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Building things for the office (Day 2)

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Yasser Rashid Yasser Rashid | 17:38 UK time, Tuesday, 16 September 2008

We've made loads of progress on day 2 of the prototyping workshop! Tristan and Chris managed to get a motor working without too many problems early on in the day. They then used the motor to get the alien you see in the photo below to move up and down.


Nat and I tinkered about with an infrared sensor. The idea we had at the time was that the creature would suddenly come to life when you approached it. It would then move and start speak (reading out incoming SMS text messages sent into BBC Radio). For a moment we managed to get the sensors working however this was short lived as we tried moving the phototransitor to another bread board and everything then stopped working - no meaningful values could be received from the arduino, no lights, nothing. The infrared sensors proved to be really frustrating so we moved onto experimenting with a bendy sensor, a light sensor and a touch sensor. In the end we settled for the touch sensor with idea being you touch the paw of the 'creature' and it then reads out the SMS.

While this was happening Pete was busy working on the look and feel of the 'creature'.


Made out of an old desk lamp and bits of found plastic its starting to take shape. With the motor attached it also 'comes to life' as it jigs up and down (it was something that was slightly unexpected as the motor is schizophrenic and erratically moves).

We've also got a prototype of the text to speech code working, so when the dog bows its head it says something negative (unfortunately I can't repeat what it currently says because it might offend Coldplay fans) and when it raises its head it says something positive. Conor has been busy working on the SMS feed so hopefully at some point tomorrow it will shout out the various SMS we have coming into our radio stations.

Tomorrow is the final day and we have some big plans, including a kennel and flashing led's!


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