Final Project: Red or Blue?

Assignment,Final Project — Tags: — scheung3 @ 8:58 pm

IMG_3029   Red or Blue? Was a mobile Carnival-style game I deployed during the weekend of Carnegie Mellon University’s 2014 Spring Carnival to examine how CMU students approach risk taking and decision making in a lighthearted setting. IMG_3045

The Rules

Users made decisions to play for high stakes or low stakes, represented by the red and blue buttons. Probabilities for success for each button were represented by playing cards. photo1 Those who played for high stakes and pushed the red button had a 10% chance of winning a big prize, a personal anecdote from a current CMU professor on a risk they took in college. If they lost, they would be hit with a rubber band fired from a toy gun.  big prizes Those who played for low stakes and pushed the blue button had a 50% chance of winning a small prize, a quote from a famous person on risk taking and decision making. If they lost nothing would happen. small prizes To play, users had to answer a question about their risk taking habits. Questions ranged from how they approached their easy classes to if they had ever been afraid of being arrested. questions

The Electronics

All electronic processes including button press detection, probability calculations, and rubber band firing were controlled by an Arduino Uno. The toy gun was actuated by a solenoid which needed extensive fine tuning in order to fire properly on command. RedOrBlue_bb   The red and blue LEDs were included inside the buttons and came with built-in resistors. The white LEDs on the bottom were white LED strips which lit up the “You Win” and “Sorry Try Again” signs and also came with their own built-in resistors.

The Deployment

When I brought out this project during Carnival I was surprised by how many people were interested in playing. I did not expect many people to come up to me, but I really pleased by the amount of interactions that I got. I was surprised when despite my expectations people tended to pick the red and blue buttons in around equal amounts. They also asked frequently if this was a psychology study and seemed surprised when I told them it was an art project. interaction2 However, not everything went as planned. While this project was geared primarily towards CMU students, a few alumni and children played too. Their answers/data have been kept separate from the data of the CMU students. There were some technical issues too. The tension on the solenoid needed constant adjustment in order for the gun firing to work and people had a hard time seeing the You Win and Try Again lights in the bright sunlight.


Data Visualization on



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