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bruf
09-19-2007, 01:42 PM
For the better part of the last couple months, I have been using Phidgets to create a new Scoring System for a quiz show production at my workplace.

A little background :

I am a systems engineer for WOSU Public Media (http://www.wosu.org) out of Columbus, Ohio.

We are now in the 25th year of producing a high school quiz show called In The Know (http://www.wosu.org/television/local-programs/program-in-the-know/). In the Know is a quiz show consisting of two teams (comprised of local high school students) answering trivia questions and accruing points. Toward the end of the season, there is a playoff system that results in scholarships being awarded to the winning teams.

How Phidgets are incorporated :

About a year ago, it was decided that the production of In the Know was going to be relocated to our new [email protected] (http://www.wosu.org/archive/wosuatcosi/about.php) Facility. In this move, the producers wanted to upgrade the look and feel of the set/design/logos. In all of the redevelopment, it was apparent that a new scoring system was necessary. It was time to retire the commodore 64 that had been in operation for almost 20 years.

There was a problem, though. A new scoring system, as purchased from people that do that kind of thing, was expected to cost upwards of $15,000. And that number did not even include the new set pieces. That cost was simply hardware and software. That is when I was approached.

I began by tearing apart keyboards to create an improvised input system. After doing some Internet research on computer relay control, I came across Phidgets. They did exactly what I wanted and were able to handle both input and output. Additionally, I would be able to program the Phidgets with Visual Basic 6 (my most understood language).

Parts List :

1 PhidgetTextLCD
4 Dual Relay Control Boards
4 Lowe's Grey Box Power Boxes
Conduit to Connect Power boxes
A MILE of wiring
8 "easy" buttons
4 Power Bricks (to power relays and illuminate set pieces)
8 Low wattage Halogen lights (soon to be replaced with LED)
1 Dell XPS/Dimension 1950
1 flat screen monitor for score display (to be replaced by Large HDTV monitor)
1 touch screen monitor for scoring system management

For the most part, costs have been really low. They are far less than the $15k required to have this job done by "professionals".

I will have to see if I can get clearance to post a few minutes of video. I can, however, post a few pictures from out first taping (09/18/2007). If I can't get video clearance and you reside in the central Ohio area, the production will air on WOSU.TV on October 6th, 2008. If I can get some video, I will add it to this post.

With any luck, this system will be around the next 20 years!

Alex
09-19-2007, 03:07 PM
Great stuff bruf! We'd love to see some video of this in action if at all possible, so please keep us updated. Thanks for the submission!

Dave
09-19-2007, 03:35 PM
You retired the C64? Noooo!

Seriously though, this is really cool. I'm sure you saved a ton of money too.

bruf
10-17-2007, 10:23 AM
I know this is late and the winners have been decided, but here is a link to my scoring system in action. This program is produced by ONN [Ohio News Now]. It uses the same set and scoring system used for WOSU's "In the Know". The programs are very similar in look and feel.

The Brain Game (http://www.ohionewsnow.com/vplayer.php?clip=2007_10_12_Brain_Game.wmv)

Alex
10-17-2007, 04:03 PM
Nice, thanks for the update! This is an excellent representation of the possibilities of these easy to use boards:D

Too bad you didn't get that video in before the end of last month. I was really pushing for you to be in the top three, but without the video it was a little hard:(