Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Arduino Introduction – Grant Johnson

Build Process

The storyboard for my Arduino invention!

For this week, we began working with Arduino’s and attachments, to make cool stuff and little robots. For my invention, I decided to create a fan that turns on when a certain temperature threshold is met, and turns off when that temperature goes back down. You may be thinking, “Wow, this sounds a lot like an A/C unit”. I would agree, but in some buildings and situations, I think it would be convenient to have a more personalizable, small-scale fan to keep the

The hand that would turn on or turn off switches on the extension cord.

area around you cool. I

also think this is something that could help out people that aren’t entirely mobile or have difficulty being mobile by allowing them to cool themselves off without the extra strain of having to get up.

Having some familiarity with Arduino’s definitely made this week’s lessons much easier to follow and understand and allowed me to be aware of the limitations and accessories that come with them. I started out by drawing a storyboard showing how my product would function and the problems it would solve — allowing people to stay cool without having to get up. To make this possible I essentially decided to attach some servos to some ‘hands’ (in my prototype, popsicle sticks), these hands are then connected to the Arduino, which is reading the local temperature on a digital thermometer. When the

temperature threshold is met then the hands move to turn on the extension cord that the fan would be plugged into. When the temperature gets low enough again then it will turn the fan off. The only real challenge I experienced with this project was getting three different accessories to run off the Arduino at the same time. To solve this I simply took the wires and ran them through a breadboard to act as a type of ‘splitter’ for the wires

An excerpt of my code!

running into the power and grounding inputs on the Arduino. I then took the code for sweep and changed it some to work with two different servos running when different actions happen. I also created some simple loops for LEDs connected to Arduino’s during this week, which you can see in the attached video:



This project was a lot of fun and really gave me a lot of room to make a huge variety of

different prototypes that could do any number of things. A lot of what we learned in class really helped me know how to proceed, but it also helped that I had previous knowledge of how to work with Arduino’s (I’ve made a locomating little car). I feel like this assignment definitely helped me think of how to take my previous knowledge and expand it in a really creative way. I also really enjoyed seeing all the examples from Sara on different ways that Arduino’s could be integrated into things such as art experiences.

I really was excited to see the arms of my prototype move when different temperatures

The set-up for my thermometer and Arduino board.

were read from the thermometer, that was a really fun and cool part of the project. It was also interesting seeing all the different things that could be connected to Arduino’s that could be used in future projects! I can see myself coming back to Arduino/buying a kit for myself soon so I can make some more awesome stuff.


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