Refreshed

Thanks to Danni, Alex and the rest of the crew at the Blue Plate Cafe for a refreshing meal to provide energy to work on setting up the Raspberry Pi programming environment in the lab.

As I do so, I look back at my last public project for which I composed the following:

20th November 2013

Maker Session: Robot Hacks Project

When I was a teenager, I played with a friend building 8-bit microcomputers with an Intel 8080 and 8085 microprocessor, using breadboards same as used today. We programmed each byte by flipping bit switches and writing the byte into memory, toggling the next memory location and writing the next byte, etc., in opcode. Our readouts were in octal because we didn’t have enough money for parts to create a hexadecimal readout.

[I took a few computer programming classes in college but decided two semesters before graduating, even though I could program, that I didn’t want a career as a coder so I switched majors and graduated with a business degree, instead, eventually becoming the dreaded engineering manager (but not a pointy-haired boss).]

Bought an Arduino ARDX kit a few months ago to start work on a yard art sculpture before Halloween but only got around to blinking a few rows of lights because I didn’t have experience in constructing anything with servos or stepper motors.

Went to MAKE magazine blog for some ideas and found out about the Robot Hacks event.

Signed up figuring that I could at least learn something from the experts, the Master Makers, in the group, not expecting to be selected to receive the Make: Ultimate Microcontroller Pack for this event.

Thus, my approach to this project was not to create a classic humanoid robot or even a practical bot of any sort.

Instead, I decided to prototype the yard art sculpture as a desktop model.

Anyway, that’s where I started with this project.

I knew what I wanted but didn’t know how to go about creating it – an interactive sculpture that didn’t look like a robot.

Therefore, I sat down with the Make Ultimate microcontroller kit and looked at what was provided, and what I needed to get the artwork to be active based on what I remembered of computer logic.

The Arduino bots and gadgets book was a great introduction to the interaction between sensors and servos.

I used the Arduino example code as a test fixture for the various sensors I was interested in.

Got input from the other team members about their creative direction for this project as I went along.

= = = = =

And now, back to the project currently in progress (or is that “in process”? I always forget).

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