Monday, 13 March 2017

Find Me: Hackaball Hide and Seek with Tech


My 8 year old has designed a game of electronic hide and seek played with Hackaball, a programmable game ball.

This game uses the Hackaball paired with a tablet. The tablet displays instructions and gives feedback.


How to Play the Game

This game can be played indoors or outdoors. It does use a mobile device running the Hackaball app so you'll want to make sure you keep the device safe.

Here's how you play Find Me:
  1. First you pair the Hackaball with the app.
  2. The hider hides Hackaball in a good hiding place. 
  3. The finder starts the Find Me app which makes the Hackaball play a sound to give them a clue. It also starts a timer. The finder must wait until they see the 'Find Me' message. 
  4. The finder searches for Hackaball and when they find it they give it a shake which turns it purple, stops the timer and ends the game. 
  5. Players can check how long it took the finder to find the Hackaball and then swap roles. 

Find Me Code

And here's the code:


Of course you can customize the game or change it to give more clues.

Make sure you don't have the volume turned up too loud on Hackaball if you're playing indoors or it will be too easy to find it. You want it to be quiet enough that the finder has to listen really carefully.



Verdict

Hackaball is proving to be a big hit in our house. It's great for encouraging kids to think about how tech toys work and quickly be able to design their own and start playing. 

Our Hackaball did recently end up in a weird state where we couldn't load a new app onto it. We pushed a firmware update and all was well. Phew. 

My son has lots of experience with coding. He has hit limitations in what can be done with the Hackaball app, but he's been willing to work within those limitations and come up with projects that will work. He has loads of options for learning to code, I see the value of Hackaball as developing his design thinking skills and getting a feel for what it's like to develop a useful tech gadget. That and encouraging active play, like a lot of kids he needs a little nudge sometimes. 

More Hackaball games: 



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