08. Term Project Document: Patterning Cube [Mina Yoo]


People have a tendency of discovering new patterns everywhere. Patterning Cube is designed for people who enjoy discovering and making patterns. Even though this is not designed as a game, making patterns is considerably entertaining. This paper describes the implementation and evolution of this tangible, interactive patterning cube set.

Video Sketch:

What it does:

Patterning Cube interactively generates patterns with blinking LEDs. Users would control six Switch Cubes by fitting them into the matrix box labeled 10 to 15. Then there would be different types of LED patterns showing on the cubes in the center matrix numbered 1 to 9 based on the combination of Switch Cubes.

First, each Switch Cubes make LEDs glow in the center matrix. For example, if Switch Cube 10 is placed in the matrix, cube number 1’s LED will glow.

Second, Switch Cube 10, 11, and 12 are a combination that will make cube 1, 2, and 3 to glow at the same time. It works the same for Switch Cube 13, 14, and 15 to cube 4, 5, and 6.

Third, Switch Cube 10 and 13 are a combination that will make cube 1, 7, and 4 to blink briefly in turns. Switch Cube 11 & 14 and Switch Cube 12 & 15 will turn on cube 2, 8, 5, and cube 3, 9, 6 respectively.

Fourth, Switch Cube 10, 14, and 12 are a combination that will make cube 1, 5, and 3 to glow slowly in turns. The shape resembles a triangle. Switch Cube 13, 11, and 15 also turns on cube 1, 5, and 3.

Finally, placing all Switch Cubes 10 through 15 will make all LEDs of cube 1 through 9 to blink in turns. Also all the other combinations will be shown on the LEDs in turns.


The circuit shematic sketch

Patterning Cube is divided into two separate parts for different functions. Six cubes that are numbered 10 to 15 in outer rows of the center matrix are Switch Cubes which can interact with the cubes numbered 1 to 9 in the center. The surface of the lower matrix box where these Switch Cubes fit are connected to digital pin 2 to 7 in Arduino Nano.  Signal is read when Switch Cubes are placed on these six spots. The cubes in the center matrix numbered 1 to 9 function as a screen to output patterns. Inside these cube, there are two colors of LEDs. Numbers 1 through 6 have green LEDs and number 7 through 9 have red LEDs.


Because Arduino Nano has only 13 pins and I needed more than that, I decided to use Analog/Digital MUX Breakout (MUX). It helps to extend Arduino pins as 4 input/output pins controlling 16 input/output pins. Through the MUX, I could use only four Arduino output pins for controlling nine LEDs.  Pin S0 through S3 accept Arduino signal as a 4-bit number from 0000 to 1111. The combinations of these 4 binary numbers are controlling C0 to C15 pins as switches. Enable Pins control the power to MUX and Communication Pin helps signal any communication between Arduino and MUX.


Arduino Sketch: PatterningCube_Mina


1x   Arduino Nano 3.0 (ATmega328)

1x   BOB-09056 Analog/Digital MUX Breakout [To learn more about this]

1x   Breadboard

6x   Basic LED –  5mm _ Green

3x   Basic LED –  5mm _ Red

6x   220 ohm resistors

1x   100 ohm resistors


~ by Mina Yoo on May 12, 2010.

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