Nova is a community based interactive storytelling experience. Each participant wears a wristband, called "stars", with LEDs, a small monitor, a speaker and a button. Users are given a color based identifier and a faction - red or blue which light up the LEDs with a brightness of 5. You can think of brightness as health or happiness, which you can gain and lose.

As you approach other users, the stars interact with each other. If the star is a member of the same faction, each user gets +2 brightness in their LEDs. If the star is a member of the opposing faction there are two options. First, the users can agree to make peace. Both users will walk away with +1 brightness. If one or both of the users doesn't agree to make peace, then they go into a challenge. The challenge is displayed on each of their monitors. Some examples are rock paper scissors, staring contest, or the person who can say "hello" in the most languages. After the two users complete the challenge, the winner presses the button. The winner receives 2 brightness and the loser has 2 brightness removed. If both users were to press that they won, they would each lose 3 brightness as a dishonesty penalty.

If your star goes out, it is re-spawned with the starting brightness of five, but the faction is now changed to the other team. The experience ends when all stars are of the same faction. Participants need to reconcile the desire to improve their own brightness and promote their faction with the knowledge that doing so aggressively will cause the entire game to end.

Part technical gadget, part artistic experience, we challenge our users to consider the purpose of their activities: by pushing for your personal or faction agenda, you can cause the whole game to shut down forever. By becoming the sole faction, have you "won the game"? Is this better than continuing to enjoy the experience Nova has brought to you along the way?

Inspiration

We wanted to create a device which can demonstrate emotions and promote friendly interaction. We decided that each user would be a star, and since stars come from novae, our name was found.

What it does

Nova communicates with the user through lights and sound. The modules communicate with each other through wireless connections to weave together a story that brings our users closer.

How we built it

We built Nova using arduino, neopixels, NRF24L01 wireless modules and a small speaker. Ted worked on establishing the wireless connection while Joe made the LEDs shift to different modes to show emotion. Ashley created the form factor and created audio samples to match Joe's light patterns. Perri wrote the story of our project

Challenges we ran into

We struggled to get the audio output to be high quality and also invoke the right emotions. Our wonderful mentors at Disney and iRobot helped to find solutions to get the audio to output properly, and Ashley listened to clips of films without speaking in order to emulate how sound mixers can convey a story without words.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're proud of the story of our project and the ability to convey it with simple cuing. Our project uses almost no words or instructions and is usable out of the box.

What we learned

We learned that you should not fall a victim to the planning fallacy (things always take longer than expected). Ted learned how to use the wireless modules Ashley learned how to believe(!) in herself.

What's next for Nova

Next, we want to continue to develop the personality of our stars by adding more emotional responses. In particular we would like to add an IMU so we can detect different hand motions and perhaps verify winners of challenges. We also want to make a "confused" emotion where the LEDs color cycle and the star makes a whirring sound when you wave your arms around really fast. This will help users become more fond of and connected to their star.

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