Advice/solutions needed for detection of moving units on board game

Hi,

I'm new to Arduino and electronics in general. I'm playing a board game and I have this crazy idea that it would be cool if the units actually made sounds when they were moved from point A to B.

The actual unit are attached to a base that are 40mm x 40mm in size but have a very low profile. It's not a problem to elevate the base so I'm thinking the entire solution should fit within the confined space under the base.

So far I've "envisioned" the following options:

  1. A sensor (which is the question) that will detect when the unit is moved, a (micro controller or ?) which will interface with the sensor, a speaker which will play the actual sound and a battery which will power everything. These devices will have to fit whitin the 40mm x 40mm confined space and as small as possible in height.

My reservations with this solution is the speaker which would be very small and therefore the sound quality would be very poor.

  1. I've found a very small wifi board with Arduino functionality (SparkCore, www.spark.io) which will fit (just) within the confined space. A sensor which will detect the movement and a battery which will power both. The actual sound will be played from a PC with proper speakers for optimal sound quality as the SparkCore will interface with the PC via wifi.

My reservations with this solution is the SparkCore. It's 39$ so each unit would be very expensive.

My imagination ends here :). Any advice, ideas or solutions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you and have a nice day.
Carsten

How about putting a switch under the base of each unit which is open when the unit is placed, and closes when it is lifted. You could use that to turn on a cheap synthesizer or play a recorded sound using those cheap 'greetings card' recording chips.

PeterH:
How about putting a switch under the base of each unit which is open when the unit is placed, and closes when it is lifted. You could use that to turn on a cheap synthesizer or play a recorded sound using those cheap 'greetings card' recording chips.

This would be your best solution, and possibly all you need is to install a magnet in the base of each piece and a reed switch under their locations. However, distinguishing between individual pieces would be impossible. Someone else had a thread on this.

PeterH, thank you for your suggestion! This sounds like a workable and possibly the less complicated solution.

mirith, thanks for the tip. The game is turn based, so only one unit is moved at the time.

What if the piece had a magnet in the base, and the board had reed switches under it at various locations. Then the board could make different sounds depending on which switch was closed?

Jimmy

mixographer:
What if the piece had a magnet in the base, and the board had reed switches under it at various locations. Then the board could make different sounds depending on which switch was closed?

Jimmy

Thanks for the suggestion. The game is played on a piece of fabric without any defined fields so your suggestion probably wouldn't be optimal in this case.

If its on fabric, that makes it significantly more complicated. You could maybe create some form of resistor array (Similar to a keyboard) where the pieces short together nodes on the fabric, and have large conductive bases on the pieces. It won't be foolproof, but it could possibly work. Overtime, especially if you use something that tarnishes, it will stop working consistently as the contacts tarnish, and the best thing for this type of contact would be gold, which is not cheap.