Gabriella Perry


A prismatic module turned childrens game

Harvard's Graduate School of Design, GSD-0678 Informal Robotics, Spring 2021

Stack-A-Jack, is a game inspired by a prismatic module explored in the context of Informal Robotics. The premise of the game is to earn points by stacking “jacks,” prismatic modules designed as tripods with hexagonal extrusions. The prismatic module lends itself to stacking due to the combination of the module design, motion, and springiness as a result of deformation. When launched, the module rotates and bounces based on the pitch angle and point of contact with a solid surface. Mechanical actuation using a spring launcher mechanism was modeled after hand actuation to preserve and emphasize motion patterns and module behaviors of interest. Motorized actuation was unachievable with the kit of parts provided, as the motors and batteries did not provide sufficient power or speed to realize the module’s intended behaviors.

The module was designed as a tripod with hexagonal extrusions. The symmetry in its form (along certain planes) contributed to its ability to be compressed or pinched from any hexagonal extrusion and yielded the same result when released. The deformation of the module material produced the springiness, and we discovered that the hinges needed to provide the stability and resiliency to produce enough spring.