My PComp midterm project was the first opportunity I had to work in a group, and I would like to start off by thanking Paul May and Suzanne Kirkpatrick because oh boy was it rough at times making through that experience (but great for our soldering skills).
I would also like to point out that Paul wrote an excellent summary including great video and pictures which can be found here.
With that in mind, I am going to reflect a little bit so that my own voice gets included in the project mix:
While we had initially conceived of a greatly different project (using object tracking to grow a virtual pea-patch) we quickly realized as a group that this neither fulfilled our idea for a “media controller” (the arbitrary required and designated device our midterm project needed to be). In keeping with the plant theme, we instead decided to grow a “Power Plant,” fiber optic lighting that would “grow” from a pot, and change colors.
One of the best things about working in the group was the designation on tasks. I was gifted with working on the required motor mechanics to lift the plant out of the pot.
Thanks to my father for the threaded elevator rod idea (and both of my parents for being here to help me acquire supplies// Hooray for a parents weekend for my younger brother).
Basically, I attached a nut inside of a circular platform, and since the threaded rod is attached to the spinning motor, the nut effectively stays in place with respect to the x and y directions. The threaded rod thus turns and moves the nut up and down on itself, changing the platforms Z position.
Once the construction of the initial motor/platform pairing was complete, I literally just watched the motor go up and down over and over as more stuff was added to the equation (the fiber optic cables bundle, the LED + wires which cause numerous headaches and re-soldering to perfect the wiring etc).
Note to self: High Torque always.
The Plant actually functioned as follows:
1. Planting the “seed” (heavy nut) onto the FSR turns the LEDS to green, and the plant “sprouts” slightly out of the pot.
2. Shining the Sun/Light onto the plant (or actually the photocells hidden on the box below) has the motor spin to “grow” the plant out of the pot.
3. Using the Watering Can (detected IR light which emanates from the Watering Can) changes the color of the plant to Blue.
It worked moderately well…but because the motor wasn’t high torque enough, the motor would slip (and the incandescent bulb giving off IR light would false positive our color scheme). I have future plans to fix the machine, but it may end up on the back burner due to final projects. Keep your eyes peeled and I will include updates with how the adjustments are going (I want to remove the IR and FSR and rethink those bits of interaction to simplify them).
Again, a more comprehensive write up (as well as a plethora of images) can be found here courtesy of Paul May.