So what’s this all about, eh?
Wand-Ring magic wands are open source, multimodal, gesture-controlled DIY toys that can engage in magical spell duels.
Let’s unpack that sentence:
- Open source: We’re freely posting the development environment configuration, hardware needed, build instructions, uncompiled software, upload instructions, 3D designs for wand shells to put the electronics in, tutorial videos and instructions… Everything you need to make and hack your own Wand-Ring wands!
- Multimodal: The “basic” code for Wand-Ring wands has six modes – Sleep mode (on, but dim), Dazzle mode (make pretty lights without user input), Flashlight mode (shine very brightly), Doodle modes 1 and 2 (make pretty colors in response to how you wave it), and Duel Practice mode (Cast specific “spells” in response to specific gesture sequences.). Gently thump the wand’s handle to cycle from mode to mode.
- Gesture-controlled: With the exception of gentle tapping to cycle modes (as noted above), all other commands to the wand are gesture-based. You wave it around and it reacts. Specific gestures evoke specific results. This concept is the driving design principle behind Doodle, Practice, and Duel modes: When you wave your wand a specific way, it reacts in a specific way. If you repeat the same gesture, the wand has the same reaction. For example: Pointing it up may make it glow yellow while pointing it down may make it glow green. When your wand is in Duel Practice mode or dueling, it “remembers” the last 20-or-so gestures. Specific sequences of gestures trigger extra-special responses from the wand – we’re calling these responses “spells.” For example: Pointing your wand straight ahead, then at the ground, then at the sky could evoke a Lightning Bolt with a white-yellow flashing, flickering LED display.
- DIY: You can (and really should) make your own wand. You’ll need basic soldering skills to attach two rows of header pins to one of the boards (the PropMaker Feather Wing) but nothing too complex. All other components simply snap together in less than 5 minutes! Once you’ve made your wand, upload our basic code on it and you’ll be all set. But you don’t have to stop there! If you get bored with it, you can upload new code to it to play new games (Gremlin Attack, Follow the Leader, Maze Adventure, etc.). You can modify our code to make your wand behave differently. You can write your own code to make your wand do what you want it to do. You can add hardware to your wand to give it more lights, or a speaker so it can make sounds, or a buzzing motor for haptic feedback! The hardware we’ve selected is very versatile.
- Toys: We treat and present Wand-Ring wands as toys because that’s what we want to focus on. You can absolutely modify your wand to serve a more practical purpose (like controlling the lights in your smart home), but we’re gonna focus on play and fun. Also, we think they’re super-appropriate for kids (and a great way to introduce them to electronics and coding!). Building a wand together is a great bonding activity for an adult and child to share. 🙂
- Engage in magical spell duels: (NOTE: As of 2019-05-02, we have a primitive dueling program available. It’s not as full-featured as the following description. We intend to do a lot more to expand it..) Wand-Ring wands are WiFi and Bluetooth (Standard and BLE) enabled. When your wand is in Duel mode, it looks for other nearby wands in Duel mode. When you and your opponent complete the formal duel opening ritual (raise your wand in front of your face, point it at the ground, then raise it again) in sync, a duel begins! You’re casting spells in real time – just like when you’re in Practice mode – but with a few big differences:
- You’re dueling another person. The spells you cast will attack their wand, defend your wand, and counteract their attacks. Remember: You’re not taking turns – dueling happens real time!
- Your wand has a durability rating. When it takes damage from an attack, it loses durability. If your wand runs out of durability, you lose the duel.
- Your wand also has a limited amount of mana (magical power) that regenerates fairly rapidly. Every spell you cast uses mana. If you cast a spell and don’t have enough mana for it, your wand converts durability into mana. Be careful or you’ll knock your own wand out of the duel!
As of 2019-05-02, Wand-Ring wands are still in development – we’re revising LED effects, improving the 3D printable cases, and improving wand-to-wand dueling. Good things are happening!
We really look forward to sharing Wand-Ring wands with you!
But who are you?
The “core team” is Jonathan Leistiko and Shawn S., with 3D modeling and prototyping support from Neal T. We’re techie-creative types who like board games, DIY hacking, micro-controllers, and blending these interests to facilitate engaging person-to-person interactions.
And who are Wanda and Ron?
Wanda and Ron will be the two primary “mascots” for the Wand-Ring Project. They’re largely the product of Desirée L’s imagination. We’re picturing them as friendly, helpful guides for printed tutorials and such.
Wanda is a clever, creative tinkering witch with a, “Let’s do it!” attitude. She’s always ready to learn new skills and apply what she knows and has on hand to conjure effective solutions.
Ron is her cauldron companion with an insatiable appetite. He often eats without thinking, resulting in moaning, “Oh no… What did I eat?” just before belching up something unexpected (and occasionally useful!).