Interactive Donation Box

Research, Design, Product

Gamification of the donation experience. Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre invited us to collaborate with them following the completion of a NESTA funded research project exploring how gaming design principles could be applied to business contexts. The design brief was to create an interactive donation box which encouraged new and repeat donations. We designed and prototyped several concept ideas, before deciding to develop a simple three pixel game. The concept was based on colour theory. One pixel always displayed ‘Donations Welcome’ so that visitors to the gallery could tell that the game was a donation experience.

Each of the other three pixels had a laser cut slot on the top face which was big enough to drop a coin or note into. When cash is dropped into a pixel, the pixel colour changes to the next one in the colour wheel and a ‘Thank You’ message flashes up on the fourth pixel in the colour that the pixel just changed to. Matching certain colour combinations in the three pixels to the colour wheel triggers a win state.

The pixels were manufactured from powder coated stainless steel with arrays of RGB LED’s set behind white perspex and a spray painted stainless steel mesh to create a fully diffused, almost infinite array of colour possibilities. We designed and produced robust electronic mechanisms for detecting both note, and coin donations into each of the three pixels.

Further information

DCA hosted a minimalist games jam with the interactive donation box for games designers to hack and modify the source code to yield new gaming experiences in April 2015. The project lead to a 600% increase in donations from new and existing visitors in the first year after installation. Nominated for Big Chip Interactive Award 2014.


In collaboration with Dundee Contemporary Arts, Denki, Studio PSK and the University of Dundee.