Every few months, the team at the U.K. creative agency Si digital gets together for an informal hack week to test technologies for potential future client work. Their latest experiment is Sid, a Raspberry Pi-powered robotic arm situated in the Si digital office that controls a game you can play right on your computer.
To play, you tap into a live video feed on Si’s website and use your keyboard to direct Sid to pick up and drop one of several metal balls into various holes. Each hole is worth a certain number of points, with smaller holes earning you more points, and you get 45 seconds to rack up as many as you can. It’s somewhat reminiscent of skee ball. So far, Sid has been seeing about 200 visitors at any given time.
Si digital managing director Steven Piper tells Fast Company the team uses hack weeks to experiment with new ways to connect the virtual and physical worlds. This Halloween, for instance, Si employees created a homemade circuit that allowed anyone to tweet at a member of the team to deliver them an electric shock at random. And for the series finale of Breaking Bad, Si created a Whac-A-Mole-style game in which you shoot the show’s protagonist, Walter White.
“We try to find a way to make these for business reasons,” Piper says. “I’m not sure what that’s going to be just yet.”