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Infinity Dice

You don't have to tap a screen or press a button for your electronic dice fix, roll one of these and get the results anywhere!

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This project is basically an electronic dice, but instead of an app on your phone or a button on a bread board, this will be shaped and rolled like a real die.

The idea is to put a microprocessor, accelerometer, battery, and a Bluetooth module into a standard 6 sided die form factor. Each face of this die will have a display to show the results of the roll on. These will probably start as small eight segment displays (got to know what direction the 9 and 6 are) and hopefully move up to small OLED screens.

With these components, I can create a 6 sided die that can produce any number combination you would like. You can roll it and come up with a number between 1-20, or 1-100, or 23-42, or even hit 36% and miss 64%. This can be set through a connected phone, or the accelerometer can be used to select settings through taps on the dice its self.

This could be used for DnD, board games, or some other connected game that hasn't even been thought up yet. Possibilities are endless!

   The idea with this project is to replace the multitude of dice that are used with many games, like DnD, with an electric version that still gives the experience of real dice. One die to rule them all! With tiny displays on each side and an accelerometer to determine when it is rolled, many things are possible.

Here I am going to put down my ideas for requirements this little die is going to contain. As I make progress on these, I will update each one with new details, problems, and work arounds.

Requirements (Visual):

- At least two character display on each of the 6 sides: With two characters, numbers up to 99 can be shown (or any number of symbols). 

I would like them to be full color high res screens, but to start, 7 or 8 segment displays will be fine.

- Size of a typical die (about 0.5" - 0.75" cube): The dice should easily fit in your hand and be used with other normal dice if needed.

- Rugged casing: All the circuit boards and wires should be covered and protected from being thrown across the room. 

I will first start with printed plastic or rubber, then possibly try some metal.

Requirements (Interface):

- Tap selection: Selecting modes should be done by tapping the die on its sides. 

  • 1 × 3 Axis Accelerometer I was looking at the Freescale MMA8452Q (Sparkfun has a breakout board for prototyping: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/12756) . It has some nice features like a freefall and tap detection that could wake a sleeping microprocessor.
  • 6 × Displays The first one I have found that is small enough is the Kingbright ACDA02-41SURKWA-F01 (I forgot where I found that). They have to be small enough to fit into a dice size package. I might make these with surface mount LEDs. If anyone can suggest a small display I could use (at least 2 characters), that would be a big help!
  • 1 × Shift Register? If the processor is small, it might not have too many outputs to drive the displays. A shift register or two might help address the problem.
  • 1 × Microprocessor The BBRRRAAAAIINNNSSSS.... Probably an ATtiny85 (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9378) or something like this. It doesn't need to be overly powerful, depending on what kind of displays can be found. Having the Arduino bootloader would allow for easy modification later as well. Dip package for prototyping, then onto surface mount.
  • 1 × Battery A small Lithium battery would be perfect. They fit one into the fitbit, so I think i can fit one into dice.

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  • Startup Weekend

    daniel.bryand09/09/2015 at 02:22 0 comments

    It has been a long time since my last update on this project, and many things have happened. After not working on this for awhile because of work and other things, my friend told me about a Startup Weekend Hackathon at UMass Dartmouth. I pitched the Infinity Dice idea, and was able to build a team around it. That weekend, we build a working prototype using a mish-mash of parts and a Taz4 3D printer (my first time using one, it didn't come out the best...)

    The components in this prototype were an Arduino trinket (I think), a Sparkfun accelerometer breakout board, a lipo battery, and two Xadow OLED screens. These were connected to the trinket through an Xadow breakout board. The programming was simple, when the accelerometer registered any change, a number from 1-20 would be displayed on both the screens.

    Because of time constraints, both screens were connected via I2C serial, but they both had the same address, so everything was duplicated. Also, we could only get two screens, a bit short of the 6 that are going to be on the final version.

    We presented to the judges with the working model in hand and a slightly different name "Infinity Qube". The other part of the team did some market research and quizzed students around the campus. I think we had a very solid pitch, and I guess they did also... we won first place!

    Our team

    Since that weekend, our team has changed a bit, but we are now working on bringing this idea to market! We are right now in bootstrap mode, part time, working around our other jobs. It is slow going, but progress is being made.

    I will be updating this project page more often from now on, as well as some more in-depth updates on my website, mooseinspace.com. You can also check out our Infinity Qube page for any updates like events were going to be at. I am still doing all the website design myself, so it may be rough around the edges, but it'll get better as time goes on.


  • Design and Video

    daniel.bryand08/21/2014 at 05:01 0 comments

    I have finally gotten around to making a simple design document and introduction video (kinda procrastinated on those...).

    Here is the basic design of the infinity dice. It has the ATTiny at the center of the design with the Bluetooth, accelerometer, and display drivers all attached through a I2C bus in purple. The Bluetooth module that I have does not have an I2C serial communication feature, so this will have to be solved with either a different module or a I2C to SPI converter.

    The red shows the power. Dark red is the USB charging power (5V), which will be regulated by the battery charge IC. The charging controller outputs the 3.3 volts from either the battery or the USB as needed to power all the other components.

    The wireless section of this design shows a use of the Bluetooth feature. The phone can control the number of virtual sides on the dice, but it also acts as a bridge and brain for a smart board game. When the Infinity Dice is rolled, the number can be used to make decisions on the board game in parallel and possibly in secret from the players.

    One last thing... I am still looking for some smaller screens. I would like to eventually make the dimensions of this dice comparable to a standard d6 dice. If you have any suggestions that can be easily controllable and give some good flexibility, post them in the comments!

    Now, for the thing you have been waiting for... the video

    I am learning a lot with this project, and one of those things is making videos like this. I am learning about presentation (if you have any constructive comments, leave them here or on Youtube) and editing videos in Blender. There will be many more skills I will have to learn before the end of this project, so thank you for pushing me Hackaday!

  • Parts List

    daniel.bryand08/20/2014 at 00:00 0 comments

    As I'm working on this project (a lot slower than I'd like), I've started a list of the parts I am thinking of using and their prices. I'm looking at what it would take to order 1000 of these if it can git far enough. It might be a bit un-ordered right now, but it will eventually make it to the official BOM list on this site (that's what I've used so far).

    The list is here: Bill Of Materials

  • Working Display

    daniel.bryand07/14/2014 at 20:08 0 comments

    I found some time to play with the 8x8 LED display and control backpack I got in last week. At this point in the project, I am just going to look at each component individually and figure out how to use them.

    Read more »

  • Components Arriving

    daniel.bryand07/09/2014 at 13:29 0 comments

    I've been a bit busy lately with work and other things, but I did finally get around to ordering some parts I need to start experimenting.

    The first ones that came in was my Adafruit order. I saw that they had the nRF8001 low power Bluetooth chip on a breakout board, perfect for prototyping!

    I was also looking at their displays and saw something intriguing, a nice 8x8 led matrix that is 0.8" square. It is a bit thick, but with 6 of these, a die of about 1.2" cubed could be made with nice dynamic displays. Its a bit bigger than I'd like, but its not bad for a first try. (If anyone knows of a smaller display, please tell me in the comments!). I also ordered the 7 segment red bubble display from Sparkfun because its smaller.

    Along with that led matrix came a controller backpack. On it is a HT16k33 I2C led matrix driver. this chip can actually drive a 16x8 matrix, so a 6 sided die would need 3 of these driver, or if I use 8 segment displays, only need 1 driver (maybe). I'll have to see if it comes in a smaller package as well.

    Hopefully the rest of the components come in today and I find some time start playing with them. I'll keep you updated!

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Discussions

J. Ian Lindsay wrote 07/25/2014 at 01:59 point
What do you expect the cost would be if you ran off (say) 1000 of these? As a Magic the Gathering player, I would be all over this if it went to crowd-funding and was reasonably-priced.

If I were buying it, I would spend the extra coin on a matrix LED version if you can manage the current draw.

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Adam Fabio wrote 07/06/2014 at 05:57 point
Great idea Daniel! Thanks for entering The Hackaday Prize! These dice sound like a godsend for RPG players! Don't forget to keep updating us on your progress. Good luck!

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Liz wrote 06/28/2014 at 14:42 point
Nice idea!

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