An open-source board game system with a mind of its own

#2 Product of the DayMarch 24, 2018

Blinks is an new way to get friends to put down their screens and interact face to face. Already over-funded on Kickstarter!

Each game tile is tiny, independent Arduino with 6 RGB display LEDs, 6 IR communication LEDs, and a button. It is a great platform for exploring emergent systems programming.

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4 Reviews5.0/5
This looks interesting ๐Ÿ‘พ What made you build this, @jonathanbobrow?
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@amrith It started as a 1 week assignment at MIT Media Lab, I wanted to make a physical cellular automata (something that would allow really simple rulesets to emerge complex properties with the whole). Inspired by things such as Fireflies(
), Forest Fires(, and other emergent properties, I continued to work on it as a thesis. After discovering that they made for a really neat way to play games that could have never existed before, I've spent the last year with a team of incredible people making the platform a robust development environment as well as a refined set of hardware. From the beginning, I thought the idea of having objects that are curious about their surroundings and have the ability to learn from each other would be a magical thing, so I couldn't be more excited to put a product into the world that will learn and share in this hive-minded way forever :)
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Reminds me of a modern, awesome version of


Incredibly unique idea, proven physical demos


Not released yet!

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This is so freaking cool. I don't know what else to say. It's inspiring; I can only begin to think of the possibilities
@cucumbur Thanks!!! Seriously, if it going to keep you up at night thinking of all of the things you can make with Blinks, I feel ya! Since we got our latest version of the prototypes up and running, I don't go anywhere without them, and even before I went to a New Years party this year, I spend ~45 minutes before creating a fireworks application, thought it would be a cool looking demo and fun way to give people something to play with, and sure enough, a game emerged out of the tiny experiment. Hope to see you join us in the Dev community! p.s. take a look at our documentation here:
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@cucumbur btw, my girlfriend and I will be headed to Seattle later this year, stay in touch and we can meet up :)
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@jonathanbobrow I'm definitely gonna pop into the dev community! I am really focused on this goal of building apps / products / games / tools that combine IRL social interactions with a digital element - be it AR, Pokemon Go-style games, a few unique watch games that didnt quite do it for me, those projection systems that do height mapping on sand or let people program with sheets of paper, interactive DnD / tabletop RPG surfaces or even Tabletop Simulators, Space Team (iOS), Chicanery (iOS), Keep Talking And Nobody explodes, a college Human vs Zombie game I saw that someone built an awesome app for, games by Rohrer (even if I dont like his politics) like The Diamond Trust of London and other works, JS Joust, a scavenger hunt I took my mom on (well, she took me when she came to visit - lol) called Big City Hunt and other things of that nature, even stuff like Jackbox Games Party Packs, Use Your Words, HQ, Geocaching-type stuff and treasure hunts, and some games with a heavy heavy meta among the players (like Dokapon Kingdom), and even LARPs that have tech to help them, ARGs and fitness RPGs or general location based games. I hope the common thread comes through - I found out while writing this that these are often called Pervasive games which should explain better than me: and I see this as a great example! Digital rules that are programmable and have the possibility for awesome emergent systems/gameplay with the right ruleset. It really hits my buttons - plus I love LEDs! And I've love both "artificial life" and massively connectable systems since I played with these a a kid: (they were 20$ back then) Anyway, I hope all that made sense. I just get stoked when I see people with ideas like this, and now I know about the term Pervasive Games so I can describe things that way! And Really excited about this idea. It reminds me of a modern, infinitely-possible tech update on Icehouse pieces: As I am in semi-dire financial straits (hopefully to change soon! I'm really going hard on the job search) I sure hope I can get a devkit from your KS if I get a super quick freelancing gig. But regardless, I'll love to see what people come up with and how it gets used, and hopefully get them myself later down the line to develop and study them. Just a phenomenal usage of technology and meta-gamedesign, once again. (my current side project is kind of a LARP/AR/Geolocation version of the game The Resistance, similar to Werewolf/Mafia. Gonna be real hard to test with my 3 friends in Seattle since I moved, lol!)
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@jonathanbobrow I would definitely love that! I've managed to explain my excitement with this and "Pervasive games" to my girlfriend somehow, as well! I think she's on-bard, if not infatuated the way I am. Without coming off as too gushing, this is just the kind of idea that I'm like "Thats what I would do if I was.... in a parallel universe!" so it was such a refreshing break from the Sketch Resource Lists and Blockchain stuff on PH every day.
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Also, I'm getting into Pure Data, SuperCollider, Max/MSP, and custom built midi devices or other instruments/tools for music creation (I'm no good at this) as well as for creating visuals (now THAT I can do), so I can't help but think about how one would integrate the tiles into that somehow, if possible.
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This is cool, looking forward to see what people do with this :)
@findabhilash On the first day of the Kickstarter campaign, we hosted a 12 hour game jam at IndieCade East. 9 teams (who had never seen or heard of Blinks before) all made games that were simply awesome! We've shared two of them in the updates on the campaign, and everyday this week we've had games created by those game jammers out at bars and game nights and they keep getting better :) It's been an incredible ride to work on the platform for so long, but start to see the things others can make for them, I'm with you, people are going to continue to make some awesome things on Blinks.
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Great job ๐Ÿ˜Š
@ayush_chandra Thanks! I'm so curious, where are you a research intern & tech evangelist?
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@jonathanbobrow at a consulting firm and tech evangelist who loves people to come and learn technology
@ayush_chandra awesome, I've started hosting open hack nights in NYC, it is such a great feeling to help someone create something new or simply get someone started to see how they can use tech to make something new. (1 among many reasons I named them Blinks, is because blink is sort of the "Hello World" of hardware programming)
@jonathanbobrow yes that it true. Hoping you make something more unique and handy your future launches