I chose to use many new modules, such as the ESP32 and the MCU-6050, which were decidedly more complex than what my project required. I also ended up using new tools, such as soldering and using Bluetooth, which complicated things further. Compiling code onto the ESP32 module only worked half the time, and learning to use Bluetooth ended up being much more complicated than I thought, since it had to comply to Bluetooth standards. This project also necessitated that the entire device would fit within a glove, and to do that would require soldering the modules onto a perforated board as opposed to attaching everything via breadboard, something I had zero experience with.
Ultimately, I am proud of finding the solutions to all my problems. Despite the project taking more time and the problems encountered were more complex than expected, I am proud of taking the time to dedicate making the project a functional reality.
ESP32 Module and MPU-6050 mounted onto the perf board
Original wire setup for the flex sensors
The first learning goal was to learn about hardware and E-Textiles, as well as learn more about wireless devices and how they work. My second was to evaluate my product of two weeks to the original 1979 Nintendo Power Glove, which had a team work on it over the span of eight weeks. I wanted to see how the advancement of technology could change what is possible and by whom.
For the first goal, I definitely felt I learned a lot about a field I did not know, particularly hardware. I learned about prototyping with perf boards, the benefits of that instead of going straight to a PCB, as well as circuit design and how to solder. This is also the first time I needed to work with fabric, and so I had to figure out a way to keep the flex sensors snug to the finger of the glove while still needing it to be easily removable. Ultimately, I feel like I gained a valuable and diverse skill set through this project, and thus I feel like I accomplished my first learning goal.
For the second goal, my end product was successfully able to play Pokemon Yellow and Tetris on the Game Boy. While possible, no participants were able to successfully complete World 1-1 in Super Mario Bros. This is on par with the original Nintendo Power Glove; the motions that players needed to use to play a game like Mario were too precise for the Power Glove to cater to. The same was true in my prototype. While I had to change how to take certain actions due to hardware limitations (such as replacing relative position tracking with a gyroscope), the problems that plagued the original Power Glove are also found in my prototype, which was constructed at a fraction of the cost over a shorter amount of time. Therefore, I believe my product is a fair representation of the Power Glove, and that the advancement of technology, while helping to reduce the costs, did not make the product any better or more intuitive than it did in the late 70s.
Solder job and jumper cables done on the perf board. Flex sensors are attached modularly via the purple wires.
The final hardware setup of the Power Glove before installing it in the glove
What I Learned From INFO490 – Makerspace
One of the biggest things I have learned about myself is my level of dedication I can to seeing something to the end, regardless of the medium it’s being done in. There have been several points in this class where I am working on a project and I forget that I’m technically doing this for a grade; in my eyes, it’s all about completing it for the sake of the product itself, and not for the sake of getting a good grade. I believe much of this inspiration came from the staff at the Fab Lab itself; seeing people just passion for making and creating struck a drive in me to do better and make better.
I believe this course definitely had an impact in what I do in the future. I don’t want to be limited by my capacity; this class has shown me the resources readily available to me, and the amount of potential one can draw from fab labs if they simply take the time to draw it. I do not want to stop making or designing or creating simply due to a lack of resources or knowledge. In my opinion, whether or not I am confident to call myself a maker is as important as the grade I get from making these projects. In my head, anyone can be a maker, if they simply try to create; the title has no qualifications on the product itself. I found deep enjoyment and satisfaction from making this semester, and am confidence I will continue to pursue this interest in the future.
For my in-class quote paper circuit, I chose the classic quote: “A man, a plan, a canal, Panama”, of which the picture I drew for it was the Panama flag. To activate the flag LEDs, one needs to pinch down on the switch on the top of the flag to complete the circuit.
3D Paper Circuit
For my copper circuit implementation, I chose to forgo paper material and chose to go with cardboard for my project. I was never good at origami and don’t have the finger dexterity to work with the fragility of paper. I also wanted to make to make a robot, and cardboard is the most robotic like structure I could use.
Copper Circuit Design
The original design of the robot included two LEDs as the eyes and two LEDs as a form of “fingers” for the robot, much like ET. In order to maintain voltage across the circuit, the eyes were chosen to be yellow, while the fingers would be red. The pairs LEDs are also done in parallel in order to use just one battery to power the entire system.
Robot: The Head
The design for the robot effectively became two parts: one parallel circuit for the head of the robot, and one parallel circuit for the body. The head consists of two yellow LEDs as eyes in parallel, as well as the switch used to turn the robot on and off.
Robot: The Body
The body of the robot takes a more lax form than the head. While the general setup is the same, I chose to make the wires free form, not having them taped down unless necessary. This was to add a more rundown look to the robot. I also wanted the robot to have squiggly arms, and so the wires did that job done well.
Robot: The Hat
The hat of the robot is the switch for the system. When it is inserted, it connected the battery in the head to the rest of the system.
Challenges and Reflections
One of the biggest challenges when working on this project is the wires themselves. Since I wanted them to be freeform, I found difficulty in testing the circuit to make sure everything was connected properly. Ensuring that the robot and hat were able to stand was also an issue.
When reflecting, something I would definitely change is design itself. I would have definitely liked to have taken more time to add more LEDs in the system, as well as design it so the inner wires had a greater effect than they currently do. I also would have added legs of some kind. Ultimately, I am happy with my idea and the execution, particularly with the hat-as-switch mechanism.
For the Griffin Sticker, I chose to a cross between a rabbit and a fish, two animals unlikely to be friends in the wild:
Simple Multi-Layered Sticker
For the simple multi-layered sticker, I chose to do the logo for Raspberry Pi. It’s a relatively simple logo, with three defined colors, so I figured that the sticker would come out nicely:
I chose to use the green as the foundation of the sticker, and have holes throughout all the layers in order for it to come out. The red will predominantly come out in the holes of the top black layer, as shown:
Complex Multi-Layered Sticker
My complex sticker was designed around the theme of Chicago. The colors were derived from the flag of Chicago, with Cloud Gate replacing the red stars and the Sears Tower shooting up from the bottom of the heart.
There are a total of four layers that construct the sticker. From bottom to top:
The blue heart
The white middle stripe
The black Sears Tower
The four red beans
The choice of layers derived from what needed to be aligned and what needed to be on top of another. For example, the Sears Tower needed to be behind the red Beans, and the Beans needed to be on top of the white strip, since they use the white in their design as their “shine”.
Looking back, I wish I factored in needing to center the beans with respect to the rest of the object. Some of the issues with using a red bottom layer, however, was that the Sears Tower needed to be behind the Beans, while still being on top of the stripe. This, however, never ended up being an issue, since the beans were misaligned from the original design to begin with. The Sears Tower itself is also slightly misaligned from the center of the heart, thus leading to a small sliver of blue showing at the bottom of the Tower.
For my nametag project, I definitely wanted something that has a lot of utility; something that can be worn at both a career fair or convention or any social gathering, and still feel appropriate. So I decided to take the conventional “HELLO / my name is” nametag and add my own personality into it.
The process began with the idea of modifying the classic nametag sticker into something more interesting and unique, while still keeping its versatile functionality.
Something I thought would be interesting would be add space for a whiteboard. This again, would further the functionality, as the space would allow me to write either “Computer Science 2019” or “#1 Dad” or whatever was appropriate for the occasion, and still be reusable.
Something else I wanted to add was an extension to the nametag, that again would serve a purpose. What I chose to do was create a “Notes” book that attached to the actual nametag with a piece of rope. They would also be bound to each other by rope. In it, I would glue small 2in x 2in post-it notes onto it. This could be used to write my information and give it to a recruiter or any other person of interest, or simply be used for fun.
Construction phase was oddly difficult. I had a lot of trouble trying to get the laser to correctly cut my pieces, and spent a long time trying to debug my .svg to see why it would not detect certain red linings. I also worried that I made the red holes too close to the outside, meaning the holes would not be closed. In the end, however, I was able to successfully construct the parts together.
Looking back, I definitely would like to try more interesting things with this project, as well as design it differently. One thing I would change is the knoting and the choice of rope currently used. I would try to learn roping or use metal bands to clasp the notebook together. Something else I would most likely change is the choice of material. Since the marker could smudge onto the wood and stain it, I would choose material that would be less likely to stain. I would also like to choose something more interesting than acrylic for the whiteboard, such as glass. Ultimtately, I am happy with the direction I went with and am content with the final product.