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James Ray gives his initial observations of the Hex Game. The switches give it a nice tactile feel, the buzzer gives good feedback, and the simple design looks really good. It was also fun to play with. His suggestions include improvement on the ergonomic design, so that it feels better in your hands. He also suggests adding radio communication so it can link up to up to your cell phone for added game play options. This would have minimal impact on the certification as long as you pick a certified radio and didn’t adjust anything in the RF path.
If you were to follow his suggestion, you could add a radio addition using a BBC:microbit, for example. That would give you more flexibility and additional game modes. Making the board a carrier for the BBC:Microbit could improve marketability and expand the target audience. They’ll need to contemplate the tradeoffs between incorporating a radio module into their design versus making it a carrier for the Microbit. They also need to settle on function. Is it part of a kit for kids to put together or could it be incorporated in tech classes to practice soldering, learn hex or binary, and programming.
Following up on James Ray’s advice, they prototype a BBC:Microbit module. James recommends using something that is already made to plug into their hex game. He goes over considerations for placement of the antenna. Any metal in proximity to the antenna will detune the antenna and make it resonate less optimally. Anything that has capacitance, including mounting screws, will introduce a shift in the resonant frequency. Felix locates the datasheet for the card edge connector, which Ben uses to find the dimensions, and goes to work designing a 3D model to see how it might fit into their kit. Ben and James go over the pros and cons of incorporating the BBC: Microbit. The pros are that it’s well-documented, fairly powerful, it’s certified wireless, it’s got a lot of software, there’s name recognition, an LED matrix, and switches. A big con would be the form factor. They’re trying to find an orientation for placement but are running into trouble because the coplanar version of connector is through-hole. There is a surface mount vertical version but they don’t want it to be vertical. The microbit solves a lot of problems but it creates physical layout problems.