What Computing Means to Me: Reflections Through Exploding Kittens

There was one quite memorable moment during spring break when I perceived a direct connection between my everyday life and computing. Surprisingly enough, this particular moment occurred right when we were about to play a game of Exploding Kittens (an incredible card game). These cards, apart from having extremely interesting drawings, also came in a box that would produce a meow sound every time it was opened. The first thing I noticed apart from the sound was the small photocell that was hidden in one of the illustrated cat’s eyes. With this, I realized how the meow sound was produced through the photocell, toggling on whenever light hit it. Although small, this discovery filled me with immense joy, as it was the first time I saw a connection between the circuits and sensors we used in class to an actual widespread game.

Exploding Kittens box, the photocell is hidden inside the Taco Cat’s left eye

This small incident is an example of the way computing has shifted my perception of certain objects, even in such a small way as in discovering how an Exploding Kittens box works. Now, whenever I see circuits or wires, I don’t feel the same apprehension or confusion I would usually feel before taking this class. Instead, I wonder at how the circuit works, at the inner workings of an object that seems to use the same mechanisms we use for our weekly projects. In this same light, it is also amazing to think that with everything we know about computing as of right now, there are so many real-life objects we can reproduce. As with the games all of us have recreated using Processing, or even through the Etch-a-Sketch version I made with the serial communication, it is truly incredible how, through the basics of Arduino and Processing, so much can be created.