Pinball Machines are Fickle but Ours Has Attitude

By: Nora Pinell-Hernandez, Exhibits Fabricator

Our giant “Journey to a New Home” pinball machine or as I call it, “Pinball V. 4.0”, is temporarily in our shop for repairs and improvements. The pinball machine works much how the housing process works for Tribal Members – confusing and slighting frustrating. Although our design includes infrared, magnetic and vibration sensors, it doesn’t always react the way it was engineered to. Someone wittingly mentioned that the pinball machine has taken the personality of the housing process because sometimes it takes a really long time to push your housing permits through and sometimes your contract gets stuck and no amount of shakes will get the ball rolling again. With this new round of improvements our sensors will be more accurate and the lights blinking as the ball rolls down the ramps will be almost dizzying – much how the real process it, but this time it will be intentional.

Prototyping
Before taking down the pinball machine I made adjustments to the code of our Arduino (the micro-controller that reads and powers our lights and sensors). This is me, both frustrated and happy that I got the light bulb to light-up but not the motor.
BlinkBlink
 “Journey to a New Home” with half the lights on. Soon it will glow with even more lights!
Inside
This is the inside of the pinball machine. Notice ALL those wires? Some deliver power and some deliver signals to and from the sensor to the Arduino. The Arduino has a set of “if/else” statements that determines when a light or motor should be turned on.
KidsPlaying
A family enjoying “Journey to a New Home”. They learned how to get the ball all the way to the end with a lot of patience and tactic.

We Are Here will be on view until the end of November 2019. Take a trip to our Museum and experience the frustration of going through the housing process on the reservation.

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