Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Well, my last blog.  I have enjoyed, when I could get the time, writing about my experiences in this course.  Although not everything came together exactly as I envisioned, I was happy with how the final "peep show" turned out.  In the end, I could not get the serial port problem fixed to sync the Arduino with Firmata and run through Processing.  However, I set the code for the Arduino in an array pattern with four separate sketches ready for upload to run the lights "manually" through the computer. I changed the timing within each code to match the lights with the timing of the
sound file, :))
In addition, I used the sound files I created with Audacity and had them ready to play with the corresponding Arduino sketch.  In this way, I had no problem operating the show for the presentation.  Thus, everyone saw a rudimentary but successful show, :)) 
I enjoyed building and working with my little project.  I am purchasing my own Arduino unit and I am going to master the serial port problem!!   In addition, I am planning to further develop my idea with a final goal of possibly marketing my mini exhibit as a learning tool for the classroom. Or as a craft kit with the Arduino unit. The marketing needs more examination, :)))

For now, I am proud of my accomplishments in this course.  Starting this course as a complete techno-phobe and ending it with a feeling of comfort when it comes to technology, although a bit of frustration, I feel I have come a long way!!!  Starting this project from scratch was challenging but a lot of fun, :))  Who knows, maybe some day I will actually create my hologram library book!!!!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Hi all, :))  
I smile yet I do not feel like smiling that much.  I had a major snafu with the computer when trying to re-load and configure the firmata software which would run the lights , via arduino, and the sound files, in sync, through Processing.  It has all been very frustrating.  Especially when it seemed to be working properly before then I am not sure what happened but the upshot of all the searching, reading, running programs, looking at tutorials and constant emails to Professor Turkel is that there is something wrong with the serial port.  The recommendations I read on, http://wiki.processing.org/w/Serial_Issues gave instructions that were helpful to a point for a computer illiterate such as myself.  I have literally spent the last 8 hours, or so, today and about the same amount of time yesterday trying to get everything in the one Processing Sketch.  But alas, the computer will not completely read everything correctly and I am not knowledgeable enough to fix it in time for my final demonstration, :(.
However, I do have pics to share of the last stages I did in the last couple weeks with the scene, the lights and now setting the final codes I will use tomorrow.  I say codes, plural, because although I do not have everything in one neat package at the hit of a button, I now have everything ready to play separately. 
I took the Array example code and manipulated three different sketches of the same program. 
Array, the example, loops six LEDs in a blinking pattern.  The initial time between each is 100ms. 
I have still adjusted the scene to using four lights, instead of five, but in different ways.  The first code sketch I have called Exhibition1 has an array code with timing set to 0, the int. set pins are adjusted to four pin numbered 7,6,5,4, and the int. pinCount is adjusted to 4. With the timing set to 0 all four lights stay on which coincides with the sound file describing the Exhibition of 1851 history.
The next sketch, Exhibition2, is set to light three aspects of the scene, the presenter, the press, and a background which coincides with the Crystal Palace history. 
In this sketch the timing is set to 15000 which gives a lot of time between each light. This supplies enough time to play the soundfile for Crystal history first, the presenter and his description of the press second and the printing press last. 
The int. set pins are adjusted to 6,5,4. with the int. pinCount adjusted to 3. 
The third sketch is coded with the Array adjusted back to blinking but with the timing set to 300 to slow down the blink. I have also taken out the backward loop along the numbers so that the blinking only occurs in one direction from 7,6,5,4, then back in that order instead of back 4,5,6,7.  This blinking will coincide with the last sound file that has applause. 
In the end, although i did not master all the tech, I have certainly learned a lot. When I realised that I would have to use multi sketches I started looking through the arduino site which took me to combining sketches in Arduino> BuildProcess. 
 I tried to create tabs in the one sketch but when I tried to upload the code into the tab it would not work.  I believe that because I changed the parameters of the code the upload cannot read it all.  So I have saved three individual sketches to run with the demo.
setting up the lights in the box was very interesting and fun.  After preparing the box to place the arduino and breadboard in the box I wired up the set, and began to place the lights in the box, highlighting the different aspects of the scene.  When I first experimented with the Array light set-up a little while ago i noticed how dim the lights are.  I thought, "well that is all I am going to get." Then when I began placing them in the box i was thinking there must be something else I can do so I started looking and reading what to do.  I learned about the resistors and the different meanings of the colour codes on the resistors.  The lower the Ohm's (the amount of the resistance is equal to the voltage divided by current), the lower the resistance, meaning a brighter light.  Which is great.  However, it is still not as bright as I would like.  i thought about taking the resistors out but I am not completely sure I understood the right way to put the lights in the board and I do not want to blow another light. 
I very much want to finish this project.  In the end I cannot by tomorrow because of the computer problems occurring at such a late date. Time caught up to me.  However, I am buying an arduino after this and I am going to get this working the way I envisioned. I am even going to set it up further with a motor off a battery and the arduino that will open curtains.  I am also going to put a motion sensor so that all a child has to do is stand in front and wave his/her hand.  With this wave the curtain will open and the program will begin through one sketch, Processing.  For now this is what I have accomplished.  Although it is not what I pictured I am excited that I, the computer illiterate, made this from scratch, :)))
Take a final look, well for the date tomorrow.  I will post again when I begin to work again, :)))

just trying out different light codes, :))
preparing the box for the USB cord and placing the arduino!!

the perfect hole, :))
3-D effect finished!!
The lights are too dim, starting on one to see the difference, :)

All the lights are as bright as they are going to get.
The attached arduino and breadboard.  fits perfectly!!!
lights on the bottom, attached to placed nails and wound around then taped.  I can lean the lights where I want them :))

Lights on top, taped in place and aimed for best light!!

Exhibition1 code.
Exhibition2 code.

Exhibition3 code.

Finished product!!!!!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

So we are getting down to the end of the road, :))   Nerves are on edge.   This last while has been fun figuring more out with the wiring, after getting the box and the scene ready for set-up and lighting.  Right now I would like to show you all more pics of what I have been doing!!!  Aside from getting so nervous about the whole thing.  I forgot to add that I had a slight tech problem.  One of the lights did not work when I tested the five of them out.  So what to do?  Instead of using just one light for the Exhibition sound file I am going to use all lights on at once.  Then move in sequence to the next three lights, one after another.  Then for the final sound file, all the lights blinking at once in the array set!!!!
Staining with Jacobean stain colour

Finished lovely stain!!!

Starting on the front frame, :))
Almost complete!!
Using the simplest things to add shape to the frame.  A baby food jar top!!


Cutting the 3-D process.
3-D cutting looks great!! 

Making the acordian

Attaching the cut outs to the acordian.  3-D style!!!
The lights in an Array sequence.  Coding  sets up each line for the scene!!!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

It occurred to me, (duhhh), :))  that my friends who visit the site might want to see the arduino in action.  I have not really written much about my experiences with the technology because quite honestly it has frustrated me to no end!.  First, I spent a good amount of time just trying to get the gadget working on the computer.  The instructions in the booklet that accompanies it does not explain everything.  This little thing needs Port Identification to upload the code it needs to the arduino.  I would enter the code I needed, oh which there are some really neat ones, and it would verify the code but would not upload it to the board it self.  Very frustrating.  The driver did not install properly and it was extremely difficult to find and get everything going.  But once I did it is a lot of fun!!!
Second, I have had to write the code which, I will find out if it works tomorrow night when I receive the remainder of the parts I need for the project.  After playing around with the arduino and the codes that are offered through the site I am pretty confident that next week my project will work without a hitch.  If I can master something else over the next couple days I might have another surprise for the presentation!!!   I will keep you updated.  Now for a couple of shots.  I have many more but I do not want to overwhelm you, :)))  Wait to you see it with more LEDs!!!!
the gadget, arduino.  small isn't it, :))

the light blinks with the right code!

this is what the sketch looks like and the code is pasted or written here then uploaded to the gadget, :))

However, with the blinking code the light does not turn off for that it needs to be hooked up to a breadboard through which I can use a switch to activate or turn off the light.  In this case a push button, :))

And Voila!!!  When the button is pushed the light comes on!!! 

Monday, 2 April 2012

 A progress report. :))  I have the sound files for each component recorded or download.  I tried to get a sample of Queen Victoria's voice. However, there is only a very faint recording done on a wax cylinder So that let out that idea.  I am able to find a other her thoughts about the exhibition though, from the diary entries she made of her visit. I am using Arduino through Processing to control the 5 lights and 5 sound files.  For most of my friends who have no idea what an Arduino devise does here is a bit of info, :))

An Arduino can be used to develop interactive objects, taking inputs from a variety of switches or sensors, and controlling a variety of lights, motors, and other physical outputs. (Arduino, http://www.arduino.cc/. )   Check it out!!!!

This little gadget will then be operated through a program called Processing that essentially takes charge of the Arduino.  The program is an open sourced programming language and environment used for the creation of images, animations and interactions. (Processing,  http://processing.org/ ) Check this out as well!!!!
My project will use the interaction function with the Arduino to control the activation of the lights and sound files on a loop program.  Once a single button is pressed all five lights and sound will activate, one after the other all nicely interacting with each, :))  When I started this course I was terrified. There is a lot more technology then to what I have previously been exposed.
I have watched many tutorials and still I must have technological disability, :)).  I am trying my best though and hopefully this all comes together. 
Compared to others in the class my project is woefully simple.  However, I am thinking of a different way to introduce historical events to young students.  I picture this project for a classroom up to grade 4 or 5. 
In addition I am thinking that by using an historical method of presentation, the "peep-show" technique with computer programming the students can learn something of interest from the past as well as learning about the Arduino, Firmata and Processing methods for technological presentation.  I have a beyond this project plan of interchangeable scenes with a CD containing 4 different lights and sound scenarios. These of course accompany the changeable scenes.  It is my hope that the students, by changing around the light locations and setting up the CD will learn more about the technological requirements of this project.
The last weeks are here for class. Time to finish up things!!!!!   More photos to follow, :)))

I should add that although the technology has me stressed out a bit and feeling a little dense, I am enjoying the exposure to

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

So, I thought I would upload a few pictures of working to place the scene within the finished box.  Of course this is a very rudimentary look at how the picture will place in the box.  The pic will have a 3-D dimension and will sit more center within the frame.  Once the pics are cut into dimensions they will be secured to a stronger poster board screen frame.  Perhaps oval I am not sure, as I am planning to dress and decorate the box. 

As I was loosely placing the pics on the accordion paper, I had a thought that I am not going to completely secure the scene within the box so that I can create other scenes and interchange them. In this way i can change the lighting placement, or not and add new sound files.  As well, as new technologies are introduced, if appropriate, I can update while changing the scenes.  Or, perhaps the sound files could be placed on a loop while the program also changes the lighting.  However, for my project I will only have the one scene...  Perhaps!! 

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Finished product!!!!
The first physical requirement for my project involves having a box in which to display the scene from the Great Exhibition.  I have decided to take off the front of the box and present it open. After working with different cardboard designs and tape this past week, while being sick, I used some of the time to finish the final box for my show.
I had such fun building the box.  I picked up materials at Home Hardware.  Since these boxes were used in the 17th-19th centuries, I used a few building techniques, such as a glue and sawdust mixture pushed into the seems of the box, then sanding to create a smooth surface all round, which dates back to pre-Industrial Revolution time. In addition, instead of nailing the box together I used wooden dowels to give a smooth, uniform surface.  Also, I liked using the historic technique. 
Owing to my projects contemporary visual and sound techniques I also built the box using power tools such as a table saw to cut the wood.   I also mixed contemporary power sanding to smooth out the entire box with classic hand sanding for precise smooth edges.  I took pictures of it all and would like to share my experience!!  I had some help from my guy, (he ran most of the table saw); however, I designed what I wished to have and built most of it myself.  I have also the accordian and slides built and using a method of black and white printing with colouring by hand I have added a brillance to the show, :))
Here are my building pics, :))  Onward with tackling the technology, making it all come together 

Clean Maple board ready to set out dimensions.
Steady as I go!
Getting the hang of it, :))
The shape is coming together, :))
Sand things down to fit smoothly.
Using an old method with a new tool!!   Dowelling is the best way to go.
Putting the sides together. After dowelling.
Fill in the tiny gaps with a glue and sawdust.  Works great!!!

Hold it all together tightly over night.  A mix of modern and antique clamps, the clamp system though is very old!!!!
The Scene fits perfectly!!!
Attaching the hinges along the top.
Little stoppers for the top.