These 3 #ChainReaction Challenge Winners Changed How We Think About Collaboration

By admin

You tinkered with tools. You experimented with everyday objects. You created playfully absurd machines to accomplish a simple goal. You broke your machine. And then you fixed it.

We were insanely impressed by the submissions to the #ChainReaction Challenge. You pushed the boundaries of play and creativity by opening food, charging your phone, setting off alarms, moving objects, and even feeding your pet. You collaborated with your friends, siblings, parents, and mentors to solve problems and think outside the box.

These three winners stood out for the use of Bits, the integration of objects and materials, the elegance of the transitions, and the story each machine told.

Wait no longer – here are your winners:


Umbrella Opener #ChainReaction by katharos

Katharos had always wanted to create a chain reaction machine, but never found exactly the right time to do it. Until this challenge came along. “It seemed like a great chance for me to at least play with the activity myself, rather than just thinking about it. And really, back to the beginning, I’ve just always wanted to make one!” Not to mention it was a perfect opportunity to playtest ideas for a kinetic art unit in her curriculum.


“In the end we didn’t get everything working until the 27th run-through!
It took a lot of persistence.”


So this mom, maker, volunteer art teacher, and scientific programmer grabbed her kids, Bits, marbles, trains, and more, then started tinkering. And when things started breaking, she kept tinkering to solve problems. “The umbrella was particularly ticklish, because the servo wasn’t strong enough to push the umbrella release by itself, so we had to put it under tension with a rubber band. This meant that sometimes it would go off all by itself if someone bumped it because it was on a hair trigger, or sometimes if the rubber band wasn’t set right it wouldn’t go off at all. In the end we didn’t get everything working until the 27th run-through! It took a lot of persistence.”

Katharos even got some motivational words from our Bitster team at Bay Area Maker Faire that kept her going through those 27 tries. Her words of wisdom to anyone else making a chain reaction machine? “If some part of your chain reaction goes wrong a lot, put it near the beginning, not the end, or you will have to keep resetting everything!”

We love this invention and we can’t wait to see what she makes next!



Tea Anyone? #ChainReaction by edonabejtullahu

Kosovo Chapter Leader Edona knows what it takes to get her students to rally around a challenge: tea.

Edona volunteers at the BONEVENT Makerspace where she runs workshops and mentors young makers. And they drink a lot of tea. So when this challenge came up, she decided to combine her students’ interests with the challenge. Our “inspiration came from the idea of creating something through chain reaction challenge that achieves a result. Most of the time from challenges that are created in classes come as cute ways to speed up the work routine. At BONEVET we drink a lot of tea, so we wanted to create a invention that would make this process of making tea more fun.”


“Creating this project wasn’t always easy but we found creative ways to avoid and fix problems by helping each other.”


To get started, Edona put her students in teams and gave each team a part of the machine to focus on, a strategy that she found helpful in the end. “Creating this project wasn’t always easy but we found creative ways to avoid and fix problems by helping each other.” The real success for her isn’t dependent on materials or number of Bits. She emphasizes “patience, motivation and team spirit. If your team has these features, all the challenges will be easier and more fun.”


Candiserv #ChainReaction by hallihan

For brothers Davy and Ryan, the most important transition in their machine is not part of their machine at all: eating the candy. They imagined a world where candy machines are not simply give and take devices, but playfully complex interactive mechanism. “It uses a series of extremely complicated chain reactions to give you a piece of candy.”

Not only did they succeed at creating this, they also turned their machine into a product, complete with a pitch, logo, and a wonderfully articulate explanation of how it all works. We hope they take this show on the road and bring us a Candiserv!


A big, BIG thanks to all of you who submitted to the challenge!


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