7 years old, Grade 1

Emerson and his sister were finishing their dinner at home when Nicola and I arrived. It took us around 30 minutes to encourage them to eat before we could begin the interview. I have known Emerson for about 4 years and I think we get along well. He was very comfortable being silly around me and was very playful when we began the interview. We sat at the dining table and sometimes he would sit or roll on the floor. Emerson’s favorite color is yellow. His favorite characters are from the show “Octonauts.” If he can unlock a new skill, he wanted to know how to climb a tree. He loves the game “Little Big Planet 3,” “Rayman Legends” and “Super Mario Party.” He likes the Super Marios Party because it is like a board game and it is fun. I think Emerson must really like the PlayStation’s Little Big Planet 3 mainly because it is the game that he has been talking about since I knew him (he always has new game or characters that he like every time I met him). Emerson likes the game because “there are a lot of stuff in there and a lot of items.” Little Big Planet 3 is a platform building game … His favorite character is Sackboy. We were looking on the interest to see his favorite characters from Little Big Planet 3 and Super Mario Party, and Emerson said “we should make a Little Big Planet 3 Make Set” I got very interested in his idea and got him a piece of paper so that we can start drawing. He said “I can make little levels for Sackboy. I like drawing.” He asked if I want to level to be “hard, normal, or easy.” Then he started to draw a platform game with multiple obstacles. He asked if I wanted a “skateboard level” and drew skateboard on the paper. I came up with an idea of a physical Little Big Planet game set which he can physically design his own levels and obstacle. We ended up playing Little Big Planet for the last 30 minutes. He showed me how the game worked.

Interview Video Link:

Game Play Video

IMG_20190215_192604 (1)
Emerson is my co-designer!
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Our plan
Emerson showed me Little Big Planet on the Play Station

A description of the initial idea(s) for the dream toy

  • What toy/toolkit did you and the kid converge on?
    • A physical game for building and designing a game platform game.
  • What are the learning goals of the toy?
    • Be able to design different variations of the game by himself.
    • Problem solve Grade 1 math concepts with the game design. (I will have a set “Newton Cards” (Newton is the bad guy in Little Big Planet 3) as design prompt/ challenge for him to create a platform game. Specifically shapes, addition, subtraction, units, and measurement. More info common core:
  • What design decisions did you make about the toy/toolkit, and why?
    • Kids can express themselves and create their own platform on the gameplay in the digital Little Big Planet 3. I want to create a game that is opened for Emerson to express himself and be creative with his design. Since “Little Big Planet 3” is his favorite game, he was very particular with the correctness of the items or characters in the games, I wanted to keep those major elements. Additionally, I want to design the game with the constructionist principle where he can playfully explore different elements of his own design alone or with peers. I also want to use this opportunity to have him explore basic math concepts.
  • Are you going to incorporate 3D fabrication into your toy or in your omni animal? If so, how?
    • Game suitcase: woodshop, laser cutter
    • Items in the game: laser cutter, 3D printing
    • Obstacle: woodshop, craft materials
    • Cards: photoshop

Reflective conclusion

  • How do your decisions for medium (virtual, physical, etc.), format (game, puzzle, free, tutorial, etc.) and interaction possibilities align with the learning goals?
    • The physical Little Big Planet set can help a child to learn essential math skills, particularly shapes, measurement, and basic arithmetic through prompts that will lead him to design a platform game.
  • What did you learn from the process about the kid, about the process itself, etc
    • It requires some flexibility when interviewing young children. The interview protocol is useful but not the most important. Sometimes emergent conversation or unexpected interaction is more helpful in working and understanding young participants. For Emerson, he wasn’t responsive in answering my interview questions but when I asked him to show me the games he likes or have him draw, he was very excited and engaged. He wanted to take a more active role in the interview.
  • What will you change when you do user research for your final project?
    • I will definitely be more flexible in the interview and make sure I ask a lot of “Why?” for further insights in understanding the needs of my users.

Photo on 2-15-19 at 6.21 PM

Praxis reflection- Rube Goldberg

Making the Rube Goldberg machine, I experienced how the construction of knowledge in the head happens best when constructing tangible objects and share in the world (Cole & Wertsch, 1996). The creation of an artifact allows me to externalize and iterate on my thinking throughout the making process. For example, when I was thinking about the functions that I could create from a Gogo board’s motor, I needed to externalize my idea through sketching (Figure 1 & 2). I came up with ideas like making a fan that would blow a ping pong ball to another direction; a pulley that would drag a basket of a ping pong ball up and down. I made a small prototype (Figure 3) to test out my idea. Turned out that making a fan wasn’t working well, so I moved on to the new design.

Figure 1&2: A sketch of what can I do with a Gogo Board’s motor

Figure 3: A quick prototype of a fan.
Figure 4: Pegboard inspiration from Pinterest

Engaging in a constructionist learning environment, I took an active role in my own learning by designing, building, and exploring my project ideas (Ackermann, 2001). I looked for inspiration for the new design on Youtube and Pinterest (Figure 4) and found that pegboard is a good and manageable start for a Rube Goldberg machine. I tinkered with materials, repurposing tools, and problem-solving design challenges. For instance, I started by measuring the diameter of the dowel (that I would cut out as pegs) and it was 0.25 cm. Then I printed out a circle with 0.25 cm diameter on plywood and found that the circle was too loose for the dowel to fit. I tinkered with different sizes by printing out multiple circles with the diameters of 0.24, 0.23, and 0.22; 0.23 was a perfect fit for the dowel peg. After that, I made more copies of the 0.23 circles and aligned them on illustrator to create a pegboard design. Being at the lab, Jonathan, Monica, and Yipu helped me with the woodshop tools, which I learned how to use these machines for the first time (Figure 5). This reflects Vygotsky’s work on the Zone of Proximal Development as it emphasized the level of which I am capable when working alone and the level that I’m capable of reaching with the help of an expert (Cole & Wertsch, 1996).

Figure 5: Me, working on the woodshop tools like a noob

Working toward the design of the Rube Goldberg machine, I experimented with different ways to design the layout and make the marble falls into places. At first, I made a sharp slide down which made the marble fell off the pegboard (Figure 5). Thus, I needed to redesign the layout so that it fell to each ramp smoothly. After a series of rolling marbles down the slopes, I learned to make my ramp less tilted and used small pieces of plywood so that the marble wouldn’t fell off the ramps. I contacted Melissa (the previous -stage group) and she said that she would splash water to trigger the rain sensor. I used a servo motor to start the marble rolling down on to the ramps. Once Melissa’s team splash the water to me, the marble will start rolling. I often met Elliot and Qi at the lab and we discussed different sensors that we would use as a transition. We ended up with a light sensor. To end that, the marble runs down the ramp and stops on top of the proximity sensor. The proximity sensor triggers a motor that is attached to a string. The string pulls up a small box. The box exposes the light sensor for the Elliot and Qi’s machine (Figure 7).

Figure 6: My first layout for the ramps
Figure7: The Design- 2/11
With my teammate

Video link


Upcycling- Teapot cover

I love Marimekko print but the fabric is pretty pricey (like $50-$60 per yard). For this project, I modified a Marimekko pot holder that I got when it was on sale for $12 to a teapot cover.

tea time gif

My old Marimekko pot holder I got for $12

Most of my friends know that I’m obsessed with tea…

These aren’t all of them. I have several more in the cabinet.
Took the existing fabric apart
I sewed on a piece of black felt onto each piece of fabric

Once I finished sewing felts to both pieces of fabric. I sewed both sides together.

I sewed both sides together with the felt sides out. I made round stitches on the upper corners.
Flipped it over… Tada!

We Bare Bears: #Bearstack

I’m obsessed with the Cartoon Network’s We Bare Bears show! For the lab’s first project, I made the famous #bearstack

giphy giphy (1)

Started off with several sketches on my notebook

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Gave up with Inkscape and used illustrator…

First try: Face on the side or face in the front?

screen shot 2019-01-30 at 12.15.01 am

Sideway is better


Trying the legs joint


Getting the Panda right with the stripes on the body!

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When Panda is done, Griz and Ice bear are pretty easy! There are some edits to make on the back and the joints so that bears can stack!

Screen Shot 2019-01-29 at 11.23.06 PM.png


Glue gun helps keeping some pieces together






Week 9




This week updates: Succeed in cutting origami charms. I love the clear acrylic. I might want to try printing a bigger version of the chandelier soon. I also explored different positions of the light.


Here’s the video of how the shadow works with the light below. The shadow reflected on the ceiling.

Week 8



Activity Timeline
Complete Prototype design Oct 30- Nov 3
Complete Arduino/ Physical computing component Nov 6- 17
Design and print out a larger final design Nov 20-30
Finalize design Dec 1-15

Week 7



Prototype #1 of an origami bird chandelier. I downloaded the joint part of the chandelier from Thingiverse and made several edits to play more with light and shadow. This is an incomplete work. I still have to edit the design especially on the silhouette print.

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 1.18.15 PM

Periodic Update #3

This week, I don’t have much update as it is a midterm week from me (boo.) I’ve spent most of my time researching on different variation of chandelier made by laser cutter. I particularly look into joints and connection of different pieces cut by the machine and explore different ways I could create my own. I still have a bird design in mind and I was to happy to find a picture of whale chandelier (picture below). I think is also one of the possible design direction I could do. I still like my idea of origami bird but I want to include the 3D perspectives into the design.


joints in chandeliers


Animal inspired chandelier.

different design available on the internet

Short-term action plan moving forward- daily/incremental plan: exploring joints and connection between pieces in my design.
Next stage (Long term action plan): Finalize the design! I want to move on the incorporating physical computing part. 

Blog post Week 5

Research & Troubleshooting:

This week I’ve been working on the prototype of my Chandelier with illustrator so that I could have a printable file and picture how my end project looks like. From last week, I’ve finalized my bird design as an origami figure. I’ve been tinkering with the designs and different variation of birds’ origami motions. I searched in Pinterest for reference and designed 3 of the motions on illustrator.


Explorations/ testing/ Reflection

I printed out the design and thought that it would be nice to have some pieces as silhouette and some pieces with origami print. I printed the pieces out and explore different layout by tiding them all together with yarn. From here I want to experience with more ways I can create a pattern with the wooden pieces. Maybe I’ll tide them on 4 sides instead of 2 sides. Maybe I’ll use difference materials.



(thinking about creating more patterns with theses pieces)

My next stage:

  1. Print out more of the pieces and experiment with patterns
  2. Work on my code on arduino
  3. Physical computing project: combine chandelier and arduino together!

Short term:

Try out different materials like cloth and clear acrylic for the structure of the chandelier.


Week 4

Research & Troubleshooting:

Last week I looked into available resources online on arduino and mini speaker. I found a tutorial that it easy to implement with a thorough instruction on microcontroller connections and access to github on code. Apart from the speaker component of my chandelier, I want to make the music to activate with light sensor. I’m currently in the stage where I’m tinkering with code. I ordered some arduino parts (SD card adapter, mini SD card, and speaker)  from Amazon and hope to play with the hardware components once the part has arrived (hopefully by Monday).

Explorations/ testing/ Reflection

This week I made a draft of my design. Inspired by The Beatles song “Blackbird.” I want explore different materials that represent bird, freedom, and oppression. (Lyrics below).

Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly

All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise

Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these sunken eyes and learn to see

All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to be free

Black-bird fly

Black-bird fly, into the light of a dark black night

Black-bird fly

Black-bird fly, into the light of a dark black night

Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly

All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise

you were only waiting for this moment to arise

you were only waiting for this moment to arise

During class, I’ve listened to the song in loop and listed out 5 words that stood out from the lyrics: 1) fly, 2) light, 3) broken wings, 4) waiting, 5) free. The word light can be easily represented by chandelier. “Fly” and “Free” can be portrayed through different actions and variation of bird. The picture below is my plan in term of atheistic and design. I thought of origami design of bird as it doesn’t look like a free bird. It gives me the feeling  that they are “waiting to be free”.



My next stage:

  1. Create a prototype of the chandelier with illustrator and laser cut in on a cardboard.
  2. Work on my code on arduino
  3. Physical computing project: combine chandelier and arduino together!

Short term:

keep designing chandelier variation on illustrator. I also want to try out different materials like feather and construction paper for the structure of the chandelier.



Week 3

Part I

Research:What are some areas you can research related to your project ideas? List some specific websites, books, resource platforms that can help you in this area. Posted below is a resource list for this class.

The Beatles Chandelier project: My main sources of inspiration are Pinterest, Apartment Therapy, and Instructable. I want to look into different designs and techniques in creating DIY Chandelier and think about how I could incorporate The Beatles lyrics or my interpretation of their songs to my design. I also want to learn more about art of lighting and explore different lighting techniques. The article below is pretty useful to me.–cms-20282

The workshop today with Jie Qi inspired me to explore further with micro controller. I may want to include light or even music as a part of interactive feature to the chandelier. I’ll look into tutorial online about incorporating music on Arduino as I’ve never tried it before

Below are some creative designs that inspired me


Explorations: What are some concrete things you can explore during work time in our next class, Monday, Oct. 2?

I think I want to start making prototype by exploring different materials like cardboard, paper, ropes. I also want to look into functions on micro controller like Arduino or Gogo board that can plays MP3 if possible.

What materials do you need now? What materials do you think you might need down the line?

Now: Arduino, cardboard, flashlight, paper, rope, cloth, wire

In the future: similar materials with my prototype but better quality, plywood

What tools do you need now? What tools do you think you might need down the line?Now: Arduino

Future: speaker, MP3 player shield that goes with the Arduino, laser cutter (I can use it at Snow Day Lab)

Week 2

I’m struggling with what I want to do for my final project. I find it’s a bit weird designing whatever I want as I used to design learning tools/toys for young kids. When it comes to what I really want I thought of two totally different things: 1) house decoration or 2) remote control mopping machine (something like iRobot Braava with Swiffer wet, no water tank).

For house decoration, I’m inspired by Scandinavian and Japanese design. I want it to be simple yet functional. I have several ideas like 2D-3D animal trophy using plywood with laser cutter, chair (shop bot), and lamp. In summer, I made a set of the Beatles coasters with inspired by their lyrics. I might make a lamp inspired by their songs and try to design the lamp with interesting light projection.  This could be done by adobe illustrator and laser cutter.

For the mopping machine, I thought of designing it like a remote control car with a Swiffer sweeper attached at the back. This will require me to program an Arduino that goes together with the car parts made from acrylic.

However, when I think about the tools want to learn more on fabrication, I listed Lilypad Arduino and embroidering machine. I came up with the idea of kids blanket fort with sewable electric. This doesn’t excite me though. I guess my challenge is to think about meaningful project that allows me to learn these tools.

Due the time constraint in class, I didn’t have enough time to receive feedback from my classmates but looking forward for another opportunity next time.

A&HA5128 Week1


What are the unspoken rules in a maker centered environment

  1. Everyone is already a maker
  2. Maker is not hacker
  3. Making is not just about robots and rockets
  4. Make something that is personally meaningful to you
  5. The purpose of making doesn’t have to be utilitarian!
  6. Process is more important about product! Purpose is the most important of all.
  7. Making alone is cool, making with peers is better!
  8. Makers gonna make.
  9. You are allowed to break things.
  10. We need more women in maker centered environment.
  11. Don’t leave laser cutter running unattended.

Assignment- My most memorable assignment:

My undergraduate professor assigned me and my classmates to attend the exhibition “Dialogue in the Dark.” At that time, all I knew about the exhibition was that I would travel through the exhibition with the light off. Dialogue in the Dark was designed for its visitors to experience daily life in the perspective of the blinds. Led by a specialist (who always warned us about bumps on the floor or when to turn left or right), we held hands like kindergarteners and explored our daily routines in the dark like buying grocery, eating at a cafe, or cross the streets. We maximized our senses of touch, taste, smell and sound.

It was a mess for me throughout the exhibition. I fell and walked into poles several times. I was super glad we made it to the end and I could finally “see” again. However, what I saw wasn’t just the “Thank you” sign at the exit. Turned out that our “specialist” was blind. We all sat and chatted with him with amazement. From that day on, my perspective about the blind has never been the same.