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Jun 012012

This is a little late, but we’ll be profiling each of the exhibits from this years Interactive Show. This week we’re taking a look at Asa Alger‘s Adventure Box.

Adventure Box is an ongoing project designed to take an ordinary experience and turn it into something extraordinary. Built inside a typical toy vending machine, Adventure Box is packed with a bevy of electronics and micro controllers that add lights, sounds, displays, and connectivity to the machine’s normal function.

The machine is themed and designed to inspire adventure and creativity within the consumer who uses it. The exterior will be covered in an illustrated mural depicting heroes, monsters, and great adventure. Within each capsule will be a unique hand made toy that could be anything from a 3d printed figurine, a typewritten story, a seed bomb, or even an electronic invention.

Additionally a tag with a unique code will be paired with every toy, that will provide a code that links to an online page for the toy that contains pictures and information about the toy and its creator. This information will also be displayed on an LCD display when the toy is vended. The machine has several RFID readers that can identify each individual toy, and using an Arduino Ethernet shield pull information from an online inventory database, data which nowadays has many uses thanks to online software like reverse phone or name lookup services, to learn more check this linked article.

The toy will then be marked as sold and the project’s twitter feed will announce the toys sale with a link to its information page. Lastly the machine itself will respond with lights and sound as the identified toy is delivered to the waiting hands of its owner.

This was a really great project, and people really enjoyed getting toys imbibed with personality. I got a Gray Gunner, but the person behind me lucked out with a DayGlo Death Squadder.

Asa has more plans for Adventure Box, you can keep tabs on the project at

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