Skip to main content

Maker Faire Exhibit - Weeks 1 and 2

It's not very often you get a chance to work on such a varied project. The brief for the project in the previous post on this blog, but I thought it useful to put down some thoughts at this stage in it's preparation. Especially in case I get lost later on.

Last week I did the first parts: I wired together light sensor, piezo buzzer and an electromagnetic field detector and they are sending data back to an arduino that is now capable of "sleeping" - i.e. switching to a lower power mode.

There are lots of ways of getting it to fall asleep though, and I prefer no power to lo-power as Newcastle is not known for it's warm bright weather (for example - this week, according to the newspaper, sunset came to Newcastle at 4.40pm, and the average temperature is of about 4-5 degrees with showers half the time, leading me to think rain power may have been a better choice than solar).

To amplify all the recorded and generated sounds this device is beginning to produce, I got a plant pot, and an old bohdran drum, into which I put the speakers and sound emitting bits. It helped the sound be fuller and a bit louder. I'm not aiming for a very noisy device, but something that's sonically fragile and can interplay with other noises in it's area.

Here is a video of the state of play last Wednesday:



Since then I've put together lots of solar cells of various different shapes and sizes, and I tried to test their voltage and current, and wire them up to a small circuit I got from here and here.

I'm planning on using some rechargeable coin cell batteries to do this. I tested the battery by putting it inside a little set of solar lights and seeing if it charged them. The lights were powered by a 3.2v, 250mAh battery, but they seem to work fine on a 3.7v 200mAh one too, all of which led me to wish I'd paid more attention in physics class at high school...


I also added the capability to detect temperature to the bit with all the sensors (the Seeduino seen in the video, which at the moment will only run sensors, before I put the whole contraption together and get it to play sounds as well).

And I've investigated a lot about clay, based on a long discussion with Mat Dalgleish. Clay and pottery is local to just about every place and culture in the world. It is strong, resistant to the outdoors (if fired at high temperatures), and above all it looks natural and earthy, and very fitting for housing all my electronic stuff, which may be functional, but it doesn't look very visually appealing!

So at the weekend, I got the (regular "das") clay out and spent a morning in the library, reading about pottery so I could get some handle on the basics. Then I started making (the children got involved too!). The result was this nice little ocarina, which actually plays a note when blown!







From my discussion with Mat, and from chatting today with Hilda Bligh, a local and very experienced potter, who will let me use her kiln, we went for Raku. This is a 16th century Japanese/Korean technique which produces nice and very random colours, and can be fired at high temperatures. Hilda was very generous and treated me to some lovely soup and gave me some cheesewire, lent me a clay roller, and got me lots of nice oxides(iron, yellow iron, copper and some iron filings), as well as a big heavy pack of raku clay!

As well as this, she gave me a quick class on simple raku pottery. I'm planning to cut a slab of clay, and roll it into a cylinder. Then I'll try and shape it and glaze it. This first experiment will probably fail(she suggested I make 3 experiments to begin with), but I'll try and add a sketch of what it should look like so that it can house the arduinos, allow for leakage, provide a simple way to place all the sensors around it, and hold the solar panels high up. Also, I might add some cones or tubes to it (as I did with the first clay experiment) to make it look more like a tree...

Later this week I plan to experiment more with the thermistor (for which I'll need a thermometer...), and with all the readings on the piezo circuit. I'll also try the first step of the raku process.

The solar panels also will need to be wired together some more and tested/ experimented with for readings. Next week, I hope to finally get to the musical bit!

Comments

Fraternales saludos a ti y tod@s por UK o eels llegue hasta tu web vía in mensaje que tu expones sobre la ayuda que debe canalizar este desbastador terremoto.según los pronósticos aun falta uno mucho mas grande que debe llegar muy pronto.(http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Maps/region/S_America.php*)Mi interés es concretar mas comunicacional mente
atra vez de la Web te doy este link que si quieres
(http://cherrufe.blip.tv/)puedes promover y tratemos de crear mas información,yo viví 30 años en Holanda.Mario Ernesto Cerda

Popular posts from this blog

How could Scotland have a more resilient food system?

The question that's led me to write this has been how do we adapt long term, specifically here in Scotland, where I live now, to coronavirus and the idea that pandemics are here to stay if we stay this industrialised and globalised. How does a society look if it's to be resilient long term, sensible and ecologically regenerative? We do know a few things about this novel coronavirus that we seem to be slowly figuring out as it evolves and spreads, and I have almost a picture of how it might look in my head. Here is the closest I can get so far to it, on a regional scale at least:

In the picture, each block is a community of several households and work spaces, and each green space is where they grow crops, or graze animals. So why this system?

Around the time when it was obvious a lockdown was coming, I read a community organisation manual that mentioned how graph theory applies to limiting the spread of something like Covid-19. It advocates getting together with your closest ne…

An app for mutual aid groups against coronavirus in Glasgow

After a bunch of mutual networks formed over the weekend of the 14th of March in Glasgow and as I can see from the internet, are still forming around the world, I started to look into the tech side of the response to coronavirus. A lot of things happening, with Tech companies giving away free access to their content, data bundles and services, during the crisis, On the other hand the governments plan and in some cases already carried out intrusive policies that violate many established privacy rights. Many people have also lost their jobs and the capacity to renew their data packages, so have gone offline, just at a time when online forms and services become a far more attractive format than going in person to somewhere that with the lockdown is probably now closed.

So many things can be solved: a neighbour can open their wifi network for others, a group of techies can help build a local wifi network that might cover all of Glasgow and beyond, coronavirus makers on telegram have alrea…

Extracting from Pachamama's womb

Leyla Noriega has been active for more than 20 years, campaigning and reporting on injustices against indigenous people and the natural environment across the northern regions of Chile. The newly independent state had conquered the area around 1880 to access mines and natural resources that had previously been under the rule of Peru and Bolivia, and before then, by Incas and Aymaras who called the area Qullasuyu. One day the mining companies which Leyla had seen tear towns apart before in the area arrived at her mother and grandparents' town of Belén, at around 133 km from the city of Arica and at an altitude of 2800m and it was a very different feeling. Mining laws in Chile were created specifically to easily sell land and water to private companies, during the Pinochet dictatorship, so that any private company that finds an element in the mountain can claim it for their own, and exploratory machinery can be installed up to a total of 39 machines without requiring any specific pe…