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Day 5 – why is everyone so calm?

Published on: | Author: Mario Schneller | Categories: 2018a, Daily Logs

It is already Wednesday morning, it is freezing cold outside and this years “Sketching with Hardware” building phase is already at its halftime. Everyone is working on their projects and the stress level is overall pretty low, although some teams had a very short night because of minor incidents.

Unfortunately some of the participants are arriving a bit late because of exams, but our coaches are on time as always and giving advise on how to solve problems with a lot of creativity and expertise. And as soon as Bernhard is supplying us with sweets, the stress of the previous days seems to vanish instantly.

Team 1 – Guarden Zwerg, the perfect surveillance tool

Objective:

The “Guarden Zwerg” is equipped with distance sensors and turns to every object in his direct vicinity with the help of a stepper motor. In the following it should be verified that the object is a human being and the Guarden Zwerg requests by sound to grin into the installed webcam. If there cannot be detected any grinning face, the gnome spits water and defends his garden.

Current state:

All the distance sensors are already up and running and the stepping motor, which is responsible to turn the garden gnome, is also finished. The communication between the Raspberry Pi (which is needed for the face recognition via GoogleVision) and the Arduino are also implemented.

To do:

Although the spitting mechanism is technically working and the pump can be controlled already, it is not yet completely finished. The sound is still missing and the team plans to install additional LEDs for the Guarden Zwerg’s glowing eyes.

Overall feeling:

“We are well in time”
Stress level: 3/10

Update in the afternoon:

“Shitty sensors!!!!11”
Stress level: 3/10
Frustration level: 9.000

Team 2 – Birdinator 4999, the fully automatic bird box

Objective:

The Birdinator is a fully automatic bird box with a feeding device, safety mechanism and a “Cabriolet” function for sunny weather. The feeding device automatically detects flies and insects in the vicinity and kills them with a fly swatter to help the birds with the hunting and to give them more time to care for their small birdies. If there is to much weight on the bird box (for example when a predator tries to get into it), the doors closes automatically to prevent the birds from any harm. Finally if the weather is good, the roof is able to be opened to let the sun in.

Current state:

The frame of the bird house is done and the door is closing when pressure is applied. The simple pressure sensor consists of an sponge underneath the house and a button which can be activated.

To do:

The roof mechanism should be finished today. The plan is to implement a servo motor which should be able to open the roof with the help of a hook. The light sensor to trigger the roof mechanism is already up and running. On the 6th day the fly swatter mechanism should be finished.

Overall feeling:

“There is a lot to do and hopefully the servos are strong enough”
Stress level: 3/10

Update in the afternoon:

“Please give us more sweets to survive this”
Stress level: 5/10

Team 3 – Der Moosdrucker, the beautiful way of doing graffiti

 

Objective:

The “Moosdrucker” is a device which should be able to print patterns on a horizontal surface – once mounted – with the help of a moss and buttermilk mixture. On the one hand it is planned to control the printer via a joystick and a button and on the other hand there should be an fully automatic mode where the printer prints a previously defined writing.

Current state:

The day before was really critical, as there were problems with the stepper motors. Now they are working as intended and the spraying mechanism (with the help of a servo motor attached to a spraying bottle) works like a charm. There is still the need of a finer calibration and the fully automatic mode can be a huge problem to implement.

To do:

Today the plan is to do all the calibration, which should take most of the time. After that, the team aims to concentrate on the design and the appearance of the Moosdrucker. Right now they are soldering the braids to the controller and after that they have to map the movements of the joystick to the motors.

Overall feeling:

“We have a feeling, this is not working out as we would wish”
Stress level 3/10

Update in the afternoon:

“Once again problems with the stepper motors and we are frustrated because of all the troubleshooting”
Stress level 6/10

Team 4 – Hans, the birds house for plants

Objective:

Hans is a fully automatic house for plants like cacti which need special conditions to survive. The little house is controlled by sensors (like brightness sensors, humidity sensors and temperature sensors) and is able to provide the perfect environment for its inhabitants by driving the plant in and out of the house.

Current state:

The sensors are already working and the stepper motor which should be responsible to move the plant is triggered by specific temperatures, humidity values and lighting conditions.
Horst (the plant which lives inside of Hans) is also prepared and ready to move in.

To do:

Today the guide rail for the plant needs to be finished as well as completing the case and adding doors. All the core functions should be completed today and fine tuning can start on day 6.

Overall feeling:

“We are ok-ish on time”
Stress level: 5/10
Fun level: 6/10

Update in the afternoon:

“Theoretical everything should work, although our daily goal is not met”
Stress level: 3/10

Team 5: Krötenschützende Vogel-/Katzenscheuche, or “why are there table tennis balls everywhere?”

Objective:

The “Krötenschützende Vogel-/Katzenscheuche” is equipped with pressure sensors and detects which animal is currently sitting in front of it. Depending on which animal is recorded different defence mechanisms are triggered to protect toads and bees living in the housing. Besides of bright LEDs and loud sounds the scarecrow should also be able to squirt water and throw table tennis balls at its targets with the help of a catapult.

Current state:

Balls are thrown – everywhere…everyone in the course can confirm. Also the pressure sensors are running and can relatively precise detect the weight of different objects. The sound effects and the water squirting mechanism still need to be implemented.

To do:

Today the task of the team is to implement the water pump to squirt water. If there is a bit time in the evening it can be started to paint the device. On the 4th day the team did not only destroy an Arduino but also worked overtime to finish the catapult and stayed in till 12am.

Overall feeling:

“We are hyped that the catapult is now working”
Stress level yesterday evening: 12/10
Stress level today: 4/10

Update in the afternoon:

“LEDs done, water pump finished, bring it on!”
Stress level: 4/10

Team 6: Watertag – minus 5 degrees, the perfect time for a game of Watertag

 

Objective:

Watertag is, like Lasertag, a game where players try to hit other players with a gun. But instead of lasers or infrared light, the players are shooting with water guns. Once one player is hit, the carried armor lights up and a sound is played, so everyone is informed. Also vibrating motors notify the player and LED lights indicate the remaining lives.

Current state:

With the help of piezo sensors it is possible to detect direct hits on the armor already. Also when water hits the breast piece a second piezo is triggered, which plays sounds. Also there are different sounds to indicate the start of a game. All components (also the LEDs and the vibrating motors) are working but they need to be installed and properly programmed.

To do:

Today the team is soldering the circuit board of the armor. After that there is a first beta test and calibration planned, before the chest piece can be completed. So today the electric part of the project should be finished, before working on the appearance of the armor tomorrow.

Overall feeling:

“We are perfectly on time, but we only have time for one armor”
Stress level: 1/10
Fun level: 10/10

Update in the afternoon:

“Everything works as intended”
Stress level: 0/10

Team 7: Automatische Anzuchtstation, or “how to build a pulley”

 

Objective:

The automatic cultivation station is sensor driven and able to give the offsprings just the right conditions to grow perfectly. Attached to a motor, the light can be adjusted automatically, the lid of the cultivation station can be lifted and with the help of a pump and a humidity sensor there is no need for manual watering.

Current state:

The lamp can already be adjusted as planned with the help of a light sensor and a stepper motor. It was a lot harder to build the pulley so that the stepper motor has enough power to lift the heavy lamp. Thats why the team lost the first two days on this topic. Now the water pump and the humidity sensors need to be installed and only if there is enough time, the liftable lid will be added.

To do:

Because there are no more humidity sensors, the team is aiming to build their own sensor with the help of two copper plates. Then the water pump needs to be connected.

Overall feeling:

“Who needs sensors if you can build them yourself?”
Stress level 3/10

Update in the afternoon:

“Sensors are working, we are the best”
Stress level 2/10

Team 8: Automatisches Sähgerät, or “how to spread rice everywhere”

Objective:

With this device, every time you pass a green area in a city, seeds are spread in that direction to help bees and other insects to survive in big cities. As it is connected to a mobile phone it is possible to detect green areas via OpenStreetMaps and automatically dispense the seeds.

Current state:

The connection between Android and the Arduino isn’t working properly, so the team discarded the idea of implementing OpenStreetMaps and now the device is controlled by a simple button. It is planned to build a case with a flap which can be lifted by a servo motor to provide a controlled distribution of the seeds.

To do:

Today it is planned to complete the case and finish the seeding machine. After that, the software problems can be tackled once again.

Overall feeling:

“Hopefully the closing mechanism is working”
Stress level: 4/10
Fun level: 9/10

Update in the afternoon:

“Why is the motor even working now?”
Stress level in the meantime: 9.000/10
Stress level now that the motor actually works: 5/10

linked categories 2018a, Daily Logs

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