As a team of engineers and designers with a focus on social good, we were intrigued by the prospect of tackling a hardware hack. We visited the MLH Hardware Lab and saw the Leap Motion sensor, and an idea formed for a game that improved dexterity and fine motor skills in children, especially those with disabilities, that was fun to play.
What it does
As the game is played, users are approached by different colored shapes. Using basic hand gestures, the users can push, grab, stack, and flick shapes across the screen.
How we built it
The Leap Motion sensor works best within Unity, and we choose to delve into game design for this project. We used C# in conjunction with Unity to make the game work, and we used Adobe Illustrator and AutoCAD to create the shapes and images. For our website, we utilized a Bootstrap template with custom branding, images, and formatting.
Challenges we ran into
Working through our first hardware hack was not without it's challenges. Originally, we intended to use Leap Motion in conjunction with an Occulus Rift headset, but our machines lacked the necessary GPUs to run an Occulus machine. We also had difficulty formatting the Leap Motion sensor itself, and we had to do several rounds of calibration before the program worked smoothly.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We completed our first hardware hack! The program is a pretty impressive game for 40-something hours of work. We came into the hackathon without a clear plan, but we found a common goal and worked towards it to completion. We all learned new skills and we worked collaboratively within a team of engineers, computer scientists, and designers.
What we learned
Hardware hacks are not that scary, and new hardware can be really cool. Unity is not our favorite medium, but we learned to work in it successfully. We also learned how to communicate design ideals and documents between designers and developers.
What's next for Dex: Dexterity Therapy
Integration with a virtual reality headset would be the next stage of development.