Winter Show 2015- post reflection

The Winter Show was an amazing success for us. It was the first time our microcontroller was consistently working, not to mention the longest we have ever used it.

Days leading up to the show I never thought I’d finished the final product of the gloves. I was still very nervous for the day of the Winter Show if they would last the two days. We had a variety of users from tall men to very young children, all fit their hands nicely in the gloves.

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Right before the show began I add two more pieces of non-conductive velcro, which was helpful to wear the cape without using the battery. Although I was super pleased with the final iteration of the cape, it didn’t have the best functionality with the game. Once a user began moving their arms to fly, the cape more often than not, slipped off.

When we discovered that the cape was hindering users to play the game with a lot of movement, I began having the cape act as a reward. Once someone, usually a child finished the game, they were rewarded with the cape as a symbol of being a superhero.

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I learned an incredible amount from this project. Eve and I were super proud with the result. I know truly understand why everyone says to start early. That’s a lesson best learned with experience, especially with the fabrication aspects of the project. I am excited to continue learning about wearables, coding, and fabricating more in the upcoming semester.

Final

For my final fabrication project I finished the superhero cape. For the enclosure assignment, I made a small prototype of a cape with an enclosure.  That helped me understand a lot about the fabric I am using, which is stretchy and shiny. I know that the best way to sew is on the inside of the fabric and how fast I should go on the sewing machine.

Not only would the fabrication of this project be difficult, but creating a strong circuit as well. Thankfully by taking fabrications, I am much more confident in creating things.

The first task was to create the circuit with LEDs. I ordered 10mm white LEDs from Adafruit, and conductive velcro (yes, conductive velcro). To ensure that I would set up my circuit correctly, I went to Kate to ask her for her help. She drew out what my circuit should look like which was super helpful when I needed a reference.

I then went to soldering all of the LEDs together. After getting one string with a 3V coin battery. I decided to rev up the power and use a 9V battery, in order to add more LEDs. I added a 220 ohm resistor that I solder to the wire coming from the positive side of the battery up to one of the pieces of velcro.

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After soldering I test with alligator clips and the lights turned on! I was so excited, as I often don’t feel very strong about my pcomp skills.

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Then I needed to connect the circuit together using longer pieces of stranded wire. This is protected by the two layers of fabric.

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For the straps, I sewed the conductive velcro to the conductive ribbon.

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I then made a pouch for the battery to go in, so it wouldn’t fall inside of the cape.

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This is the prototype before I connected the 10mm LEDs together using stranded wire. As evident in the photo, the LEDs are much smaller and harder to see which is why I bought the large LEDs to see even on the shiny material.

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Here is the cape on and off with the large LEDs. This is before the battery enclosure was made and I am completed this circuit by using alligator clips.

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Two materials: superhero gloves

I decided to combine my work for my final project again with fabrication. For my final project I am building a superhero cape that lights up when the switch is closed and a gloves, one of which has a switch, accelerometer and the microcontroller. Other than having a two pieces of the same shiny, spandex fabric I previously ordered from Amazon, I also needed to make a soft switch, enclosure and something to make it a bit more durable.

I first made the switch using felt (found in the soft lab) and conductive fabric.

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I decided to cut this in half in order to make the switch roughly the size of a person’s palm.

After I measured and cut out the pattern for the glove itself.

The materials I was using:

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Once I had the outline for the glove, I started to integrate this black material (of which I have no idea what it is, but it’s soft). I decided that I wanted this to be on the bottom size of the glove as the feel is really nice and would hopefully encourage users to feel more inclined to squeeze their fist. Once I figured that out I had to decide how to have the black material exposed inside the glove, but covering the switch and how they would be apart of the enclosure.

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Since I knew I would need to sew on the shiny part of the yellow fabric, I decided to use a less stretchy fabric found in the junk shelf. This would be to attach this black, soft material to and the black canvas fabric would function as the door of the enclosure.

I thought sewing this would be a challenge, but once I switched the stitch to zigzag, it actually wasn’t so bad!

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After trying the glove on with this inside, I decided it was too large and cut it in half then sewed the 4th edge.

 

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After I attached velcro to each part to allow them to all be taken off the outer layer of the shiny, stretchy fabric.

The blue soft switched has velcro on the front and back which is attached to the purple fabric and the black canvas. And the purple and gold spandex fabric is velcrod to each other. This allows me to not only get inside the glove, but also take the switch out at anytime (once it’s wired) if anything comes undone.

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Enclosure

For the enclosure assignment I decided to make something I need for my final project for ICM and PComp. For the past couple of weeks I have been working on an interactive superhero cape, which will control a web-based game on p5. I have been working on the design of the cape with Kate and getting a lot of soft circuitry help from Teresa and Isabel.

The cape will have a microcontroller in the back that will have wires running down to the sleeves/gloves that will house 2 accelerometers.

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I started with fabric I had ordered for the cape on Amazon. I got about 60 inches of this purple and gold metallic fabric.

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First I measured and cut (which is super hard) the purple at about 20 x 16 inches. Then I did the same to the gold.

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Once I cut them. I pinned them together with the sides I want on the outside. Luckily, that was about the time that Isabel showed up in the soft lab to inform me that material is very difficult to sew.

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So, then I flipped the materials around. I wanted to sew 4 sides in order to have a type of flap at the top that would eventually be the enclosure.

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However, I did a silly thing and sewed all 4 sides shut before  flipping the material I wanted on the outside. I ripped out the thread and started over.

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I then sewed the last side and left a half inch on each side that would allow wires to feed through. Then I cut out when the enclosure would be and added some velcro .

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After adding some conductive thread for the tie, I had a model test it out.

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Laser cutter: Treasure Map

This week I wanted to focus on making something simple with the laser cutter. Initially, I was inspired by my PComp/ICM final project–in the project one of the elements is that the user must “fly” from one point to the next in order to gain superhero skills. Below is a sketch of the original map.

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This then got me thinking about treasure maps. This past summer I was fortunate to go to the magical place in the world, Disney World, with my boyfriend and his 6 year old son. There we experienced a new gamified experience in Magic Kingdom, which is called “Sorcerers of Magic Kingdom”. This is basically an experience, in which you must defeat 8 villains that are hiding in the different lands of the kingdom. Sorcerers of Magic Kingdom is pretty cool, but even cooler with the excitement of a 6 year old. We were given a map like this. As you can see it’s fairly vague. It gives you small images to represent the keyholes you must find and activate within the land, but the only other reference is the roofs of the building structures. The entire experience refueled a love for old-timey treasure maps and love for the movie, “The Goonies”.

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This further inspired me to design a treasure map to cut on the laser cutter. I worked with Shir David, who has a lot of experience with Illustrator and she helped me get the design I wanted. I originally thought of cutting on a cork-like material, but I ended up really liking the results on the wood.

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After I used the laser cutter, I decided to shape the wood to look more like a map. I drew an outline on the wood and then used the band saw. This was my first time to use the band saw to make lines that aren’t straight and it was quite challenging. After cutting it, I wasn’t as happy as I wanted to be with it, so I used the power sander to mold the piece more into what I wanted.

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Multiples: Tinker Toys

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This week I wanted to make some type of toy for our multiples assignment. I first thought of making a variation of the toy, Lincoln Logs:

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After some thought about my own childhood, I thought of another beloved toy, Tinker Toys.

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Materials:

1 3/4, 36 inch square dowel

1 1, 36 inch square dowel

1 5/16th, 36 inch round dowel

1 1/4th, 36 inch round dowel

Ruler

Pencil

Band saw

Drill press

Drill bits

Miter saw

Sand paper

Sander

Order of operations:

The first thing I did was decide how long I wanted each wooden block. I began with 2 inches and measured out 5 blocks. I learned even my measuring skills are  a bit rusty.

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After I headed into the wood shop, I was partially terrified since I have never used any of these machines beside from demos during class. I started with the miter saw, which was difficult more to in a pattern with cutting them out. Since the blade itself is 1/8 inch, my pieces kept coming out a bit shorter, meaning I had to repeatedly measure 2 inches after each cut.

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In the end, I was pretty happy with the results.

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I then measured post-cutting to see how accurately I cut using the Miter saw. Then I began sanding each block.

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I used the remaining wood to cut out 1 and 3 inch blocks. The 1 inch blocks were definitely the most challenging. And even after sanding them, they are uneven.

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Since I bought 1 inch and 3/4 inch square dowels and 5/16th and 1/4th inch round dowels. My plan was to drill 5/16th holes into the 1 inch squares and 1/4th holes in the 3/4 inch squares.

My next step was to cut out some round dowel pieces that would eventually fit in the 1 inch squares. I used the band saw for this since the wood was thinner than the square dowel.

 

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This process was much better than the miter saw. I had less of an issue with the size of the blade since the blade is thinner than the miter saw.

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In the picture above it shows the 1/4th and 5/16th round dowels cut out. As well as the 3/4 inch square dowels, which I prefer over the larger square dowels. It also shows the beginning of drilling into the squares to create holes for the round dowels to fit in.

In order to drill the holes, I measured the placement of each hole. Holy, measuring! Another testament at ITP of my lacking math skills.

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I felt pretty comfortable with the drill press. I am very happy with my results given it was my first experience using most of these tools.

 

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Now we have blocks and rods to use and create into any shape you’d like!

Pen light

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My idea for the flashlight assignment was to create a pen that lights up. Overall, the experience was very positive, as it allowed me to apply what we have learned in Physical Computing. It was a nice to use that knowledge, or the lack there of, and explore more.

Materials:

  • pen
  • 3 volt battery
  • push button/toggle switch
  • wires
  • solder
  • LED button
  • tape

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Opposite flashlight

This is the first prototype I made. Although I liked somewhat goofy look to this version, I was using a push button that did the opposite what I wanted. The electricity from the battery was flowing straight to the LED, meaning that the when the wires were connected, the LED would turn on. When you push the button, the LED would turn off.

This was actually my first time soldering. When trying to explore other options to fix the backwards flashlight, my soldering job didn’t stand the test of force. I accidentally pulled one of the legs of the button and broke it off.  Luckily, someone near me overheard me dilemma and showed me better ways to solder more efficiently.

After discussing it with someone working next to me, we thought that a toggle switch would solve my issue of having my flashlight working like it should. I was able to get a toggle switch. After a few attempts, a lot of careful soldering, a lot of tape, and 6 hours, I was able to attach everything to pen and finalize my pen flashlight.

This assignment was a really great experience for me in putting a lot of things we have learned in PComp into practice. Since finishing my flashlight on Monday, I’ve been in a pretty great mood and feel generally more positive about my ITP experience. My personal opinion is that Intro to Fabrications be a requirement for 1st years. Even some people have experience with building things, it’s a great environment to explore new ways of thinking and the practice of prototyping is invaluable.

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