Arduino Project

For our final Project in Hacking and building the professor gave up the task of using a basic Arduino kit to make almost anything, we would like.

I choose to develop a self-driving car. My Arduino self-driving car is a project will be made by using a car chassis, four motorized wheels, and a few sensors. It is powered by a 4 4.1-volt battering using an Arduino and an Adafruit. When it is turned on, it starts driving straight forward. When it finds an obstacle ahead, it looks for both sides, and turn to the side where it has more free space. If there is no free space ahead of or on both sides, it reverses the motors to drive backward.

Here is my parts list
1) Arduino Uno
2) Motor Driver Shield
3) Wheels (4x)
4) TT Gear Motor (4x)
5) Servo Motor
6) Ultrasonic Sensor
6)AABattery (4x)
7) 18650 Battery Holder
8) Male and Female Jumper wire
9) 4 Wheel Car chassis

To begin I assembled the car chassis. This was rather simple and intuitive.
You will also have to connect the 4 motors. Keep in mind that you can connect the red and black wires to either side because of it reversible but you should maintain the same connection for each. These can then be attached to the car chassis as well. The wheels them connect to the motor they require quite a bit of force to attach them.

Next, you can mount the Arduino.
The Motor shield will be next depending on how you ordered your motor shield you may have to assemble it by soldering the head pins this will allow for the current to Arduino.

Once you have the Motor shield connected to the Arduino you can then connect the 4 Motors to M1-M4.

Moving on we must connect the eyes of the car(sensor) You can glue the motor to the front of the car chassis and then screw the Sensor on top to connect them. You can then connect the motor to the sensor and be mindful of the placement of the servo wires. I initially placed the wires incorrectly which didn’t allow for my project to work. One you placed the servo and the sensors Its time to power this bad boy up. This simply connects the red and black wires to the power and then insert batteries. The Arduino and motor shield should both light up.

Now it is time to code
My initial code, of course, did not work 🙂

So moving on to trouble shooting:

The only part of this contraption that works is the servo motor which rotates left and right when power is supplied to it.

So I began by testing the Sensor to make sure that it is picking up information. I uploaded a small bit of code to the Arduino but unfortunately the device did not print information that showed if it was working, I then swapped out the sensor for a brand new one still I was able to get a read from the sensor.

Next I checked the wheels to see if I could get them to move. Throughout this entire process I have been able to get the wheels of the car to move in any direction.

After a few days of trying to get past this point by using different code, I had run out of ideas about what could be wrong with this device. Although I failed at getting my project to run properly, I am glad I challenged my self to aim high and out of my comfort level. I have learned so many little bits of information so maybe over the summer, I will be able to get my machine working.

Mini Arduino Projects

My professor assigned several projects from the Arduino Project Book this week. The projects within this text are designed to help people with no prior electronics experience develop the basic skills for the Arduino and it’s coding software as well.

Project 1 Getting To Know Your Tools

The purpose of project one is to introduce the users to the basics of the Arduino board itself. The goal is to create a circuit that includes a switch that will light up when it is pressed.

Tools:
Arduino Board
Bread Board- used to connect different circuits
Button/switch
LED- Light Emitting Diodes, Electricity only flows through in one direction. The longer anode shows which leg is positive.
220 OHM Resistor- Resists the flow of energy

After assembling:

Project 02 Spaceship Interface

This project builds on the first, we will adding more lights and resistors in order to have several lights that flash over time. The focus of this project was to introduce the user to Arduino’s coding system.

Tools:
Switch
LED
220 OHM / 10 KILOHM Resistors

The code: Within the text, several functions are discussed such as setup( ) and loop( ) as well as creating variables in order to keep track of what’s happening in your code and finally delay( ) which can be used to place timers within your code.

After Assembling: Upon pressing the switch the lights light up one after the other.

Project 03 Love-0-Meter

The Love-O-Meter that was created in this project takes the temperature of a person’s finger and causes a led to light up and the serial monitor to report the temperatures to the user.

Tools:
LED
220 OHM Resistor
Temperature Sensor

The code: The new function taught in this project was Serial.print . This syntax is used to display the temperature of the user’s finger. You can also use If and else if loops, in order to have the Arduino, perform a situational task.

Issues: This project was the most difficult because it was not easy to understand if the Serial Sensor was reading the temperature sensors. I believe the issue was that we did not correctly align the prongs.

After Assembly:

Project 5 Mood Cue

The Mood Cue is my favorite Mini Arduino Project because it involved a motor that was controlled by a simple switch called a Potentiometer. Turning this Knob causes the servo motor to move in the same direction, or even the opposite if you choose to program it that way.

Tools:
Potentiometer – a variable resistor, it can send many amounts of energy.
Servo Motor- Motors that spin in in one direction and stop until they are direct to move the opposite direction.
Motor Arm
100UF Capacitor- store and release energy
Male Header Pin- pins that fit into female sockets to make connections easier.

The Code: The new function learned in this project was map( ) This function changes the values that come from the potentiometer. We also need to download our first library for the Servo Motor. In order to do this you need to download the library from GitHub then save it into your Arduino folder. This will allow you to use connect with the servo motor.

AfterAssembly:

Chapter 6 Light Theremin

The theremin is an instrument that creates music based on the movement of musicians hands around the instrument. The project made the users make something similar based using a photosensor and a piezo. A photosensor measures the light, and the piezo makes noise by moving the air around it.

Tools:

10 KILOHM Resistor
Piezo
Photosensor

The Code: The new piece of code that we need to use for this project was tone( ) . Tone allows for the frequency of the emitted by the piezo to be chosen. Millis( ) also allowed for the times to be tracked.

After Assembly

Chapter 8 Hour Glass

The Hour Glass Project Takes advantage of the millis( ) function. Setting the timer to one hour so that the LED will glow once the time is up.

Tools:
LED
Potentiometer
220 OHMS Resistor
10 KILOHM Resistor

The code: We use millis( ) throughout the code as a way of keeping a timer for the light to go off with.

After Assembly:

Chapter 11 Crystal Ball

The Crystal Ball project uses an LCD screen to display message to your most desired questions.

Tools:
Switch
10 KILOHMS Resistor
220 OHMS Resistor
Poteniometer
LCD Screen

The Code: The library Liquid crystal needed to be imported before we were able to code. setCusor was an interesting function that needed to be used in order to type properly onto the screen. The assembly of this one was a bit more difficult I need to change around a few missed placed wire but it was pretty cool to have created my own crystal ball.

After Assembly:

Hack’N’Toy

For our second 3-D printing project we were assigned to take a simple object from our home and combine it with a 3-D printed object.

For my Hack’N’Toy project, I opted to create a designer encasing for a speaker. I found inspiration for the design of the speaker case online. The texture of the design is Voronoi. I discovered this texture online and thought it would look so cool with a speaker and lights inside of it.

My plan was to completely build the speaker from scratch and then place it inside of the case.

I purchased the speaker kit from Amazon, although I loved the clear case I took the measurement of the panel and designed it so that instead it would have the Voronoi pattern.

In order to apply a Voronoi Pattern in Tinkercad, you have to select the shape generator drop-down menu. Select featured then Voronoi. After, you can drop the filter onto the object that you would like the pattern to be on. Keep in mind that when you add the filter to an object it simply becomes a textured surface in order, you MUST then use the shape drop down menu to make this design into holes.

My design was quite simple it was literally the same shape as the clear encasement but with Voronoi instead.

The last obstacle I needed to complete would be to assemble the speaker.
To begin the I needed to attach the amplifier to the circuit board using a soldering iron

I then soldered the K2 to the front of the circuit board

Then I added 2 of the 10k resistors and soldered them at R2 and R4.

Next, I added capacitors. You must be careful with capacitors they are polarized meaning energy can only flow one way through them. If you compare the lengths of the legs of the one you’ll see that one is longer than the other. The long leg is the ‘positive’ side and the short leg is negative.

LED’s are polarized as well so they too must me soldered carefully into their positions, D1-D5

Place the 503 potentiometer into RP1 and the 103 potentiometer into RP2.

Solder the red wire to the positive connector of the speaker and the black wire to the negative

Solder the other ends of the red wire to the VO+ and the black to the Vo- on the board

Once you have completed all of these steps you will have this!

In all this project was a wonderful experience but unfortunately, my speakers did not produce any sound. After troubleshooting with my manager we discovered that I improperly installed the amplifier. On the amplifier there is a dot on top this tells you which leg is the first. So be aware of this simple mistake so you don’t make it your self. Also, another tip would be mindful of your Voronoi pattern. the “punch outs” are very difficult to remove. So you may not be able to remove them all without causing damage to your design.

3-D Battery Dispenser

      If you’re like me you wait until a major event such as a blackout before you replace the batteries in your flashlight.  Imagine searching through the darkness to find your flashlight and then having to search through a junk drawer filled with other miscellaneous items such as pens, rubber bands, and even knives, simply to find two AA batteries.

Recognizing that this is a safety issue my aunt reorganized the batteries into there own separate draws. At first, this seemed to be a great idea but we still had the issue of the draws being a big mess. 

When given the task to create an item that would be cool if I could 3-D print an item that could actually be useful to the household.

So I thought how can I create a tool that would hold the batteries in a way that wouldn’t allow them the become an unorganized mess.

My initial thought was to make a small box that only held 12 batteries but then I realized well the containers that batteries come in hold 12 batteries and I always find a way to make a mess of that so maybe we should search the internet.  I searched the web and many of the sites recommended that I order them in similar ways. 

I then proceeded to thingiverse.com were I typed in battery organizer and therefore discovered the battery dispenser! It was this amazing cube that you can use that only allowed for one battery to be removed from the device at a time and it fits 6 batteries perfectly.

 

So I went to tinkercad.com to begin designing my own version of battery dispenser.  I based my measurements on that of Duracell batteries.  My designed need to hold 6 AA batteries and be able to dispense them.

My first attempt at 3d printing the battery dispenser, two of the sides broke off and left no support for the sides. The batteries also slide out of the dispenser which completely ruins the purpose of being a container.

For my final print, I was able to fix the lip that holds the batteries now they stay inside of the container! I made the sides of the container thicker as well to support the structure.

Things Come Apart

Our very first assignment of the class “Hacking and Building” was to find and item and disassemble it. While dismantling the item we were expected to document the entire process. 

The item that I choose is a Sony Boom box

Materials Needed: In order to deconstruct this boom box you will simply need a standard size screw driver with a long stem. 

Alight! To begin dismantling the Sony Boom Box, you must first remove the shell. This can be accomplished by removing the screws along the out perimeter. There are small arrows that point to the location of all the screws.  There are a few tricky screws to find, such as the sets under the  covers of the CD and Cassette players as well as underneath battery cover.

Once you have removed all of the screws from the shell of the boom box you should be to lift the cover of the boom box. This will reveal many wires some that connect the upper lid to the lower to disconnect these wires simply pull them out of their square sockets., highlighted in red.

Once you remove the upper lid from the bottom you can then  remove the screws the front panel this will dismantle the speakers, front screen and the bottoms.

Side note the speakers are magnetic. How cool!

When you turn the back panel over you can then remove the screws from the converter. This is where the length of the shaft of the screw driver is rather important because  you wont be able to remove them otherwise.

You can continue to remove the screws from the top panel and this will remove the cassette player as well as the CD player. Once you remove the cassette player the buttons will simply fall out of place. 

I found the cassette player to the most interesting because of the way the gears changed once you pressed them.

My Ancestry DNA Results Are Here!

My DNA Results Are Here!

I received an email from Ancestry.com that they have completed my DNA analysis and have the results of ethnicity!

Seeing that my results came in I felt overwhelmed with emotion that I even began to perspire due to the excitement! Once you click “Explore your DNA Results” the link brings you to AncestryDNA.com and displays your results on a map as well as a chart. My results were so specific it was shocking! According to Ancestry, my DNA matches with those from the countries of Benin, Togo, Congo, and Ghana.

What I found to be most surprising is that they were able to match my DNA with African Americans in North Carolina which makes perfect sense since I have family in both Carolinas. Ancestry Never mentioned that they would be including this information so it was a pleasant surprise.

As for my Native American heritage, I wasn’t able to find any direct information on the website but through Ancestry’s family tree they were able to find a first cousin that lives in Virginia. I used that information and some “sleuthing skills” to found out that they are deeply associated with the Haliwa-Saponi tribe. Coincidentally the tribe is based within North-Carolina!

 

I can’t wait to take all of the information that this test has provided me with and really look at the different cultures of Benin, Togo, Congo, and Ghana. Maybe even one day I could visit 🙂

 

Overall I am highly satisfied with my purchase of a DNA kit from Ancestry.com.It was quite simple to use and they provided me with a lot more information than I expected such as the descriptions of each country my DNA is associated with, my lineage in America and connecting me to the other people with similar DNA.

I you would to see the process that it look for me to get my results I have it linked here.

Tell me what  you think!

Would you be interested in taking a DNA test to know your Identity? Are there any other test you would like for me to try?

I Purchased An Ancestry DNA Kit!

This year on Black Friday I  finally purchased my DNA kit from Ancestry.com as a personal gift!

The Ancestry DNA Kit is very simply designed. Upon opening the kit you are greeted with a pamphlet of user-friendly instructions on how to use the kit. 

First you register your DNA kit online at Ancestry.com Next you collect your sample. Then you release the stabilizing solution in the same tube. Finally you send the sample out in a prepaid package. Within 6-8 weeks you will receive results online using the same login information that you created when you registered the product.

I am excited to discover what my results will be. My Grandmother of my mother’s side is from South Carolina and My Grandmother on my fathers side is from Jamaica. I am curious to know which African Tribes my family may be associated with as well as if my family has Cherokee Indian within their blood. This DNA test means a lot to me, due to slavery I sometimes feel that I don’t have solid information about my ethnicity. During the times of slavery, colonizers  invaded and captured the people of African Tribes. In an effort to create highly subservient  slaves the colonizers stripped the culture of Africans away. I am hoping that once I receive my results back that I will be able to reconnect and identify with my culture.  

 

Ugh 6-8 weeks is going to feel like forever. I can’t wait to receive my results.

Let me know what you think about your heritage. Would you be willing to take a DNA test to confirm it? What’s your relationship with your culture?

Oiled Koils

What is Oiled Koils

Oil Koils is a social hair care application.  I designed the Oiled Koils app with the intention that it’s users could seek out information about their hair and connect to others as well. The application was inspired by the lack of hair care applications on the market that cater the African Americans hair types. I took inspiration  from the Shea Moisture’s Hair quiz, Twitter and Instagram.

Common Use of App

A user would visit the Oiled Koils application in order to gain knowledge on how to properly care for their hair. Oil Koils invites all of those who are interested in obtaining healthy hair no matter the point in their journey. If they are a beginner that recently completed a “Big Chop” but they are not sure of how to moisture their new textured hair. Oiled Koils can be useful if the user is  6 years post big chop as well because there is an entire community that they can share their advice and experiences with. There is a place for everyone at Oiled Koils.

The Predecessors

Shea Moisture has a Hair Porosity Quiz, which suggests products customers should use based on their quiz results.  The quiz asks the participants a series of questions pertaining to their hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. Once they complete their quiz the user is taken to a page where they can make a purchase from an entire line of products created specifically for their type of hair.

There is also an abundance of social networks currently available on the market such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. All of these sites allow users to communicate about any topic they choose, but Oiled Koils will be different in the fact that is will a specialized application that allows its user to easily to gain access to knowledge without having to search through a sea of unrelated information. In addition, if the user is not satisfied with the information that Oiled Koils is providing they have access to other users that can provide them with advice based on their own experiences. The difference is that Oiled Koils is providing unbiased education and product recommendations all in within an easy to navigate the application.

User Research:

To begin my research I created a Google survey in order to determine how participants would feel about the creation of an application that caters to curly hair. The survey consisted of questions that help me to understand the current frustrations of natural hair care. I needed to know how people were obtaining their hair education.


The survey also sought out to discover the state of the participant’s hair and their current routines. This was necessary for me to understand how the participants were taking care of their hair as well as which products they loved or dislike and why they developed those preferences.

Overall, the participants surveyed seem to want a quick and reliable resource that was readily accessible. With 23% of participants only receiving hair care information through YouTube, Oiled Koils may be a resource that many Curly girls might be missing.  A common complaint is that although Youtube is rather helpful the information can be buried within tons of irrelevant information.

When participants were asked to describe the current state of their hair 43% expressed that they would like to improve the health of their hair. Many of them have tried popular oils such as Argan, Tea Tree, and Castor but also seemed to be rather curious about other oils such as Jojoba and Emu. When participants were asked which resources do they visit when trying to get their hair care information 26.6% of participants responded that they don’t have any sources that they look into for hair care.

Participant’s Thoughts on Oiled Koils

-“It could make it easier for me to find solutions that are tailored to my hair type and needs rather than me having to spend hours searching the internet for women with my hair type who can share their knowledge.”

-“I think it’s an awesome idea. Consumers would have a personalized experience depending on their type of hair. It would be worth it because depending on your hair type one thing that works for another may not work for you. Also, I haven’t heard of anything like it.”

-”Would be extremely beneficial especially if the app listed the pros and cons, had reviews, price points, places to buy, etc.”

How Will Oiled Koils Add value to Our World?

The Oiled Koils application will provide people with curly hair types a platform where they can receive reputable knowledge on curly hair care.  The social aspect of Oiled Koils is the most important due to the ability of the user having access to people that have similar stories. Through sharing information based on the users own natural hair care journey they can develop a connection and not just to other users but to the Oiled Koils application.

Challenge Accepted

I aspired to create an application that would educate the users in an efficient manner but also showcase their natural hair care journeys as well.

Mood Board

  

The creation of the Oiled Koils mood boards was inspired by different hair types styles and oils. Ironically, my mood board looks very close to the posters that would see inside of a natural hair care salon. I also looked into sites such as ‘The Mane Choice’ and  ‘As I Am’ for inspiration as well. Overall I enjoyed the timeless looks of their websites but felt as though many of the Natural hair care products don’t have creative feels to them. 

Card Sorting

Participates were asked to group words relating to Curl Culture. Surprisingly, all three of the participant’s groups the words in a similar way. After the participants were asked to explain the reasoning behind the groups they created and if any of the cards were difficult to group.

Participant #2 explained: “Well it all makes sense, oils go with oils and hair textures should go together as well.”  In hindsight, I realized that the card sorting should have been more challenging in order to gain more useful insight.

Paper Prototype

Using the information gathered during my user research I began the creation of Oiled Koils. Starting with a few basic wireframes to understand how users would travel through the application.  I then moved on to developing a paper prototype for users to test. 

I discovered that participants would prefer an option to share their results rather than to download them. This was excellent suggest because it encourages users to socialize with each other.  In addition, participants believed that there should be a way to compare the oils that are recommended by the application. This would make it simpler for users that would like to do a side by side comparisons.

Oiled Koils Mock Up

Within my project, I employed my skills for sketch, figma, adobe photoshop, illustrator, and google surveys. This combination of programs allowed me to create a mockup that put all of the collected research together in a uniform manner.  

My Three Red Routes:

Completing a Hair Quiz

Comparing Oils

Creating a Blog Post

So, tell me what you think of my personal app?

Would you be interested in using an application that  suggested oils based on your hair type?

Are there any applications that you currently use to get hair information?

Would you be interested in joining a social community based on hair education?

Protoype of Personal App

List of Application ideas

 

  • Natural Hair Oil advisor

 

  • Natural Hair Care General Advice/Tips
  • Natural Hair Care Reddit Site
  • Natural Hair Care Styles

The Goal of My Application:

  • Provide an application that can suggest the best oils for your hair based on your hair type or hair issues

A User would visit my website if:

  • they wanted to properly moisturize their hair but wasn’t sure where to start their journey. They could also visit my site if they want to know if the products that they are currently using would normally be healthy for their hair.

Tag Line:

  • An app that helps you moisturize your hair naturally.

The Precedents of my concept

  • Shea moisture and Mane Choice used to have websites that explained to customers their hair types and recommended products to them.

The Issue with Precedents

  • The issue it with their website was that the customer was not being educated, Shea moisture didn’t take into account common issues that people with natural hair can have like Traction Alopecia or seborrheic dermatitis and shea moisture only recommended that customers only use their products.

How will I be Different

  • My application will ask about the hair type as well as the current health of the user’s hair to determine what will be suggested to the customer. I can also provide information that describes the use of the products that  I am recommending

CUNYFirst Redesign

As a class, we were challenged to create a better version of CUNYfirst website.

CUNYfirst is a website that CUNY students use to access all of the needs of a typical student, such registering for classes, viewing your schedule and even keeping up to date with the current events of CUNY colleges.

Although CUNY has created a website that is accessible  to all of their students the website itself is cluttered and outdated. During my surveys 4 of the 6  people I interviewed complained that the site made simple tasks like logging in and paying your tuition difficult, agreeing that they would prefer a simpler interface.

“When you log-in to CUNYfirst the amount of information that you see is overwhelming”

“CUNYfirst makes it difficult to complete the simple task like paying your tuition”

 

After conducting interviews I  concluded that creating a mobile application would be the best route due to the overall convenience it would provide the users.

I have attempted to create a CUNYfirst Mobile application that will always allow users to have the functionality of the CUNYfirst website but in a simpler format.