SUWAK - DWA RENDERY 01 SUWAK - DWA RENDERY 02
Case study
gaming

DICE+

INDUSTRY: ELECTRONICS
COUNTRY: POLAND
CLIENT: DICE+

SCOPE OF WORK:

Industrial design

  • pre design
  • conceptual design
  • targeted conceptual design
  • mechanical design
  • design for manufacturing
  • production supervision

Embedded electronics

  • pre design
  • dev board
  • targeted prototype
  • firmware
  • design for launch
  • production supervision

Angela Merkel and Donald Tusk playing board games using DICE+ at CeBIT in 2013

iF Gold Award

mindsailors-nagrody-zlotyif2014
DICE+

DICE+ is a universal controller for digital board games designed to interact with smart devices via Bluetooth. It lets people play together, whether they are in the same room or on the other end of the world. With shockproof design and an innovative display, it is a modern version of familiar dice. Built with custom made materials it boasts an accelerometer, thermometer and magnetometer, meaning it can be also utilized as a modern motion controller. With a perfectly balanced design and built-in intelligence that only accepts correct throws, it ensures a fair gameplay experience, while low power consumption allows a whole day of fun.

dice_plus_obrazek_586x580_webp
wDice_SLIDER_05

Our clients noticed a sales boom in tablets at that time. They produced analog gaming dice themselves and wanted to digitize the dice into a digital form. They wanted to transfer social board games and adapt them for tablets to play cooperative games. It was necessary to create an external tablet accessory in the form of some controller. And so, the idea of digitizing board games was born. Thus, DICE+ was created.

wkostka

We knew that DICE+ would be a cube, but we needed to define its style. Filled with extensive electronics and futuristic for its time, we aimed to retain the classic dice form. This phase began with searching for the perfect shape and style, utilizing sketches and simple models made from various materials.

wDice_SLIDER_02

This stage focused mainly on the cube's rounded edges. The design heavily emphasized the cube’s curvature, which might seem obvious, but was a challenging decision. The shape and rounding of corners affect how the dice roll, its appearance, and hand feel.

wDice_SLIDER_04

After selecting the shape, we concentrated on displaying numbers, choosing fonts, and color schemes. Our goal was to create a minimalist design while maintaining charging capabilities and illuminating numbers. We decided against painted numbers; instead, finding a way to illuminate them from within and disperse light took six months. After numerous iterations, we developed initial lighting prototypes and a charging method.

wDice_SLIDER_03

This phase mainly focused on material selection, embedding electronics inside the cube, and finding a motif for the cube's frame assembly – presenting significant challenges. To enable induction (the dice knows which side it’s touched on), we needed a material that naturally insulates but can be converted into a conductor; hence, we mixed carbon filings with the polymer (carbon being a superior conductor). After successful trials, we created a dedicated polymer in collaboration with a raw material supplier. Ultimately, one side consists of three materials: a touch-friendly, durable white silicone, a conductive layer ensuring correct number display, and a transparent layer with the number shape. DICE+ is equipped with an accelerometer, activating upon a 180° rotation. We also focused on lifting one of the sides to stylishly and practically conceal the micro USB port.

wDice_Exploded_02

The individual components previously prepared had to be adapted to the mold manufacturer's guidelines: the motif of the sliding side covering the micro USB port. This stage involved selecting specific polymers for production and focusing on the product’s assembly method. The innovative sliding side concept initially met with skepticism from an experienced German toolmaker, but ultimately, a compromise was reached between the designers and engineers to achieve the desired effect.

fota_01

At this stage, we developed a proprietary production line encompassing all manufacturing stages required to create the product: polymer supply, injection molding, dedicated molds, quality control of individual polymer components, their sorting and manual assembly, a machine testing balance, further quality control, and packaging.

IMG_4219 kopia

DICE+ is a universal controller for digital board games designed to work with mobile devices via Bluetooth. It is a modern, innovative, digitized version of the traditional gaming dice.

In 2014, Mindsailors received iF Gold Award for DICE+.

wDice_SLIDER_05

Our clients noticed a sales boom in tablets at that time. They produced analog gaming dice themselves and wanted to digitize the dice into a digital form. They wanted to transfer social board games and adapt them for tablets to play cooperative games. It was necessary to create an external tablet accessory in the form of some controller. And so, the idea of digitalizing board games was born. Thus, DICE+ was created.

DICE+touch_webp

We started by selecting initial components, determining which electronic parts the dice needed to fulfill basic functionalities: communication with an external device (Bluetooth), spatial orientation (accelerometer), power supply (battery), LED diodes, PCB board, and control processor.

IMG_4227 kopia 2

At this stage, we created a dice laid out flat in a cross shape, which didn’t roll and was connected by wires. DICE + was connected to a computer and illuminated individual faces, not displaying any specific numbers, but it already communicated with an external device such as a tablet (via Bluetooth communication).

IMG_4232 kopia 2

The first targeted prototype was already a cube but consisted of six sides soldered together with wires.
We faced a challenge: how to connect the sides from a cross shape so they could transfer signals without using wires?
The second version of the targeted prototype was a combination of rigid-flex PCB. Here, we encountered another challenge: how to make the rigid layer fold at a 90° angle while the flexible layer stayed outside and remained intact. We developed a technology to mill the rigid layers at a 45° angle so they would fold into a right angle and additionally transfer the signal between the faces from the outside, which was very difficult. We succeeded in creating the targeted prototype with a flexible-rigid PCB.
The next challenge was to protect the electronics from damage. We came up with the idea of casting the assembled cube with resin from the inside, so the processor and other components located on the inner walls of the PCB would not be destroyed when the dice was thrown. It is one of the few electronic devices in the world that is dedicated to being thrown :)

IMG_4233 kopia 2

At this stage, we created control software that allowed the dice to communicate and the first series of games for iOS and Android. Creating the world of digital board games took a year and required an ambitious group of ten developers.

IMG_4231 kopia 2

This stage involved verifying all the components we made earlier, namely the motif of bending rigid-flex PCBs and developing a method for casting the electronics under strictly manufacturing conditions.

fota_01

This stage of work involved managing the production line, implementing optimizations for the production of electronic components, and finally combining one into another - installing the cast electronics into the cube casing: checking fittings, signal transmission, and testing the dice in terms of displaying numbers and communication with the tablet.

IMG_4219 kopia

DICE+ is a universal controller for digital board games designed to work with mobile devices via Bluetooth. It is a modern, innovative, digitized version of the traditional gaming dice.

In 2014, Mindsailors received iF Gold Award for DICE+.

Behind the design

Every product design is the result of a team effort. It never boils down to one person, but every project has its lead designer or lead contributors. If you want to know more about our current team, visit our team page.

Senior Designer
Michał Bonikowski
michal
CEO & Senior Designer
Rafał Piłat
rafal
Let's talk

Schedule an initial talk and get to know us better! You already have a basic brief? Send it over so we can have a more productive first meeting!

Contact us
Set up
a meeting

This site gathers statistical data in order to enhance user experience and to improve the content we deliver. We never store any of your personal data. You can read more in our Privacy Policy.