The name of the game is “Whac-A-Mouse”, which is derived from its 80′s counterpart; the “Whac-A-Mole” arcade game.
The Whac-A-Mouse logo had to be a bit more refined, as the product itself will most likely cost quite some money and is aimed towards people who love to have a design cat toy in their home. Below is the final logo:
The treat shooter system is loosely based on that of a revolver: the treats are loaded in designated holes of acircular gear that is driven by a servo engine. This engine rotates the barrel so that the treat falls into the hole, or the “chamber”, where it is catapulted by a solenoid with plunger. The whole system can be seen below, as well as in this video.
To ensure that the cat cannot reach any vital parts of the electronics, a cover has been made out of sturdy cardboard. This cardboard has been covered with a felt-like textile, to give the animals a warm and soft feeling. This appeared to work really well, as our test cat immediately laid herself on top of the game even before we powered it on.
Below shows the final prototype, with all electronics installed. The base consists of a frame lasercut in MDF, in which all solenoids and the treat shooting system are connected.
The final design for the pop-up system consists of one solenoid per mouse, connected to an aluminium profile to keep the system lightweight. The solenoid pulls the profile down, creating a momentum allowing the mouse on the other end to pop up fast.
In the previous post concerning the app, the functionality of the app was explained. The app gives the user the possibility to interact with his Whac-a-Mouse game. The pictures below show the graphical user interface of the app and it’s flowchart. The mice and the label on the screen can be used as a button. When Each mouse corresponds with a mouse in the game and the label “Treat” is used to shoot a treat. Each button click corresponds with a specific commando which is send to the game using UDP. After sending the commando, the app waits until the game responds whether the mouse was hit or missed. Corresponding to the response of the game, the button takes a certain value (shown below in the images). The game also responds when a treat is shot.
We have tested 3 differend kinds of solenoids:
This is the smallest one, he’s clearly not strong enough.
This solenoid will be use for the treat shooting system.
No datasheet found.
Movie: JF0730 setup
HMF is a bit stronger, it can lift one weight.
Movie: HMF Setup
TDS is the stronges one of the tesded solenoids, it can lift wo weights.
This is the one we will use for the pop up mouse setup.
Movie: TDS Setup
We made a mouse puppet and added the thinfoil sensor.
In the movie you can see that whenever the mouse is het the led goes on/off.
You can also see the variation in values in the screen when the mouse is hit.
We can tweek the system so the cat doesn’t even have to hit the mouse propperly to be detected (by playing with the different value settings).
Movie testing mouse setup