Some time ago I stumbled on James Lyndsay’s Black Box Puzzles. I found them funny and intriguing. Last year at the Autumn Camp (a tester’s gathering in Romania) while attending Alexandra Casapu’s Examine your testing skills I actually saw a couple of real black boxes. I loved them so much that I wanted to build some of my own.
After doing some research and learning a few new thing I managed to build 4 (so far).
Here they are:
1. First you need to have a clear idea about what you want to build. What puzzle you want to do. Once that is clear you will need the hardware
2. Electronics. To make everything work I have used a Arduino nano for all my black boxes. At this stage you need to have a clear idea about what the black box has to do. The nano had 12 digital connection where you can put buttons or what ever you need.
3. The box. Everything has to fit in a box. You have to be very careful to fit everything in, and make sure it is easy to cut the case to fit the buttons or anything else you need for the black box to work .
4. You will also need some tools for making holes in the box, or fitting stuff. I have used a mini bread board to fit the Arduino in the box, a drilling machine to make the holes for buttons and LEDs.
5. Programming the Arduino. It might sound difficult but there is a lot of support on the web. There are plenty of Arduino related forums. Just ask Google what you need to do. If you can’t figure it out let me know. Perhaps I can help.
6. Powering. I made mine with a battery included so that you can take them anywhere. You need to search for a battery that does not cut power in case there is a low consumption. Most power packs do this: in case there is a low consumption, in order to make the battery last longer, they just cut power off after a couple of seconds. The Arduino consumes really little power. For the first black box (3 buttons and a LED), I would say that an average of 12 hours of play lasts with a 2000mAh 5v battery.
Bellow you have some pictures I have taken while making the 2nd one.