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Midterm: Pet Trick

July 26, 2011

It’s hard to resist petting a cute puppy. Most of the time, puppies show their appreciation by wagging their tails, licking your hands, or rolling over out of excitement. For our midterm project, Sophie had the idea of creating an interactive pet whose heart would light up in response to being petted. 

As we began setting up our breadboards, we came across a few problems. The LED lights that we planned to use in order to illuminate the heart were dim. It took us awhile to figure out that we were using the wrong resistor. Once we figured out the solution, the only the we had to do was add extra wire to the sensor and LED.

After a few tries, I successfully soldered the wire to the LED lights. The real challenge was how to solder the wires to the sensor without melting or damaging anything. My professor explained to me that the sensor had a short heat threshold. The trick was to solder it quickly and carefully. I ended up using the helping hands and alligator clips in order to insure accuracy and precision. I was very lucky to have soldered it successfully on the first try. I can’t say the same about the LED lights which took several attempts. I suppose the practice I got from soldering those together can attribute to the success I had with the sensor.

Constructing the puppy was the most enjoyable part of the project. Previous to this, I had never done any paper crafts before. Sophie made a few paper models in order to determine which was the best way to construct the body of the puppy. As opposed to cutting out of paper, Sophie realized that using gift boxes would allow for a more aesthetically pleasing puppy. It took 6 different sized boxes to construct the head, body, and legs. Adding red vellum to the puppy’s heart was a wonderful addition that emphasized the red LED lights once they lit up.

Due to sensor constraints, we were only able to have the ear be the point of contact and interaction. In the event that we pursue this project further, I would like to explore how to embed sensors into fabric in order to increase the target areas.

Lab: Tone Output using an Arduino

July 19, 2011
Based on the example, I’m under the impression that I was missing a few parts. After an unsuccessful attempt, I’m wonder if I didn’t do the code correctly or didn’t have all the right parts. I’ll post an update as soon as I figure out what went wrong.
*Update: During class, I found out that I didn’t wire my board correctly and that I was missing a few parts. Once I properly copied all the code into the sketch, everything worked out.

Lab: Servo Motor Control with an Arduino

July 19, 2011

I definitely did something wrong. There was no movement from the motor after assembling all the parts and uploading the code. As soon as I figure out what went wrong, I’ll post an update.

*Update: I didn’t understand what the different wire colors meant on the servo. I accidentally got the data pin confused with the ground pin. The problem has been solved. Case closed!

Lab: Electronics

July 14, 2011

Unfortunately, I don’t have too many photos to share with you from this lab since it was hard to take photos while conducting the readings. This was definitely an interesting lab that forced me to get familiar with the multimeter. Figuring out where to set the dial for an accurate reading was a mathematical adventure in itself with decimal points and all. Once I figured out that the hold button was on it turned it off and it became even easier to figure out where to set the dial. Apparently, 20 was the magic number. I tested the circuit I made during the last lab. It was really interesting to see how the potentiometer worked on a numerical scale. I definitely see how useful this tool can be when debugging a program / device. Without the multimeter, it is hard to see the power flow within a circuit in order to determine if the expected voltage is greater or lower.

Brainstorm: fantasy device

July 12, 2011

I’ve always been fascinated with braille. The current trend with devices is touchscreen navigation. I really want to explore how to incorporate sensors into a touchscreen device that can interpret signage, scenery, and other facets of daily life into braille in real time.


Lab: analog in with an arduino

July 12, 2011


This lab was a wonderful introduction on how to construct a basic circuit using a resistor, potentiometer, and LED light. 


After setting up my breadboard and wiring the ground and power, I was able to establish the necessary groundwork that would allow the potentiometer to control the amount of light the LED would emit.

I spy…

July 7, 2011

This assignment was extremely eye opening to how much we interact with sensors on a daily basis. During my “sensor walk” I came across a lot of motion sensors. From the hand dryer and purell hand sanitizer distributer in the bathroom to the electronic doors, the addition of these sensors made these devices more efficient. Its interesting to see just how far we’ve come from simple push-button technology much like the one found in the doorbell to more interactive devices.



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