Final Post


  1. Video of final project available here:
  2. My project is a tactile, interactive STEM outreach piece. It is designed to get kids excited about electronics and programming with lights and motion. The EL wire is passive and can draw in an audience, the persistence of vision is designed for ‘Wow’ factor, and the magic lantern tassel contributes some whimsy and interaction. I assembled, soldered and programmed the PoV kit to display my own art, and I also designed and soldered the circuit for the tassel using a prototyping board, 555 chip, servo motor and 5 volt step-up.
  3. I’m very pleased with all the skills I learned along the way, but feel the final result could use a few more interactive elements to have the impact I originally envisioned. The PoV didn’t work as well as I anticipated.
  4. The project met my original project description reasonably well.  I changed the C02 element for spring-steel boning, which was not finally implemented because of how it would impact other elements I wanted to add, such as more neopixels. In addition, I moved the PoV kit to a matching wristband as I saw it wouldn’t work well in the carpet. Finally, I had to add the magic lantern because of the size and number of battery packs involved
  5. With the number of elements involved, planning was a hurdle. I had to have a fairly clear picture of how everything was going to be laid out before I could assemble anything, but it was difficult to determine the layout without assembling. For example, the placement of the battery packs became an issue after they arrived and I could see their size more clearly, and it took me some time to figure out how I was going to control the motor. Sourcing the parts was time consuming as it felt like every time more parts arrived I realized I needed something else in addition. This also became expensive not only for the parts, but for the shipping. For the tassel motor in particular I was sourcing resistors and capacitors without very much confidence that I was getting the right items. I would have designed that element differently if I had more knowledge/someone to help troubleshoot, but instead I was constrained by the online tutorials I could find and the questions I could get answered by classmates.
  6. The next thing I would do is improve the lantern housing. Idealy it would be more sturdy to withstand children’s handling, and make the potentiomenter interaction more apparent. 3D printing would be great as that brings another cool tech to show kids, but I would have to learn how to design my own models. Next I would work to calibrate the PoV bracelet so the genie can be seen more easily. Finally, I would integrate neopixels so they light up when children touch certain spots along the carpet.