The making of Stifeo

Here is an article I stumbled upon a few months ago and that I still re-read from time to time. This article is explaining the work that the Stifeo did for their second-generation product.

Transient

If you don't know what Stifeo are, those are cubes with a little touch-screen on it and a few sensors inside on which you can play a mix of traditional and video games. What is really great in this project is how the games manage to create the perfect mix of physical and digital!

This article , written by Elizabeth Scott, an engineer of the Stifeo team, really is a comprehensive and documented report of their work. It's everything an engineering course should be! You can follow their quest for the perfect solution, their doubts, and their flash of genius which really was necessary to face such a challenge.

The most interesting part is the one about how they had to cope with limitation of their hardware while writing the software. In the D.I.Y. community, its not really common to see these issues arise. We tend to work with overpowered prototyping board and most of the time, the efficiency of resources use isn't the main concern. CPU-power is now cheaper than the intelligence necessary to reduce its need. The Stifeo engineer had to take their inspiration from the work made by Nitendo engineer, work they had to do to cope with the limitations of the NES, the GameBoy or the Super Nitendo.

To conclude, it's really worth the long read, there is a lot to learn and its a reminder of how amazing can be this engineering work!