Overkill // final post

Here is the synopsis of what Overkill is about taken from my previous post.


A game where you judge each other’s moral and ethical decisions.


In the year 3221, planet Earth has become inhospitable due to overpopulation. The human population exceeds the carrying capacity of the Earth. In order to decrease the population and save the Earth, a new law governs that the dictator has to choose a group of people to cull.

  1. A dictator is chosen from the four players.
  2. The counters are placed onto the tiles.
  3. Players have to decide which they think the dictator has chosen to kill.
  4. Earn a point if you choose the same as the dictator.
DEMOGRAPHICS: Who are we killing?

Game Instructions:
  1. Press the Start Button and a dictator will be chosen at random amongst the 4 players. If your light is lit up, that means you are the dictator for that round.
  2. Place your counters onto the red and blue tiles, a minimum of 15 counters must be placed.
  3. After placing the counters, press the play button and one red & one blue tile will be lit up.
  4. Within 10 seconds, players are to decide which they think the dictator will choose to kill, the red or blue representative by pressing your red or blue buttons.
  5. Once the time is up, your light will lit up if you have chosen the same as the dictator.
  6. Press the reset button to start a new round.

Ohmy, this project has been one heck of a ride.

I first began by testing out a trial game with two groups of people. The first group gave me insights into the game that I didn’t take notice of, such as how personalities of players can be taken into consideration. The second group, however, were a little more critical on the conceptual aspect of the game. Basically, they wished the message was a little stronger. Nonetheless, I didn’t want to delve too much into the story of the game because I envision the game to be easily understood and intuitive for the players without having to go into too much detail.

Trial game with makeshift paper board and counters

After the trials, I started working on the form of the board game.

Initially, I designed the board in a 300mm by 600mm dimension as seen below.

However, the feedback given by the class was that the dimensions did allow for an equal level of playing field for players. A simple solution was to create a square board game, ensuring equality for all 4 players. Previously, I was constrained by the size because the Print Centre’s laser cutting machine can only take a maximum of 300mm by 600mm. With Jeffrey’s and Minjee’s (work-study for the print centre) feedback, the laser cutting machine from the PD workshop will work better in my case.

Crafting the model took a lot of trial and error to ensure proper construction. Thus, I spend way too long on Illustrator, working out the dimensions as well as the look and feel.

Once I was ready, it was time to laser cut.

Counters were a little too small during my first laser cut

The next part was working on the code and circuit. Realising that I require many pins, I decided to work with Arduino Mega. To be completely honest, the technological aspect of the project is pretty simple; buttons and led diodes. What makes it complicated though, is the number of wires.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to incorporate the trap door idea using servo motors into the board game. The number of wires without the 10 servo motors is already pretty overwhelming.

I struggled for a fair bit with the wires and it soon proved to be my downfall. Before the end of semester show, I was caught up with trying to just plug in all the wires without having proper cable management. Thus, this resulted in the Arduino Mega to shortcircuit in the early morning of the End of Semester Show. I believe this was due to there being many exposed and loose wires.

Some of my classmates also gave me feedback on how to properly manage the wires such as, using different colour wires and taping down the exposed wires. Taking their feedback into consideration, I redid all the wiring.

This is an image of the wires before the end of semester show.

After the end of semester show, (thank you to Jeffrey and Galina for allowing me to continue working on this project!), I tested all the wirings first to ensure that everything is still functioning. I created several test codes to check that the buttons and lights are working.

After checking, I plugged out all the wires again and tried my best to group and tighten the wires down. Here is a before and after.

Once I ensured that all the wires are properly managed, now I can get down to business and modify my code wherever necessary.

And there you have it, that is how Overkill was made.


  • I believe I paid too much attention to the appearance of the board game that I neglected my wirings and code whereas, for my previous projects, I prioritised the wirings and code. Nonetheless, this time I am pretty proud of the overall aesthetic of the board game, even though it is simple.



I can’t emphasise this enough. But lesson learnt; when you are working with many wires, always ensure everything is labelled and use coloured wires.


  • There are many things I wish I could add or improve to the board game. Nonetheless, I’ll continue developing the project whenever I can. For now, I hope you enjoyed playing Overkill as much as I enjoyed creating and making this project!


overkill // not-so-final-pitch


A game where you judge each other’s moral and ethical decisions.


In the year 3221, planet Earth has become inhospitable due to overpopulation. The human population exceeds the carrying capacity of the Earth. In order to decrease the population and save the Earth, a new law governs that the dictator has to choose a group of people to cull.

  1. A dictator is chosen from the four players.
  2. The counters are placed onto the tiles.
  3. Players have to decide which they think the dictator has chosen to kill.
  4. Earn a point if you choose the same as the dictator.
DEMOGRAPHICS: Who are we killing?



Liftware Steady // Devices of the Week (Senses/Metaphorical)

The Liftware Steady is designed to aid people with hand tremors to comfortably have their meals. Using sensors that detects hand motion and an onboard computer, it distinguishes between intended and unintended motions. The Liftware Steady helps to stabilise 70% of the motion and also helps to reduce spills. With interchangeable attachments, the device can be used as a soup spoon, everyday spoon, fork or spork.

Image from: https://www.liftware.com/steady/
Image from: https://www.liftware.com/steady/

How does it work?

The computer inside the device sends data to the 2 motors inside the handle and directs it to move in the opposite direction of the tremor, thus counteracting the unintended motion.

Why is this senses?

Honestly, I had no idea what a “sense” device would be. Nonetheless, I figured it is a device somehow connected to our 5 senses; sight, sound, taste, smell and touch. So, I thought a product that improves your senses? At first, I wanted to do some research on a sleeping mask that helps you lucid dream. Interesting aye? But afterwards, I decided, nahhh.

Then, I thought about devices that help to replace or aid the senses. Thus, I decided on finding assistive devices for the disabled and I remembered seeing a device a couple of years back that helps with hand tremors. With a little bit of research, I found it.

  • Intuitive. It is a device that easy to use and understand. It functions in the same way as how you would use your normal cutleries. There is no need for a manual on how to use the product. After reading some reviews of the product, I realised that many users purchase the product for their elderly parents. With its ease of use, even the elderly won’t have any trouble using the product.


  • The charging mechanism of the product is also easy to understand. Just plug in the charging cradle into an outlet and attach the stabilizing handle to the cradle. Works like how you would charge your phone.
Image from: https://www.liftware.com/steady/


  • And my favourite pros of the product. *Drum rolls* The emotional boost it gives to its users. I can’t speak for people who have tremors but it must be difficult to enjoy their meals. Especially if they are out for a meal. Some people find it so difficult to feed themselves, that they had to resort to having someone feed them. With the Liftware Steady, it allows people with hand tremors to be independent and not worry about spilling. Reading through reviews, I can’t help but feel touched by the stories of how happy people felt being able to comfortably eat without spilling. One story speaks about how someone was finally able to eat cereal after many years. This is the kind of products that empowers me to be a designer that can change the world, or make someone’s life better.
  • As much as it is easy to use, the size of the handle is definitely a disadvantage. Looking at it from the technological aspect, they probably had to design the handle in that size to accommodate all the sensors, computer and motors. Nonetheless, because of the size of the handle, the grip might be an issue which would take some getting used to. I am sure with the future technological development of smaller chips and motors, the design of the product could be better improved.


  • Unfortunately, I read many reviews of the device not being able to last for very long. One reason was the result of contact with water. As much as the instructions that are given states that the handle should not be in contact with water, I think it can’t be help that it is still in fact a kitchen utensil. Naturally, it comes in contact with a little water, such as the moisture from after cleaning the attachment. Again, this is more of a technological issue, the problem could be easily solved by making the electronics inside waterproof. Easy to say, but probably difficult to make.

As seen from the cons, the device has technological limitations. Probably with the advancement in nanotechnology and waterproofing, we can look forward to better, improved products.


While researching and reading up about the product, I thought this technology could also probably people with anxiety or anyone who experiences trembling.

Personally, I get really nervous when I’m speaking on stage with a microphone. Everyone can probably see my nerves getting the better of me, not from my shaking voice, but my shivering hands holding the mike.

Now, imagine if a microphone has the same stabilising function as the Liftware Steady? I can be rid of this embarrassment. Yay!

On a serious note, it can really help people who have stage fright.

The Smart Garden // Devices of the Week (IoT)

I am guilty of not taking proper care of my plants. I have watched multiple plants died at my hands. Even back in my polytechnic internship days, I had to water several plants in my office, and when I first came, all of the plants were healthy but one was practically dying by the time I was leaving.  My gardening endeavours would have probably been successful if only I had “The Smart Garden”.

The Smart Garden 3

Using smart soil inspired by NASA, the device ensures that the plants receive water, oxygen and nutrients that it needs. It even has a lamp arm, installed with an LED to provide light for the plant.

Pros and cons


Without experience in gardening, we probably won’t be able to recognise specifically what a plant needs. For example, a wilting plant doesn’t necessarily mean it needs water, it might need other stuff such as nutrients or light. Often times, the mistake made in caring for a plant is by giving it more water than it needs. Thus, the smart garden can aid beginners in gardening by automatically identifying exactly what the plant needs.

However, this also points out a con in the device.

With the smart garden, it is essentially doing the job for you. It measures the needs of your plants and provides whatever necessary. So can you actually say that you are growing the plant? Furthermore, it totally removes the human touch.


Instead of automatically providing, what if the smart garden can provide the option to instead inform the owners what the plant needs and thus the responsibility of ensuring the plant’s survival is in the hands of the owner. Thus, the smart garden functions as a tracker and informer.

Nonetheless, the automated care system can prove to be useful when you are away from home for some time. The water reservoir can keep enough water for up to 3 weeks.


The smart garden is meant for small plants, yet they have taken into consideration several design aspects. For example, they included a lamp arm that can be adjusted to various heights (210 – 470mm). They also provide the option to purchase additional extension arms to make it taller. You can’t expect to grow a tree in that small pot, thus, in my opinion, it is a reasonable design.


Lightweight and portable.

Especially with the houses in Singapore becoming smaller and smaller, the small, compact design of the smart garden doesn’t take up too much counter space. Furthermore, you get to grow 3 different types of plants in one go, while still taking up such a small space.


thinking about you. // simple sound and haptic device

An app that sends a signal to your loved ones through
a wearable device to transmit a love message.



For the final product, I imagine the wearable device to be remotely connected to an app, so another party can select from a list of messages they would like to send, and this message will be sent to their loved ones (wearing the device) through vibrations.

Due to the limited time (also lack of knowledge about creating an app), for the prototype, I replicated the interface of the app on Processing instead.

The idea is to create another love language in the form of vibrations. Each love message is translated into a unique vibration.

app interface


wearable device

Because the idea has to do with love, I thought it would be good to send the message to our heart. Thus, the vibration module is strategically located on the left side of the upper chest.







With my new knowledge of laser cutting, I thought why not laser cut some patterns onto my design. Furthermore, I wanted to add some texture and aesthetics to my design. (I chose this pattern cause it has geometric heart shapes in it)

Work Flow
  1. Sketching out – click here to see the sketches
  2. Buying sensors and materials
  3. Research on vibration motor module
  4. Creating different vibrations for different messages
  5. Connecting the Arduino to Processing
  6. Creating the app visuals
  7. Laser cutting the felt
  8. Sewing
  9. Installing the hardware onto the wearable
  10. Refining code

By far, one of my favourite projects. It was super fun learning how to sew and laser cut. Of course, I still have a lot to learn, but this is a great start.

I felt that my craftsmanship for this project did improve compared to the last project. However, there is still room for improvement. The cutting of the felt wasn’t as clean as I wanted it to be. Sewing not that perfect either. Also, I didn’t think through the clasping at the base of the vest properly, hence it looks a little awkward at the bottom.

Thankfully, the coding side of this project was rather simple, since the vibration motor module works just like a bulb with only 2 states, high and low. The only issue I encountered was figuring out how to make the vibration stop after a couple of rounds which I eventually fixed by creating another mode comprising of just the low state.

All in all, it was an enjoyable project!

Project: Multimodal // Ideation and Concepts

Thinking about you.

A device that sends a signal to their loved ones to tell them that they are thinking of them.

For the final product, I imagine it to be connected to an app, so someone can select from a list of messages they would like to send, and this message will be translated and sent to their loved ones through vibrations that they can feel. For example:

____ Thinking about you

__.__ Missing you

.__. Love you

Because it is to do with love, I thought it would be good for it to be close to the heart. Hence, the wearable should cover the chest area which is in line with where the body feels love the most, according to the diagram below.

Due to time constraint, I won’t be able to produce an actual app with that technology but instead, I intend to create the visuals of the app on Processing and participants can select the message they would like to send through that visuals.



the led project // process

Here you’ll find the process for the final outcome of the LED project – NameTag.

Links to other posts: final | sketches

  1. Sketching and identifying materials needed
  2. Research into sensors and outputs
  3. Purchase materials
  4. Code and circuitry for servo motor and joystick
  5. Code and circuitry for RFID and LED Strip
  6. Crafting the shape and overall look of the artwork
Sketching and Research

To view the sketches, please click here: sketches.

Through the sketches, I identified the different materials that are required:

  • RFID Sensors
  • Joystick
  • LED Strip
  • Servo Motor
  • Keycards

Afterwhich, I researched into working with these materials.

Servo Motors and Joysticks

  • https://maker.pro/arduino/tutorial/how-to-control-servo-motors-with-an-arduino-and-joystick
  • https://create.arduino.cc/projecthub/RiddledExistence/controlling-a-servo-motor-with-thumb-joystick-46a4d3
  • https://roboindia.com/tutorials/arduino-servo-control-with-joystick/
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VMbbm0s7lI


  • https://www.brainy-bits.com/card-reader-with-an-arduino-rfid-using-the-rc522-module/
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQiVLEhzzV0
  • https://circuits4you.com/2018/10/03/interfacing-of-rfid-rc522-with-arduino-uno/
  • https://www.viralsciencecreativity.com/tutorials/arduino-rfid-sensor-mfrc522-tutorial


  • https://github.com/marmilicious/FastLED_examples/blob/master/palette_example2.ino
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CDgxgyALWQ
  • http://fastled.io/tools/paletteknife/
Code and circuitry for servo motor and joystick

Since I only needed to use the x-axis of the joystick, I eliminated the y-axis and also adjusted the code to ensure that it only moves when the joystick is pushed to either left or right.

Code and circuitry for RFID and LED Strip

The difficult but fun part of coding this was making the LED strip coloured differently based on each card. Using PaletteKnife, I made use of the presets created by artists.

I didn’t want the colours to be static, thus I adjusted the code to include movement in the LED light which wasn’t working at first. However, I realised that the delay of the RFID was affecting the LED lights, thus adjustments were made there.



Unfortunately, I’m pretty weak at crafting, hence I spent a lot of time struggling to form the shape and aesthetic of the artwork. Furthermore, I wanted to make sure that all the wires were compact together and hidden. This is to also ensure that the wires don’t get tangled while turning.

In all honesty, I was pretty disappointed by the final look of the sculpture. Nonetheless, I have learned the importance of proper planning of the structure of your artwork before execution. In future, I hope to create more clean crafts by planning properly and making use of proper measurements. Would definitely try using 3D printing or laser cutting.

I hope that as we progress to the next few projects, I’ll be able to improve on my craftsmanship and create more high-quality finishes.

the led experience // final

To view the sketches and process of this artwork, please click on these links:

sketches | process

Creating something that can be seamlessly assimilated into an exhibition as an added event experience. At the same time, making use of an existing object in an exhibition as the form of interaction. Hence, I derived the idea of incorporating event attendees’ name tags in trade exhibitions for this artwork.

A personalized viewing experience of an LED sculpture.

Offers a different experience for different event attendees, thus encouraging attendees to stick around to view the outcome of other attendees’ experience.

Using RFID technology, the nametags for event attendees are keycards with an RFID chip in it.

For example, in the case of an event for 5,000 attendees, for every 1000 attendees (randomly assigned), their RFID nametags will be programmed with a unique ID to produce a specific light sequence.

To create movement in the sculpture, attendees are able to turn the artwork using a joystick controller allowing them to view the sculpture from various angles.


For the prototype, I created 3 light sequences for 3 unique nametags.


As mentioned in my process post, I just wished I had paid a little more attention to the aesthetic or visuals of the final product. I’ll definitely take that into consideration in future projects, and properly plan out the visuals before execution.

This was the first project where I had to code and do the circuitry on my own. To be honest, I was really scared that I wouldn’t be able to pull it off. However, I’m proud that the code and circuit (may not be perfect) works!


Hidrate Spark 3 // devices of the week (health-related)

Not drinking enough water each day has been a recurring problem for me, to the point that on some really bad days, I get headaches.

So I had always wondered what if there was a water bottle that reminds you to drink up whenever necessary throughout the day?

And that was when I found the Hidrate Spark Smart Water Bottle; now in its third edition, the Hidrate Spark 3.

What does it do?

  • The water bottle glows to remind you to drink some water
  • Tracks your water consumption through a sensor which is then recorded into an app

Would I use it?

If I had USD$54.99 to spare?

Most definitely.

Unfortunately being a poor university student means I can’t afford the luxury of a smart water bottle. My tumbler from Typo will do for now.

Taking into consideration that this is the third edition of the smart water bottle, naturally, we expect that it has when through many scrutinies from users of the earlier editions in order to develop an improved edition. So let’s discuss the pros and cons of these improved Hidrate Spark 3 smart water bottle.

  1. Availability of many colours to choose from allows for some form of customization for customers.
  2. The ability to be integrated into other apps such as Apple Health, Under Armour Record, FitBit, enables users to conveniently check their health records under one app. They do not need to keep switching apps to check their heart rate in Apple Health then change to the Hidrate Spark App for their water intake.
  3. The silicone material of the sleeve and also the structure of the sleeve with indents allow for an easy grip.
  1. Expensive. USD$54.99 for a water bottle is not something everyone can afford.
  2. One review I read mentioned that the water bottle leaked a little because the lid of the water bottle was loose.

I think one issue that many people often find is that we can’t find a water point to refill our water bottles. An idea (a little far fetched) I would suggest is that the app could show where the nearest water point is whenever the bottle is running out of water.

Another improvement I would suggest is the addition of a temperature sensor to ensure that the water is at a suitable temperature. Studies have shown that drinking lukewarm water is better for your health as compared to cold water. Hence, with the temperature sensor, users can fill up their water bottles to a suitable temperature. (Personally, I only drink cold water, so I figured this could “train” me to drink lukewarm water more often instead.)

I believe that the glowing of the water bottle to remind users to drink is quite attention-grabbing enough. However, I might suggest adding maybe some form of a sound cue for visually impaired people.

Another suggestion would also to include a cleaning kit for the water bottle. Especially since it is a nozzle, it gets dirty easily. I would suggest exploring other bigger nozzles so that the cleaning process would be easier. The detachable lids would also mean the possibility of leaks, hence exploring other designs where users do not need to detach the lid would be feasible.

Special mention:

to another device that I thought was super interesting.

This tattoo isn't decorative

These tattoos let you know when you’re sick.

Posted by PlayGround + on Tuesday, 2 July 2019