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Jelly Bean Dispenser

Project Summary

This working prototype is the product of a course in which we experimented with sensors, buttons, and other unconventional forms of input to find new ways of capturing physical interaction from a user. It was then considered how this input could be interpreted to carry out various processes within a user interface.

I created a machine that dispensed a jelly bean, based on the color of the user's clothing. The dispenser worked by first having the user place him/herself into a frame and take a snapshot. Using Processing, the pixels of the image were instantly extracted and compared to 16 different color ranges, one representing each flavor jelly bean. After tallying the hits, the most prominent color was determined and passed onto Arduino, which dispensed the appropriate candy.

programs and Skills

  • Processing
  • Arduino
  • Photoshop


The Interface

Showed a live view of the camera for the user to position him/herself in the frame. When the snapshot was taken, the histogram (made up of little jelly beans) would show a breakdown of the colors extracted. The color with the most tallies was then dispensed.

The dispenser

Original design inspired by the mechanics of a Gatling gun. A disc containing the jelly beans would rotate to a central position, requiring the need for just one mechanical dispensing unit.

inside the machine

The disc was first turned into position by use of a stepper motor. Once in place, a servo motor moved the dispenser back and forth to dish out a jelly bean.

Machine in action