long overdue-arduino

Our first of many(?) successes a button!

There it is. Why use an IR trip sensor you ask!? We needed a sensor to judge the proximity of a person to the focal point. After attempting to work with proximity sensors, and looking into the limitations and requirements when it comes to the code, we decided to use an IR sensor. We would use three per person, so that with each triggering, a different movie would play on the N810. Our group was five people, each with three videos. So we still had to decide how the machine would know which series of movies to play through.

One big issue we had with the IR’s, however, was their range. The goal was to have a person walk in between them, therefor triggering a movie. After making one, however, we found out that the range is closer to an inch… we had to keep brainstorming. We started testing the IR’s using reflection by instead of placing the components across from each other, they would both face the same direction. This means no movie would play until a person walked by and the light being emitted would reflect off the person, allowing the detection of the light and the triggering of a movie to play.

The project for this class had group and individual elements. Individually, each student was to make a move using TYPE-not text- using after effects. This meant that we all needed to learn the software, and then produce something beautiful. The morning class periods provided us with basic knowledge with after effects, and provided us time to work on our videos. The afternoons and majority of the class was spent working with our groups on the arduino piece. We had to pick a sensor, learn how to arrange and code it, and create an installation.

This task proved extremely difficult due the unfamiliarity most people had with sensors and arduinos. We researched a lot and made many trips to SB road to by electronics.

In the end, I have a very negative look on the class. My expectations were high, I felt a class using arduino, flash, and after effects had a lot of potential especially considering the last and only class I had taken with arduinos. Issues with the group as well as the instruction were daily, and the end result was less than impressive.

Now, this was something I could be proud of. Mahima and I wired up one successful IR sensor and had everyone duplicate it once so there were now five working IR’s, I then wired all of these up to one board and then into the arduino. I labeled the wires to try and keep organized, and we were set… so we thought.

In the end, after spending days trying to understand why these boards that were wired exactly the same as the working one refused to function. FINALLY the third full night spent on new campus, increased stress and irritability due to exhaustion and heat pushed us to go up to the terrace and work up there… Afterall-if the heat was affecting us so negatively, we wondered if that could have anything to do with the sensors.

We used aluminum to try and increase the reflection… still no luck

On the terrace- everything worked perfectly, much better than we even expected, the range was much greater.

After a great deal of pain…

Tanuja and Chandini did the visuals, the rest of us did all the wiring, coding, etc. We each had a box with a breadboard in it, some graphics, and the N810. When a person approached, he or she would pick which of the five to view and sit down in front of the sign and graphics pertaining to that theme. The viewer would watch the first video which plays while the N810 is nearest to the individual, and in moving the N810 further from the body, the sensor would trigger a different movie to play.

In the end, the sensors changed to using one sensor per person which was based on proximity. We set the range, and that was that!

As I previously mentioned, I was extremely disappointed with the class overall, and cannot believe that this is all we could produce in a five week course that meets monday-thursday. I can’t help but think smart surfaces (scroll down) was a 7 week final project and just one class out of 5, but circumstances are different.


March 21, 2010. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Feb 23, 2010


Another long day of class-the lack of productivity that occurred made it feel like forever. Trying to get a group functioning and producing is difficult when there is no time line, so that was our first line of action. I spent some time outside drawing, any excuse to get out of that room. The usual, bakery, lunch, procrastination, after effects. Eventually we spent some time with our teachers actually arduino-ing. We also got our LED blinking, as practice. Eventually Mahima and I left for the city in hopes of pretending to be sophisticated at IndiJoes, where we could sip on fancy drinks- for free of course! We got a bit dressed up, both wore our glasses, brought a book to put on the table for show, and were ready to pretend to have an intellectual conversation. We picked up a few others, ad trekked to SB road to pick up electronics.

Expecting that we would be wandering aimlessly in a huge electronics store looking for pieces we have never seen before and would surely be unable to recognize, we jumped out of the car onto an insanely busy street. I thought Commercial street was chaotic, but I should have known- electronics-Bangalore…

Handing a notebook with a large list of materials to a man in a button up shirt behind the counter, I watched. He set the list down and would pick up a plastic box, flip through some paper bags of what looked like miscellaneous, and would dump out a few of a lot of things. He did this while answering an array of questions thrown at him by other customers. He stayed very calm and efficient- we were out in 10 minutes, 232 rps. Mahima and I were excited for the rest of our night-that is an understatement by far. Running late, we sped off-only to be interrupted by a phone call.

The place we were going had caught on fire with 10 already dead and 100 trapped inside! Lots of phone calls after that, making sure everyone was okay. Scary, that had our teachers not wanted us to go into the city today ad get the electronics today, we would have been at Indijoes when the fire just broke out. The fire did not reach that place where we would have been, but it was in the same complex- too close.

Having heard the news, we changed plans and headed to Java City. I had exhausted myself in the car, and this fire business had upset me more than expected. I suddenly just wanted to go home and to bed, but neither of these things were in store- at least for many hours. We went to Indian Coffee house with Gounder, and spoke for a long time. We have good conversations. I am constantly asked questions that I find difficult to answer. This is startling, because half the time I simply don’t know because I have never questioned them myself. I hate not knowing the answers, and get defensive and exhausted. … things to work on…

He also called me out big time. Which, after an exhausting, upsetting day, I did not want to deal with. When I finally did, though, I appreciated it, and bought a flight for Bombay leaving Friday. I am very excited, because I have always wanted to go, and thought it was not an option this trip. My ticket has been purchased.

In the night, Mahima and I went for classy drinks at Bacchaus. It was great, we talked a lot and drank martinis dimmed by candlelight. We drove to her aunts, where we slept in a huge comfortable bed, and woke up before class in the morning

February 25, 2010. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.