Electronic Dice

A set of smart dice, barely bigger than traditional ones, with LEDs and Bluetooth.

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A set of 'electronically augmented' playing dice. They can be used as a drop-in replacement for regular dice, or they can be leveraged in games that straddle the gap between physical and digital games.

Here is a video presentation of the project:

The dice are based around a Simblee module (that conveniently combines an nRF51 chip with a chip antenna). The LEDs are charlieplexed using an I2C GPIO controller (mostly because the Simblee module cannot source or sink enough current). There is, of course, an accelerometer to detect orientation, and a small EEPROM to store non-volatile data.

There is even a small magnetic switch such that I can eventually build a carrying case with small embedded magnets that will make sure the dice remain off during transport.

All the electronics are soldered onto a flexible pcb and then wrapped around the battery in a cube shape, so that the LEDs face outward. All the other components had to be on the other side of the board.

The case is 3D printed (Shapeways) and currently measures 17mm on its side (a standard die is 16mm).

It was very challenging, in a fun way, to design the pcb and the case at the same time. Because of the small space, I really had to constantly think how layout would affect the way everything fit together in space, and vice versa.


Top Layer of Flexible PCB

Adobe Portable Document Format - 61.49 kB - 11/29/2017 at 01:32



Bottom Layer of Flexible PCB

Adobe Portable Document Format - 46.76 kB - 11/29/2017 at 01:32



Schematics of the dice flex PCB.

Adobe Portable Document Format - 165.40 kB - 11/29/2017 at 01:30


  • 1 × Simblee Microcontroller + Bluetooth radio + chip antenna
  • 1 × PCA9538A Microprocessors, Microcontrollers, DSPs / IO Controllers
  • 1 × AH1884 Switches and Relays / Switches
  • 1 × 24C04A Memory ICs / EEPROMs

  • A shorter presentation video!

    Jean Simonet12/01/2017 at 00:25 0 comments

    I put together a shorter video, less technical and more like a sizzle-reel.

    Hopefully I can get back to work soon! Taking pictures and editing stuff together, let alone re-recording stuff a gazillion times, ends up sucking up soooo much time...

    Anyhow, hope you all like it,


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Bastiaan wrote 12/06/2017 at 18:45 point

This is a really awesome project and I enjoyed your video. You talked about looking for rechargeable batteries that fit the requirements, have you looked at super capacitors? There should be ones with a decent capacity at the size of the battery you are using and will keep components to charge it to a minimum. Maybe it won't fit the energy requirements you have, especially with Bluetooth and RGB LEDs but they store some decent amount of energy. Also, wireless charging would be really great, but that's even more parts in there ...

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Guy Carver wrote 11/29/2017 at 17:38 point

Pretty damn cool Jean.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jean Simonet wrote 11/30/2017 at 05:38 point

Ah! Thanks boss! ;)

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Chris wrote 11/29/2017 at 04:25 point

You could use a coin battery with an external recharger for the time unless you actually want it to be completely self-contained.

Great work! ヽ(´▽`)/

 I love the integration and since I'm a dice lover I really want some of them!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jean Simonet wrote 11/30/2017 at 05:41 point

Thanks! I'd love to get to the point where I can offer you some ;)

  Are you sure? yes | no

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