Dr. Boardman’s Color Conundrum

We feel like trumpets should be sounding. Someone took the overused project of connecting RGB LEDs to a microcontroller and produced something useful. [Paul] created Dr. Boardman’s Color Conundrum which works much like a simple mechanical coin-op game you might find at a carnival. When switched on, a random color is displayed by the ping-pong ball covered LED on the left. The player then manipulates three knobs to color-match the two lights.

Inside you’ll find a minimalist set of hardware. An ATmega8 polls the three potentiometers and uses them to mix the appropriate user color. Everything is wired-up using prototyping board and draws power from two AA batteries. He’s using a random seed stored in EEPROM and increments it every time the uC boots up. This keeps the input color different for every game.

Fun and simple, it’s not going to make your guests marvel at the complexity but [Paul’s] come up with a unique game that we think has marketing potential.

19 thoughts on “Dr. Boardman’s Color Conundrum

  1. If this were marketed as suggested above, I would totally buy one. This looks awesome.

    Mini ski-ball would be awesome, too.

  2. Now all he needs for a true game is a countdown timer that starts after the first dial is twisted. 3 levels of difficulty of course!

    Awesomely good stuff

  3. I think this is great. A great tool to teach many things, its an intro project to uControllers, and a great project to teach color theory. And its wrapped up in a nice carnival type arcade game. love it!

  4. @Michael Bradley: are you in fact the son of Milton Bradley? Careful Paul..make sure Bradley cuts you in. Nice game. The artwork is great.

  5. Awesome! Looks like he could use a bit of gamma correction, but the idea is just brilliant, and so is the final product.

  6. This would be great for training lighting designers, I do a lot of theatre lighting but I’m still useless at making the colours I want from RGB.

  7. I don’t know if I could justify building one, or if it would be remotely as fun after the hassle of coding and wiring it up, but I have a strong urge to play with that thing.

    I think it would be a good tool to teach people about RGB color mixing as well. I’m starting my senior year of a CS BS degree and it still shocks me how many ‘experienced’ C++ coders in my classes still can’t even guess at an RGB color value, or even figure it out from the hex values.

  8. I remember a station at the local science centre where they had an RGB mixing game (on a CRT). It was to test your colour perception and matching abilities. I don’t recall if it required 100% accuracy as not all kids can tell if a colour is of by 1 step or not.

    This is a great and totally marketable idea!

  9. This would be a great device to teach art students about the importance of color matching. Too many of them don’t have a strong awareness of the subtle differences between colors.
    Great work!

  10. @jeff-o – bah! Beat me to it.

    Looks like a pretty cool game. Too bad I’m somewhat colour blind, although I can sometimes match up colours if they’re next to each other…

  11. So, I want one. Actually, i’d buy 10 were they available. I’d buy 10 and give them as gifts over the next few years to nieces/nephews.

    So, whenever i can buy one please update this page with where.

  12. Hey all, thanks for the suggestions and positive feedback!

    It hadn’t occurred to me that people might be interested in buying these. I thought that anyone interested in it would also be prepared to make one ;)

    I’ll get round to posting a schematic to make life easier for those interested.

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