The Laughing Machine

This five day course was an exploration to bridge the gap between hardware and software. We were introduced to the Noam messaging platform which allowed us to create complex interactive systems by easily integrating hardware and software. Over various brainstorming sessions and experiments we came up with the concept of “The Laughing Machine”

It is a musical game installation embedded in a network of booths modulated by the noam server. Each booth was sending and receiving values which were generated based on the interactions of people within the booth. The setup of the installation were input buttons connected to the noam server. We wrote a processing sketch to create a simple game which displayed balls moving across the screen and the user had to press the correct colored button in sync with the color of the ball.

The trick was, the color, shape, size and speed of the ball was changing dynamically based on the values being received from the previous booth. This increased the difficulty level of the game to a certain extent. To add a fun element to the installation we programmed the system to produce sounds of laughter or sobs depending on whether the player made the right move.

This project was a technical challenge in terms of setting up the installation in synchronization with five other booths on the network. There was no room for errors since a break in one booth could have stalled the functioning of all the booths. This course was a great learning experience to understand the working of hardware and software and at the same create an interesting experience for the people playing the game.