Binary Bingo

Institution / client name: Motorola
Project name: Binary Bingo
Date: Spring 1992
Role(s): Co-Producer, interactivity design, technical solution design, technical direction, programming


Paint by Binary game in which 1's and 0's are used to choose color. Purple skin in this case.

The mission of the Motorola Museum of Electronics is to educate the public about Motorola's history and its technology. We created a half-dozen or so interactive exhibits to support this mission in 1992. One of the exhibits, Binary Bingo, was designed to teach visitors about binary numbers and how they are used as a language of information.

Our solution revolved around two main foci: the mechanics of binary numbers and the arbitrary mapping of a number to either a letter, color, or sound. Games were constructed in which a visitor had to choose a specific color, letter, or sound from a group. Each member of the group was given a number and the user had to navigate to that number by making the correct binary representation of the number.

Users selected a binary number by pressing on the 1's and 0's of a number to change that number's state from 1 to 0 and back again. The resulting decimal number was shown, and a highlight on a palette moved to the corresponding color, number, or letter. Learning happened as the visitors fumbled with the 1's and 0's. Invariably, a light would go off in their head as the user's 'got it.'

The experience was rounded out by adding video instructions. The same actor played: Leonardo DaVinci asking users to help him finish the Mona Lisa by choosing colors and filling in those colors in regions of the painting; Bob Binary, host of a 'wheel of fortune' like word guessing game in which users tried to find a hidden word by guessing letters; and the One Fingered Maestro, a piano player who lets instructs visitors to choose notes on a musical staff using binary numbers, and then plays those notes in sequence using, of course, one finger.

The entire experience was a coordinated laser-disc and video overlay card exercise at a time when interactivity and video overlay were in their infancy.


Chicken Logic game in which eggs float through logic gates. Goal: crack an egg in the pan.

In the SEEK experience a cube is rotated 7 times to illustrate different chapters in the story of electricity.

phone: 617-697-7527 — e-mail: ben@dubrovsky.name — ©2007, 2008, 2009 Ben Dubrovsky