Le Maison

Le Maison

Simon Phung, Thu Cao, Brandon Bagalue

The issue that we are trying to solve is to help kids get an exposure to different kinds of technology (besides phone, ipads, TV) at a young age. It takes an immobile playground and give life to a part of it, helping children learn while playing.

Our target audience is kids around the ages of 3-7 who go to the park.

Our Project:
Our project is an interactive house that includes LEDs and a sound system. The house will be a part of a playground where there is a side opening for children to come inside. The purpose of this playground house is not only to expose kids about new technologies but also to teach them about endangered species. The outside of the house will be painted with spray paint to incorporate our freedom with arts. On the roof of the house, there will be stars cut out of acrylic, which would light up with a motion sensor. The inside walls of the house will be painted with land and water sceneries. Endangered animals will be cut out of acrylic and placed in their respective area, with a plaque under it to describe the animal. On the animal, there will be a button that can be pressed to light up the specific animal and its plaque, while making its own unique sound.

Our project is innovative as it uses a stationary part of a playground to incorporate technologies that kids can not only gain exposure to and play with, but also teaches them about the endangered species on earth. Since everything takes place inside a shelter-like part of the playground, kids can gather inside this shelter and learn together. In this way, the kids are coming together as a community while gaining knowledge.

Typical User:
A typical user of our project is a kid who is playing at the playground. As he runs through the play area, he comes upon the house and enters. Upon entering the playhouse, stars light up on the inside roof, illuminating the house. With the newfound light, the kid sees button on the walls, which he presses. When the button is pressed, an animal and plaque is lit up, which allows the kid to see and possibly read about the endangered animal. Along with the button lighting up an area of the wall, it also creates a sound. The kid moves on to pressing another button, which creates a different sound. He starts to press different buttons to create a melody of his own, attracting other kids to the house. Together, they play in the light up house, making music and learning together.


  • Wood
  • Solar Panels
  • LEDs
  • Motion sensor
  • Acrylic
  • Conductive paint / copper tape
  • Arduino
  • MP3 Shield / Lilypad MP3


Day 1:  6/7/15
“Le Siege”  – The Bench
 image-3 image-4   

  • We planned to build an interactive bench that would be placed at a park
  • We would have light and sounds attachments
  • There would be buttons on the armrest of the bench
  • The buttons will trigger different beatbox sounds
  • Users will play around with the buttons to create the own beatboxing music
  • Lights would light up for a certain period of time when buttons are pressed
  • Solar panels would be placed on top of the back rest of the bench
  • There would be a storage area at the back of the bench

Day 2: 6/8/15

image     image-2

Rapid Prototyping :

  • Created a cardboard bench prototype
  • First Image shows front view
  • Second Image shows back view
  • Red squares represents buttons for the “beatboxing”
  • Red lines represents the wiring/connection
  • Red, green, blue represents RGB LED strip that we planned to use
  • Grey dots at the top two corners of the bench represents speakers
  • Orange represents arduino
  • Black represents solar panel
  • In this prototype we hot glued the pieces together.


What did the judges say?

  • Focus on bringing the community together
  • Some people may not want to go to bench that has large blaring music (noise pollution)
  • Certain things may have too many buttons on them depending on what they need to do
  • It’s good to use an everyday item, a lot of potential
  • Try and think about the interaction component of it
  • Create music melody/ words
  • Have different music modes
  • Is the most value in interaction on a bench gotten out of sound?
  • How does the bench invite the next person to come if you are sitting on it?
  • How would this encourage children to go outside?
  • How do you use the tech to bring people together?


Day 3: 7/9/15

Re-Imagining & Exploring:

What problem did you find building your 1st prototype?

In building our first prototype, we found out that we did not have a specific audience. Initially, we targeted park go-ers, which included kids and adults. However, when kids go to the park, they play in the park, not sit on the benches. As for adults, they will quickly get bored of the technologies and return to their phones.

How is it going to be different?

Originally, we planned to build an interactive bench at a park, however, taking in suggestions made by the judges, we decided to focus our audience solely towards kids. Thus, instead of building an interactive bench, we decided to build a playground house with the same concepts of lights and sounds.

New Design:

  • An interactive (playground) house
  • 4ft height
  • Each wall (3) have a different scenes
  • 1- land | 2 – land+water | 3 – water
  • Have endangered animals in the wall
  • Plaque description on outside of house teaching about endangered animals, purpose of house, what it does, technologies
  • On the outside of the roof – solar panels, motion sensor inside, stars that light up when kids are in
  • Storage area on the back wall of house
  • Layered sides of wall, in between layers are wiring
  • Each animal has a plaque description under, press button on animal to light up plaque animal and make a sound
  • image

Day 4: 7/13/15

  • Researched about waterproof solar panels and buttons, motion sensors, and wood
  • Drew new scaled design of playhouse with measurements
  • Drew layout for cutting pieces of house

Day 5: 7/14/15

  • Brandon worked on designing the house structure
    • How the wiring would look inside the house
    • Deciding on the type of wood we need
    • Researched on buttons, motion sensors, waterproofing solar panels,
  • Thu worked on the physical programming
    • Did research on the type of speaker and amps we would need
    • Found a DIY Amp with a bredboard
  • Simon did research on endangered animals
    • Decided to go with South China Tiger, Giant Panda, Philippine Eagle, Alabama Cave Fish, Iberian Lynx
    • Made an cardboard outline of Tiger with a button in the middle

Day 6: 7/15/15

  • Simon worked on the design for the endangered animals
    • Using Libre Office Draw, Gimp and Inkscape
    • Created an outline of the animal and an etched version
    • Changed the Alabama Cave fish to the Manta Ray
  • Thu worked on the programming for the LED strips
    • Worked on trying to hook up the Button to the LEDs
    • Soldered wires to the LED strip
  • Brandon looked up the type of paint we would need and the exterior design
    • Decided on spray paint
    • Talked to Brad about the ShopBot
    • Learned how to cut wood

Day 7: 7/16/2015

  • Simon worked on the Logo
    • Hand drew the logo then scanned it
    • Edited the Logo on Gimp
    • MaisonLogo
  • Thu worked on the LED
    • was able to get the LED to light up
    • worked on the programming for the LED
  • Brandon worked on helping Thu with trying to light up the LED strips 

Day 8: 7/20/2015

  • Thu worked on wiring the Bred Board
    • Created a design with Fritzing
    • Le Maison
    • Design of a Bred Board Layout
      • Including the Bred Board, Lily Pad and Wires
  • Brandon learned how to work with the Bred Board 
    • Helped Thu wire the Bred Board
    • image-2
  • Simon worked on creating a “dxf” file for the endangered animals 
    • Decided to go with Cam Etching because it looks better than Libre Etching
    • Example : image-3

Day 9 : 7/21/2015

  • Simon started to work on designing the plaques for the endangered animals
    • was abole to get some of them started did not finish
  • Thu and Brandon worked on programing
    • coding the button to trigger lights and sound

Day 10 : 7/22/2015

  • Simon continued to work on the plaques
    • was able to add more information
    • finalize design
  • Thu continued working on programming
  • Brandon workwed with Brad to 3D print a button

Day 11 : 7/23/2015

  • Simon cut out two plaques
  • Thu worked on the motion sensor
  • Brandon worked with one of the interior design
    • Spray painted an ocean scene