I think escape rooms are really neat, but my interest is more in the puzzle design than in solving existing puzzles. So I decided to build my own!
This is a "lock" that players open by rotating the dial to different cardinal directions, following a sequence hidden in a clue.
For this demonstration, solving the puzzle just turns an LED from red to green. But I designed it so that it would be easy to integrate into a real escape room by changing that function. You could, for example, have it disengage an electronic lock on a door or box.Hardware
The hardware is as simple as it gets. I used:
- Seeed Studio XIAO RP2040 development board
- 4x Reed switches (normally open)
- Permanent magnets
There are only two parts to print: the base and the dial.
You'll need to use supports when printing the base, but the dial doesn't require any.
Assembly is easy. Just follow the schematic from the previous step to connect the Reed switches to the XIAO, then use some hot glue to hold the Reed switches in the base. You may need some glue to hold the magnets in the dial, too.
If you want something more permanent than a breadboard, you can use a perfboard or prototyping PCB.Code
My code is thoroughly commented, as usual. So you can open that up and follow along with the comments to learn how everything works.
Every loop, it checks to see if any of the Reed switches are closed. It does so by looking at their analog readings to see if they exceed the set threshold. If a switch is closed, it checks to see if we've already registered that direction (to avoid repeats). If we haven't, it adds that direction to the input sequence.
And on every loop, it checks to see if the input sequence matches the solution sequence. If it does, that indicates a win.
You can change the length of the solution sequence, the order, and what happens when the player solves the puzzle.Devise a Clue!
This is the fun part, so take your time!
Here is the clue I wrote:
You Will Never Escape Unless You Solve This Puzzle. Elucidate The Solution To Win Now.
The player is supposed to ignore an word that doesn't start with an N, E, S, or W. They then turn the dial in the order of the words that do start with those letters. So the solution is:
West > North > East > South > East > South > West > North
When you come up with your clue and the solution sequence, keep in mind that you shouldn't use the same direction twice in a row (like North > North) and that you should only move to adjacent directions (don't use North > South).
Other than that, you're free to get creative!