13. Applications and implications

Our only assignment this week was an individual one, and it required us to answer specific questions about our final projects.

What Will It Do?

My final project will be an interactive piece that takes user input from a gesture activated “control box” and then displays a show of lights on the wall in front of it that mimic whatever motions the user made. By using many infrared motion sensor circuits in the control box, it will be able to know precisely where over the control box the user has waved there hand, and then turn on lights in the corresponding spaces on the wall.

What does all of this mean?

More or less, it’s meant to be an interactive art display that feels like magic to whoever is using it.

Who’s Done What Beforehand?

I did have a fair amount of inspiration for this project, but I feel like in the end I will have done enough to truly make it my own.

My ideas for this began when I bought a solder kit from adafruit called octolively. It’s a really cool kit that uses infrared leds and sensors to tell when you wave your hand over one of the eight LED lights, then it turns that specific light on. This kit wasn’t created by adafruit, though. In fact, all they do is sell it. The creation and development of the kit can all be credited to the people over at Evil Mad Scientist. I’ll be using this same system for my project, but not as closely packed as the octolively kit. To elaborate on this, my boards will have a circuit with infrared LEDs and sensors, but the lights that turn on will not be located right next to the sensors, rather, they will be up on the wall in front of the control box and the user.

What Will You Design?

I will be designing basically all of this myself. While my inspiration did come from other sources, my schematics, board layouts, and code did not. Rather, I will be designing and manufacturing boards for both the control box and the wall display, I will write the code for the attiny45 chips (most likely with tips or help from others when needed), and I will create designs and files in CorelDRAW and Fusion 360 for my laser cut “pixel” dividers and my 3D printed pieces that stop the infrared light from activating the receiver when it’s not supposed to. Also, I will most likely end up designing a frame for the control box in Fusion 360 to cut out on the CNC, and I have already designed a mold to make cast parts that act as the four feet that the control box will sit on.

What Materials and Components Will Be Used?

I’ll be using a wide range of materials and components for this project.

The control box

My boards for the control box will be using the TLV2464 Op-Amp chip to tell when a sensor is activated, they will all have these trim potentiometers to set a reference voltage for the op-amp chips to use, they will have corresponding infrared LEDs and infrared phototransistors which can be found here and here. Also, they will have various resistors for each of the diodes that can all easily be found in the lab, and each board will have two 4 pin headers, one for power/ground and one for the output signals going to the wall display.

The boards will be cut on single sided FR1, which is our PCB stock material in the lab, and I intend to use 3D printed parts made from Polymaker PLA printer filament on the boards somewhere. It will probably have some sort of large button components on the control box as well to turn the display on and off, as well as to set the different effects for the LEDs. I will use a piece of cut acrylic over the LEDs to protect the components inside while also letting infrared light in and out for the purpose of the circuits. I’ll use various adhesives and screws to hold things together, and of course I’ll be using some sort of wire to connect the circuits.

The wall display

The wall display will also have many circuit boards cut from the same single sided FR1 material inside of it. Each of them will have the Attiny45 chip on them, as well as four large gumdrop LEDs and their corresponding resistors. These boards will have two 4 pin headers on them as well, one for the power/ground, and another for the input signals coming from the control box.

The wall display housing will probably be cut from either a single solid piece of wood on the CNC, or many sheets of plywood on the laser cutter, meaning that I’ll be using wood glue or screws to hold it together. The display will have laser cut dividers between each of the LEDs, also cut from plywood, and I will use another piece of clear cut acrylic to protect the components inside. There will of course be more wiring inside, as well as a vinyl cut QR code sticker on the outside that will let anyone see my site to know just how I made the project.

Where Will it All Come From?

I’ll be getting most all of my board components from digikey with the exception of a few random things like wires and headers that we have in the lab. These components from around the lab were likely bought on either adafruit or digikey. For the other materials that will make up the housings, I’ll use Lowes, Home Depot, and Amazon.

How much will It Cost?

I’ve created a table below showing all of the materials as well as the number of components and the estimated costs associated with them.

Component Number of Parts Estimated Price
Op-Amp TLV2464 4 $12.32
Trim Pot 8 $2.16
IR LED 16 $7.36
IR Photo Transistor 16 $9.60
Resistors 32 $3.20
Headers 8 $2.56
Pushbuttons 4 $4.00
Various Wires 20-30 ~$10.00
Acrylic Sheet 1 ~$15.00
Various ⅛in Plywood Sheets 2-3 ~$10.00
Other Materials ? ~$20.00

My estimated grand total is $96.20 USD.

What parts and systems will be made?

I will make the circuits for both the control box and the wall display, I will make the boxes to house these components, I will make the 3D printed parts, and I will make the cast feet of the control box. More details on all of this are also shown above in the section asking what I will design.

What processes will be used?

I will use Computer Aided Design (CAD) to design parts and cutting vectors, Computer Controlled Cutting to cut out sides and dividers as well as the vinyl cut QR Code, Electronics Design and Production as well as Input and Output Devices as well as Embedded Programming to make all of the circuit boards, 3D Printing to make parts for the boards, Computer Controlled Machining to make the control box, and finally Molding and Casting to make the four feet.

What questions need to be answered?

The main questions that I still have to answer are as follows. How much power will this require? How far apart will the control box and the wall display be? Should I CNC or Laser Cut the boxes? And, lastly, what effects do I want the lights to have?

I plan to get most of these loose ends finished up in the next few weeks.

How will it be evaluated?

My project will be evaluated based on how it incorporates 2D and 3D design, whether or not it uses additive and subtractive fabrication processes, and how I incorporated electronics design and production. It will also need to have some sort of microcontroller interface and programming, as well as a clean integration of all the processes in an aesthetically pleasing package.

Wherever possible, I should make rather than buy the parts for my project, and I need to show individual mastery of all of the skills.

I believe that this project will cover all of these requirements, and possibly more.