Technology Exploration

After many months of figuring out my idea and although my final design is not set in stone yet; I feel I am at a stage where I can start exploring potential technologies out there and seeing how feasible they are for my product. One of the main insights I wanted to embed into my product was the idea that the children had to work as a team in order to complete the game. The interaction I have gone with (as a result of my workshops) is the gear/cog interaction. Basically, each child has their own cog and once turned will turn the projection on. The projection being the finished jigsaw puzzle, similar to traditionally referencing the box when figuring out what picture they have to create/solve. The catch is that both sides have to be turning simultaneously in order for the image to display itself. Hence, the children have to work as a team in order to see the puzzle they are making. The technology I originally looked at was kinetic energy. I wanted to explore potential technologies first before just jumping straight to Arduino. The interaction I was trying to create was very similar to that of a wind up torch. I had one lying in my cupboard incase of a power cut. So, I decided to take it apart and see exactly what was inside and how complicated the technology was:

After close inspection into the wind up torch the technology inside was very simple. Unfortunately this technology is almost too easy to power as 1 min turning power can give 30 mins of light. This timescale does not fit with what i’m ultimately trying to do. I asked Ali Napier for a way around this and was told i would need a different capacitor but even then there was a lot of variables. With time marching on I had to make a decision at this point… Either continue trying to find a way to use kinetic energy or try a different path. Time was the ultimate deciding factor with me at this stage. If time was not such an issue at this point I would have attempted to explore the technology further and after asking the engineers at the uni if they would help I quickly realised what a hassle this was. Back to the drawing board or so it seemed. I researched the potential sensors that I could use for Arduino and the first solution I came up with was a flick switch so that whenever the cog was turned it a piece of material would flick a switch to register a count and once x amount was counted the LED would turn on:

cogs technology

I started testing out both the counter for the LED to turn on and the flick switch technology. I used a motor and attached a cog to which I turned and it activated the count timer. I separately tested the count for the LED to turn on before I combined the two:


This seemed like a perfectly doable solution but as my research continued I found that there was a more effective way to achieve the same outcome. I was going to use hall effect sensors! These sensors are basically magnet sensors and are very accurate as they are used to figure out the RPM of cars. My online research of the code and wiring continued. I started with the basic on off sensor via magnet to try and get to terms with it:

I then combined the two codes and replaced the button with the hall effect sensor and that then counted to turn the LED on after X no. of times:

My code and Arduino stuff is getting there so now is time to start making my mark two in the workshop. I aim to have a fully functioning prototype for my mark II presentation.


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