Blog - Sketching with Hardware

Day 7

Published on: | Author: Alexander Klimczak | Categories: 2015a, Daily Logs

About storms and stress

Tuesday, the 31st of march 2015 was a stressful day in many regards. Cyclone Niklas was devastating western europe. The windows were rattling with the wind all day and the tree in front of the building kept swaying around, looking dangerously close to being pulled out of the ground. No one really wanted to leave for a lunch break, and if they did, they were quick. The S-Bahn in Munich was shut down and so our tutor was stuck in Munich, offering a few more highly appreciated hours of advice and support.

It was also the last day before the final presentation. That’s why I decided to go around at the end of each hour and ask the teams for their stress levels, rated from 1 to 10. This resulted in the following graph:

On the x-axis you see the time  and on the y-axis you see the stress level.stresslevels

As you can see, not all teams were equally stressed. You can also see some lines ending earlier than others. The official hours of the course are from 09:00 to 16:00, but as it was the last day of the course, we were kindly given the opportunity to stay longer. Many teams (including my team, team 3) gladly accepted. Some of us stayed until 23:00, but unfortunately, as it got later, I forgot to keep asking. So let’s have a look at what every team was up to on the last day.


Team 1

At the beginning of the day, Sonia and Nelson were quite stressed. Their chess board wasn’t quite working as intended yet, because they forgot to ground all their fields. That meant another day of soldering, soldering and soldering. In total, they reached over 500 solder joints. This seemingly endless soldering  forced them to stay the longest and to almost forget about the MIDI port. Other than that, they had to print the final few chess figures and adapt their code to the changes in their matrix. Not all the contacts on the board worked exactly like they wanted to, but as more and more things panned out for them, they got a little more relaxed toward the end of the day.

Sonia and Nelson working on their  musical chess game

Sonia and Nelson working on their musical chess game “Pawntatonic”


Team 2

Melanie and Christian had little reason the be stressed, as they were almost finished on tuesday. All they had to do was put in the MIDI port and assemble the single parts of their instrument. Their only problem was the incorrect wiring of their MIDI Port. When they swapped the wires everything worked as planned.

Christian and Melanie assembling  Instrum Hands

Christian and Melanie assembling Instrum Hands


Team 3

Fabian and I finished all the single components of our panflute the day before, all we needed to do on tuesday was to build the pipes and assemble the flute. That meant a lot of soldering, drilling, sawing and sanding. We had a plan but we needed time. Our stress level continously grew until 4 in the afternoon, because we thought we would have to be finished by then. We relaxed after we found out we could stay longer, but had a major panic attack around 7 in the evening, when one of our green LEDs suddenly was orange. We had accidentally soldered the wire from the LED to the wrong connection, so power was running through it without a resistance. After we cut and resoldered our very short wires, we managed to fix that problem. All that was left for the three hours before the final presentation the next day, was to mount the already working MIDI Port to our panpipe and to do finishing, visual touches on the construction.

Team 3 soldering very short wires

Team 3 soldering very short wires


Team 4

Iris’ and Olivia’s stress level was the third highest at the beginning of the day. The plan for the last day was to finish their final part of the bike drum kit, a “fender knocker” and then assemble all the parts which could only move seperately. But the day before left them with a lot of grief. Olivia’s laptop died when team 5 accidentally sent too much voltage through its USB-port and suddenly, one of their motors and their arduino seemed to have given up completely. Fortunately, this was soon solved with the use of a new motor shield. They finally finished between 6 and 7 in the evening.

Olivia and Iris with their bike drum kit

Olivia and Iris with their bike drum kit


Team 5

Felix and Kai were almost done on the last day, their electronic xylophone worked perfectly and all that was left was the integration of MIDI. This however, was the cause for their two stress spikes in the graph. First there were issues putting in the MIDI Port, then they desperately (they said they were desperate, so should their stress level have been higher than a 5?) tried to cast bytes to integers, which wasn’t necessary at all.

Felix holding the xylophone

Felix holding the xylophone


Team 6

The award for most stressed goes to … Teresa and Rainer! When I asked them about their stress level between 0 and 10, they even said it was 12! It was the last day already and the core functionality of the Musical Production Phone – sampling – still wasn’t working. When they finished the code to access WAVE files from a SD card, the stress level dropped. It went straight back up though, when they still couldn’t access the SD card reader. They soon found out it was because of they forgot to wire one of the reader’s contacts to the arduino. Unfortunately, team 6 had to scrap the LEDs they wanted to put into the phone’s key because they wouldn’t fit.

Rainer soldering

Rainer soldering


Team 7

And the award for most relaxed goes to … Alina, Chris and Sven. The three finished the earliest and seemed almost a little too relaxed on the last day. Their Magic Mashroom offered MIDI input and output, so everyone could test their creations with it. Sven was even nice enough to stay longer and help the others with implementing MIDI. All they added on the last day was transformation of sound, since the Magic Mashroom could only do simple playback before.

Sven handling MIDI ports

Sven handling MIDI ports


Final Words

At the end of the day, it stopped raining and the storm calmed. However stressful the day was for the single teams, each and every one of them managed to get a lot of work done. A few teams didn’t even have anything left to do in the three hours before the final presentation the next day.

linked categories 2015a, Daily Logs


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