The last weeks were the hardest because everything seemed to go wrong — my robotic arm started to work, then stopped, my servo’s seemed to malfunctioning, etc. You name it, it happened! However, this was a learning momment for me because I felt like breaking everything. The project seemed so difficult and there was times that I just wanted give up. However, the instructors at BlueStamp told me not to give up because it will soon work if I just keep trying. In the end, there were two things that I learned: one was that engineering takes a lot of patience and that something in life is always going to be hard and you should never give up. Blue Stamp showed me that engineering is hard work and that I really love engineering because anything that I find too hard, I tend to give up on. However, I did not give up when it came to this project and engineering. I felt so happy to finish a robotic arm that actually worked!
Category: Student Blogs
Check out my final video showing my project!
Here is my final video!
Thanks to Jeremy Blum for the filming and editing!
This program to me was just the best. I love BlueStamp. This expericence was one that I have always wanted. I always wanted to know how things worked and to understand how electricity flows. Now I got to actually build something that is electrical and it actually works. Here’s a video of my work!
Now at the end of Blue Stamp, I am posting my blog post about my final project as well as my experience here. For a brief description of my project, experience, and future plans, check out my video. Bill of Materials, Daily Notebook, Circuit Diagram, and my code are all below as well.
Last year, I started to become interested in the field of engineering from my interest in automobiles. Then in my freshman year Dave, one of the co-creators of Blue Stamp, came to my school of Staten Island Technical High School and told me of this program. Due to the fact that I had no idea of anything about engineering, I thought it was a cool idea. Blue Stamp ended up teaching me about different fields of engineering- software, firmware, and hardware- in a fun way. I experienced failure and success throughout these six weeks and came out with my own fully functional alarm clock.
The project that I took on was an MSP-430 based alarm clock inspired by Markus Gritsch at http://dangerousprototypes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=2126. However, I ran into problems with his code and decided to switch to an Arduino. I started out with just clock code made by the instructor Ryan Caeti. Then, over a few weeks, I experienced the hardest part of this project which, in turn, became the funnest part as well: coding. I coded the colon to blink, buttons to set alarm and time, and a buzzer that goes off at a certain time. I then learned how to use tools like the dremel to cut holes in the box so I can make my alarm clock nice and neat.
Here are the functions of my alarm clock:
- To set alarm on or off, press the third button. The third decimal point lights up to show it is on.
- To enter time set up mode, press both the first and second button at the same time. The colon stops blinking to show you are in this mode.
- To enter alarm set up mode, press the second button. Both the colon stops blinking and the first decimal point turns on to show your in this mode.
- When your in any type of set up mode, press the first button to go an hour ahead, the second button to go a minute ahead, and the third button to exit the mode.
- If the alarm buzzes, press the first button to turn it off.
Making this project was very fun and educational. It taught me about the types of engineering, the aspect of debugging, and that even if something appears simple it may not be. Even tough Blue Stamp is now over, I don’t plan to stop. I want to continue modifying this by adding an ability to go backwards when setting up the time and making the box look nicer, as well as anything else that I think might be cool
- Here is my Bill of Materials: Justin T Bill of Materials
- Here is my Daily Notebook: JustinT.2012BSENYCPMNotebook
- Here is my Circuit Diagram (Using Eagle CAD): Justin T Clock Sch
- Here is the code I started with: Justing T Starting Clock Code
- Here is my final code: Justin T FinalClock Code
Here is the video:
Regarding to the information for the Robot, please view “Jacky’s First Person Experience for the Omni-Directional Wheel Robot“.
I became interested in BlueStamp when I tried applying for college summer programs at a program called MindsMatter. I wanted to find a major that I might want to study at college and engineering is one such major I am interested in. Therefore, I applied to BlueStamp and got accepted in the end. I was really excited about it because only a few students were invited to apply to BlueStamp from MindsMatter. I was really looking forward to BlueStamp and the future projects that I might be doing. However, since I actually didn’t know much about engineering, I was actually scared to begin the program.
Now that I have completed the program and the projects, I can really be sure that I love engineering. I learned a lot from BlueStamp. Initially, building my Omni-Directional Wheel Robot was actually tedious, frustrating, and exhausting but in the end it came out to be enjoyable, thrilling, and remarkable.
Throughout the six weeks, I experienced what engineering is about and learned how to use engineering related equipment. I’ve been taught how to solder, use the breadboard, write code onto the arduino, use a saw and other dangerous equipment . If it weren’t for the instructors and colleagues of the program, I would still be wondering what engineering was really about. I learned many useful skills of engineering and in life (using the dangerous equipment). I am really grateful for BlueStamp and it has definitely increased my interest in engineering.
My Omni-Directional Wheel Robot was based on: http://dangerousprototypes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=2019
Here are my schematics and materials used: JackyL Documentation
As well as my Final Video:
My experience with BlueStamp is surely going to be a memorable one. Before coming into Bluestamp I didn’t know what to expect but I did expect far less difficulty. As I walked into the classroom on day one I experienced frustration and agony. While doing the starter project I wondered to myself, if the starter project is making me pull out my hair, how would the main project make me feel? As we started transitioning into the main project I started to slack off a bit and I just felt that I was going to finish the project with ease. As I was doing my sketch diagram for the Robotic Arm (Main Project) I started to sleep. Then our main instructor Robin woke me up and asked me what was I currently doing, and I answered I didn’t know what I was doing and he told me just start building the robot and figure out the dimensions. Without that advice I do not think I would be able to finish the project in time.
As I was trying to cut out the aluminum I started to complain more and more, but what I didn’t notice this was just slowing me down. I had to continue going on with determination and focus. I had to start moving as I was constantly told by the advisers and maintain my focus. I had to drill, cut, drill, cut, drill, cut and dremel. It was painful I thought I was never going to finish putting holes and cutting through aluminum. But I just kept going with the flow and kept working. After I finished all the cutting and drilling I went to go get the breadboard and arduino board and putting it all together. I can tell you from the moment I started it was probably the most agonizing part of this program. Putting the mechanical design together was a headache because I figured that I put holes in the wrong place or my design calculations were off. I had to go back to using the dremeling and cutting and after I had the base in a decent position, it was time to put servos in. But I was told I had to make a lot of modifications in my code, for the servos to work properly, or for the robotic arm to move more smoothly.
On the final days before the deadline there were doubts appearing constantly everywhere and I just put my head down with disbelief that I came to this program with a goal that I might not accomplish. But I thought to myself I won’t accomplish anything if I had fear implanted in myself. So I put everything together and I made many mistakes in the project, it was a painful process. Then on the day of the deadline I basically threw a Hail Mary and everything magically worked. I was fulfilled with happiness and relief. From the project I really learned the meaning of “Impossible is Nothing”.
Hello, my name is Mattori and this is my GPS Glove.
The glove uses a LilyPad Arduino, a special type of Arduino that is specifically made for clothing and e-textiles. I based my project on an Instructable by _macke_. It is shaped like a lilypad with holes for pins in a circle with the connectors, chip, and other parts inside of the circle. It is very flat, allowing it to smoothly fit on clothing. The other two major computing parts for the project are the GPS (UP501) and the compass (HMC6352), both of which are above (closer to the fingers than) the LilyPad. The last parts are the seven LEDs which represent southwest, west, northwest, north, northeast, east, and southeast. They are sewn in a semi-circle with southwest and southeast the closest to the LilyPad and north the furthest away.
The GPS Glove functions as a directional navigator, and it points using the LEDs in the direction that you must travel to arrive at a destination. For example, if the west LED is on you need to turn 90°, and it will turn off while the northwest LED will turn on when you turn 45° to the left. If the north LED is lit you are facing the correct direction. Note that when the LEDs are referred to as directions, i.e. the north LED, it does not mean that that LED is always facing north but rather that it is forward. They are called by direction names for simplicity’s sake. The GPS Glove does not give full navigation guidance like a common GPS as it can only tell you which way to turn. This means that it is more useful in an open environment or otherwise with few obstacles to have to move around.
The GPS Glove functions by first finding itself with the GPS itself. Then, the LilyPad takes the coordinates that must be provided in the code as a destination and works with the compass to determine which direction you must face to get to your destination. The LEDs then reflect this information. It updates a couple times a second providing very accurate data.
Making the GPS Glove was a rather difficult task. I had no experience using Arduino prior to BlueStamp, although I had coded before using C++ and Java. I had never soldered before BlueStamp either. This was the first time I had ever made anything nearly this sophisticated, especially hardware-wise which is something I had previously avoided for the most part. Luckily, the instructors were incredibly useful, and I am not writing that to be complimentary. I doubt I could ever complete this, at least within this time-frame, without their assistance. Whenever I had problems with understanding code or wiring the setup they were able to help me and continue working. There were a few hiccups with the code and the GPS and compass along the way. For one, the code was assuming you would use a compass with tilt compensation, which is something my compass did not have. They were able to help me adjust my code and change some of the ways the data was handled to work with the different compass. The GPS often would not work and output readable data for one reason or another, which they were able to help me figure out. Even as the project did not work in the last days I was able to push through with their help to debug and get it as functional as possible. It was difficult overall, but now with the knowledge I have now at the end of the program I feel like I could do much more complicated and interesting projects in the future, and I feel very motivated as well because of how fun BlueStamp has been. I am sorry to see it be over for this year but also look forward to next year when I can do a whole new project.
Here is my complete project documentation: Mattori GPS Glove Documentation
And here’s my final video!
However, before my glove was finished, I had to reach my first milestone:
Being a member of the BlueStamp Engineering Program has definitely proven to have been one of the most productive and fulfilling ways in which I have spent my summer vacation. Since I look forward to joining the Robotics club and taking a physics course at Newark Collegiate Academy this fall, I’ve found myself filled with more excitement and drive to dive into my junior year in high school than I’d ever imagined possible. The positive and encouraging environment here at BSE has enabled me to witness the completion of amazingly innovative projects, and to become exposed to infinite approaches and options concerning my career choices and the ways in which I seek to go about my college experience in the years ahead.
As a personal reminder of my successes and relentless attempts to complete my final project here at BSE, I will be able to take home my RGB LED Tropical Flower Display and use it as perhaps one of the most extraordinary night lights that I’d ever owned in my lifetime. Coding and physical construction of the device’s components were challenges that consistent effort and risk-taking enabled me to fully embrace and achieve a quality piece. See below for my video and schematics!
Veronica’s Code: Code for Veronica’s LED Project