NARRATIVE:

Ninety-seven years ago, a group of archaeologists discovered a crashed alien artefact. Although it appears to communicate to some select individuals, nobody has succeeded in deciphering its messages. For this reason, it was named the ‘Aeon Box’. Who will be the chosen one to finally solve it?

 

WHAT IS IT?

The Aeon Box is a 60 cm cube Arduino-based interactive puzzle box. The player will have to go through five complex puzzles in order to restore the energy of this mysterious artefact. All features have been individually designed and brought to life in-house through 3D printing, a healthy lick of paint and long nights of crying over code

Electronics
3D printing
Programming
Arduino
User Experience
Workshop

  Richard Zhang |  Pilar Zhang Qiu  

THE AEON BOX:

GIANT PUZZLE BOX

 

01 TIMELINE

INITIAL STEPS
- Concept Ideation

- Puzzles Brainstorming

- Ordering Components

- Creation of  Project

  Budget and Purchase

  Orders Document

- Distribution of Tasks

ASSEMBLY AND CODE TRIALS
- Working on Puzzles
  (Pt. 2)
- Cosmetic Painting and 
  Weathering Effect
- Puzzle Box Assembly
- Final Code and
  Functionality Tests
TECHNICAL
ANALYSIS
- Box Main Body
- Cosmetic Features
  Design
- Working on Puzzles
  (Pt. 1)

 My main contributions: 

Technical skills

3D Printing
3D Prints Processing and Chemical Adhesion
Arduino
Electronics
Main Code
Puzzles Mechanism
Assembly
Build
Laser Cutting
CNC Router (Spartan)
Sourcing and ordering components
Budgeting

Design skills

Concept Development and Sketching
Overall Design Aesthetics
Narrative
Games/Puzzles Concept
Puzzles Cosmetic and Functional Design

Main lead in: Mimicry Game (P1), Laser Puzzle (P2), Activation and Hibernation System,

                       Overall Aesthetic and Cosmetic Design (Co-Lead) and Main Code

 

02 ICAH COMPETITION

'The Aeon Box' is a two-people project with which we entered the 'Level Up!' or interactive retro games competition.

 

Organised by the Imperial College Advanced Hackspace (ICAH), the contest was open to all Imperial College London and associates internal UG, PG and PhD. Our team was elected for a £1K funding for an augmented size interactive puzzle box, with which we entered the 6 finalists.

 
 

03 LEVEL UP YOUR GAME: 

     PUZZLES & GAMES

PUZZLES 

This game features a 60 cm cube Arduino-based interactive puzzle box. The player will traverse five complex puzzles in order to ‘restore the energy’ of this mysterious artefact, these being:

 

LIGHT MATRIX

Two identical light panels are positioned in opposite faces of the cube. Replicate the pattern shown on the side panel in the replica on the opposite side. Push the frosted panels to change the colour of the hexagons.

LIGHT MATRIX
UNLOCKING SYSTEM

Inside one the sides, you will find a giant telescope-like artefact. Its interior has an irregular geometric pattern filled with mirrors. Find the right combination of mirror orientations so that the laser bounces back to its goal. This will unlock the authorisation system.

UNLOCKING SYSTEM
FIRST DEGREE AUTHORISATION

Players will need to fill all three cavities of the front panel. This is easy for three-arm aliens, but what about two-arm humans?

FIRST DEGREE AUTHORISATION
SECOND DEGREE AUTHORISATION

The alien authorization system is broken.

You will have to find another way of opening the compartment. The screen keeps on saying '-..-'. Could this be morse code? Knock on the box to open the secret compartment.

SECOND DEGREE AUTHORISATION
ENERGY SYSTEM

After finally accessing the energy system of the mysterious artefact, players will need to place their hands on the two metal strips on the energy cell to warm it up. The body heat will finally activate the Aeon Box.

 

 Congratulations, you solved

The Aeon Box! 

UNLOCKING SYSTEM
 

04 FROM CONCEPT TO REALITY

Note that only two of the five puzzles are presented here as these are the ones that I designed and created.

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The Mimicry Game (P1) consists of two light matrices located on opposite sides of the cube.

 

The player will soon realise that they have to mirror the colour pattern from the first panel into the one that is off. To change the colours of each hexagon, the player will be required to push each individual hexagon.

The Laser Puzzle (P2) creates an intriguing, yet beautiful game of laser beams, mirrors and reflections.

 

The mirrors are located on the irregular surfaces of the interior of the telescope-like geared mechanism. The player will have to rotate the external gears and lead the reflection of the laser beam to the goal point.

Following the narrative of 'The Aeon Box' and to ensure the best user experience possible, the main structure of the box and all its cosmetic features and puzzles were painted and designed to resemble a weathered mysterious artefact.

 

For easier transportation, the weight of the 60 cm cube box was optimised by 3D printing most of the features and puzzles.

 

Not only did this allow for rapid prototyping and more complex shapes, but also increased our expertise in how to treat, design for assembly and chemically bond big 3D prints.

 

 

And yes, all those metallic-like weathered pieces are made from PLA and ABS prints!

THE MIMICRY GAME

THE LASER PUZZLE

AESTHETICS AND FINISH