Category Archives: The Rest Of You

A Switch that Requires No Hands

Since the challenge was to create a switch that could be activated without hands, I wanted to further push myself and see if I could create a switch that could be activated with another state of matter, specifically gas. I wanted to see if I could get the switch to be turned on by using air in some way. Below is my schematic.

My original idea was to create a pinwheel that would have a piece of copper on one of the wings. When air was blown on to the pinwheel it would rotate the wing with the copper tape. The goal was that enough air would blown, to rotate the copper wing so that it could touch another piece of copper, which was attached to the rest of the circuit, in turn, lighting up the LED. Here is a picture of the very flimsy pinwheel and the diagram I made for it.


However, after I constructed the pinwheel with a paper plate and hot glue, I realized that it was difficult to control the amount the pinwheel would rotate. Furthermore, the pinwheel was very flimsy and did not always rotate accurately. I then decided to pivot my design and create a wind tunnel.

The user would blow through the tunnel. At the end of a tunnel a copper flap was created. This flap would fly upwards when air was blown through the tunnel. The copper flap would then hit another copper panel that was taped to another surface. This copper panel would be connected to the breadboard. This can be seen in the photograph and videos below.

At the end, I was able to successfully blow through the tunnel and light up the LED. I feel like a similar system to could be implemented in various medical devices, particularly those created for lung function tests.

I also soldered something! Here is an image of the two wires I was able to solder together! It may seem like a small task, but I am very proud of myself!


Window-based Smart Home Trigger

For this project I wanted to explore the creation of Smart Home/IoT devices. The instance I chose was the detection of a window opening and closing, and the relay of that state to a computer. The original plan called for a servo-based actuation of the A/C power button as well, but I did not have enough time to design a mount for the mechanism and it fell outside of the scope of the project anyway.

Arduino Diagram

The switch mechanism itself is triggered off of whether the window  is in a closed or open state. There are two pieces of copper tape with soldered wires, one on the moving window pane and the other a the base of the window frame. When the two pieces are separated, the upper portion of the circuit as indicated by the diagram above is left open and the digital input port reads LOW  as its current state. When the contacts are touching and the circuit is closed, this reading switches to HIGH . This circuit is based off of the demo ‘State Change Detection’ configuration as found on the official Arduino website. [1]

Arduino Window GIF

While my hands were used in the creation of this GIF, it is not necessary to use hands in the operation of the window and I often just use an elbow or arm to close it. The usage of the hands here was so I could reach over the camera without hitting it.

The theoretical hook-in to a smart home system is communicated over the serial port of the Arduino unit. This serial communication can be, for example, picked up by a NodeJS-based system running off of a local server. That is just theoretical though, as the full extent of this project for now was just to send the window close/open flag over the serial port.


In the first project, namely “Switch,” I was inspired by the sign of switch that people normally use in diagram of circuit.  The touch point of the door and the metal standing stuff becomes the connection point of the switch. Therefore, when the door is opened,the LEDs light.

Here is the circuit diagram.

These are details and process of the switch system.

Last, the video is shown below.


Booty Bumper

For my project, I decided to incorporate a switch with something that I love to do to people, which is booty bumping. I soldered the two wires that connected the circuit to the positive column on the breadboard, to two large pieces of copper tape. The copper tape was used as a conductor for this project. I decided to use two LEDs to light up so it matched the number of people that worked to make them light up! It’s a pretty basic adaptation of the circuit we made in class.

^Initial Sketch/Schematic

^^Pictures of the Arduino and Breadboard based on schematic

Soldering (Click the link to see how I soldered the wires to the copper tape!)

Booty Bumper in action (Click it’s a boomerang!!)

^Hips don’t lie! the LED lights up!

^Click to watch a video showing everything in action! Quality is questionable, don’t judge! ^

Real World Application:

The Bumper Bumper could be used in the future for hip rehabilitation. For those needing to go to physical therapy for their hips, the Booty Bumper could be used as training to reaching a goal  on a hip mobility scale. The second person in this experiment could be replaced with a bar or inanimate object to create a base for that patient to have to reach with their hips.

Special Thanks!!

@Apoorva for letting barge in on her soldering session, being a participant as a booty bumper, and filming me soldering on her phone!

@Grace for helping me solder, being a booty bumper, and helping me figure out where to put my switch in the circuit!

@Sophie for helping me solder, and filming the product for me on her phone!





For my first project I created a set of forks that allow for people with certain impairments to eat using their wrists. When the two forks touch the LEDs turn on and this signifies that the food is ready to be lifted.

First I wired the LEDs together in a basic circuit

Next I taped the Arduino to the rest of the wiring

After this step I taped the two ends of my switch to two seperate forks which would later cause my lights to turn on

Finally I taped the forks to my wrists and connected my Arduino to my power source, (a bluetooth speaker). Now I’m ready to put my invention to use.


Above is a Video that shows my project being used for its purpose

light switch


This circus includes a LED light, four wires, a resistor, a photoresistor, and an Arduino. The photoresistor changes with the change of lights around. When the ambient light is dark, the photoresistor is going to be really strong, making the LED can not lit up. Thus, when the ambient light gets brighter, the LED becomes brighter.

MINI GOLF(Hands-Free Switch)

I built a mini golf.

If you successfully roll the ball into the hole, the circuit will be closed and the LED will light.

The Inside


Missing the target


Here is the process.

I find a ball
cover it with copper tape to make it conductive
copper ball!
Begin to build the core part—the cup I cover the bottom with copper and tape a cord onto the copper bottom
I cover one side(because I intended to tilt the cup) of the cup with copper and taped another code onto the copper.
the cord couldn’t be taped because there was a little surface size. SO I DID THIS
The breadboard and Arduino!
Tape the cup to the box with an angle
The inside


Mini Dumpster Switch


The LED light will turn on when something weighty is dumped into the mini dumpster(paper cup).

This is the design draft of the mini dumpster switch.


First, cut open the bottom of the cup (don't cut a hole in it)
First, cut open the bottom of the cup (don’t cut a hole in it)


copper strip
Then attach the copper strip onto the bottom of the cup
attach the wire
Attach the wire


Place the cup on a piece of copper board which has wired to the negative row of the breadboard.

And then, dump something into the mini dumpster(the paper cup)to turn on the light!

Working While Sitting

When I’m sitting down and something falls off my desk, I always instinctively reach for it with my foot so that I don’t have to get up. Using your legs for reaching is much easier than using your arms while sitting down so I thought wouldn’t it be nice if I could create something that could be activated with your foot instead? So that’s what I designed.

Here’s a design that I tested made out of cardboard:


After I tested it out on the cardboard I realized that this is a simple design worked really well, all one has to do is step on it and the two pieces of cardboard (to be replaced with conductors) would touch. So, I created it out of two bronze plates. To ensure that metal wouldn’t touch before the human interaction I made sure to tape the ends of the spring with insulating electrical tape.

Here’s a picture of the finished product with the LEDs working!

And here’s my project in action!


So here’s a switch that you can activate from the comfort of sitting or laying down without having to bend over to reach!


Hands-Free Switch.

First, I connected a red wire from the 5V slot to the positive side of my breadboard and a black wire from the Ground slot to the negative side of my breadboard. I color coded the wires for organization to see where my ground and power was. Next, I grabbed another red wire and stuck one end in a positive breadboard slot and the other side in an alligator clip. I connected the other side of the alligator clip to a copper plate. This is the positive side of the switch. Then, I placed the cathode side of my blue LED into a negative breadboard slot and put the anode side in the inner section of the breadboard. I placed one end of a resistor on the same row as the anode and the other end parallel of that one. From here, I put one end of a black wire on the same row as the end of the resistor I just placed and I attached the other end of the black wire to an alligator clip. After this I got the other end of the alligator clip and clipped it to another copper plate. This is the negative side of the switch. To activate the switch, I placed the positive side of the switch on top of my teddy bear’s nose and the negative side below it, so that when my friend kicked my bear forward that the positive side would fall on the negative and let the LED light up.

Unlock the Light

After looking through the junk shelf, I found this conductive metal door lock and thought it would function great as a switch.

I first created a regular circuit as my base.

Then, I drew a schematic to have a visual representation of what I wanted to achieve.


Using this schematic, I incorporated the door lock as a switch into the circuit.

I used my foot to slide the door lock and turn on the led.

Click the link below to see the full video!

Unlock the Light

Humidity/Water Switch

Small creatures rule my life, so I thought I’d make a switch inspired by one scaly category of them: reptiles. Their habitats require controlled levels of humidity, so reptile owners need something to monitor cage conditions. This switch is based on the humidity gauges that they usually use. The LED turns on once the DHT11 senses that the humidity has reached desired levels. In this case, we’ll say between 80%-90%. It turns off when the humidity drops below 80% or goes higher than 90%.

First, I had to figure out how to wire and set up the DHT11. Well, a bunch of people had already figured it out for me, but I had to tinker with the wires a little to get it to work. Otherwise, I just uploaded a default DHT11 sketch to my Uno.

Initial setup for DHT11
First attempt: DHT11 sketch + module reading the temperature and humidity in the suite

It seemed easy enough, but what followed was a lot more trial and error and modifications than I expected. I thought that all I would have to do was add some lines to the sketch so that the LED could be triggered to turn on and off depending on the DHT11’s recorded humidity. I ended up downloading another DHT library and running an entirely different code in order to get the new circuit with the LED to work.

DHT11 and LED hooked up to Uno

The good thing is  that I eventually got it to run smoothly. In the gif below, I used a small spray bottle filled with water to mist the area around the module in order to increase humidity.

Before misting (<80%), after misting to 80%-90%, and after misting to >90%

And then I promptly broke the DHT11 after spraying water a little too directly at it. Whoops. It’s sitting in some rice right now.

Anyway, there you have it: a humidity gauge/automated light switch that tells reptile owners when their pets have the right humidity for them to be happy and healthy.

Using my leftover’ s aluminum foil as a switch…

After eating lunch, I realized that the aluminum foil used to wrap my sandwich is conductive and would make a great reusable resource for my switch.

This is my schematic diagram and visual diagram for my idea.

I created a lever that connects an aluminum foil path for the electrons to flow through when stepped on.

The materials I used for the lever were cardboard and aluminum. I wrapped the aluminum over the cardboard.

I found a flat, slightly raised board to use as a fulcrum and attached putty to the edge. The putty will keep the lever in place when stepped on.

After following my schematic and visual diagram, this was the outcome.

I attached the wires by poking them into the aluminum as shown above.

When the lever is at rest, it does not connect.

This was the final result. (click link above to see the video)

Look ma, no hands!


Using Ag as switch

Metals are conductive. I pick argentum as my switch. The materials I use are two pieces of silver pendants that contain argentum in them.

Firstly, I build up a regular circuit.

(This is not a closed circuit because I have to add my switch into it)


Then I hang two silver pendants by wires. Using a tape to fix the wires and make sure the pendants are parallel to each other.


I use a hair drier to blow the pendants. They touch each other and then LED  lights up.

Liquid as a switch


What I made here is a switch that could test if the water is pure enough. Everyone knows that water is conductive. However, 100% water is not. Water around us is  usually conductive due to the impurity. The more impurity water has, the better conductivity it would gain. So the LED would be very bright if the water is not pure. On contrast it would be darken when the water is pure.

testing if the led works

It works!

checking cables

cables also work!

The LED shows little light while there’s water in the cup

The LED become brighter using juice

Switch to 5V so the light would be easier to be observed

Blow that candle out! (Or uh… on)

Blow that light on!

Click on the title above to see what this post is about!

Okay, so our goal was to create a switch that would turn an LED light on without using your hands. As a trumpet player myself, naturally my first instinct was to try and find a way to blow the light on. First I created a regular switch through wires with a Adruino Uno, a breadboard, a break, and some alligator clips. Onto the alligator clips I attached a large conductive metal (a regular knife), and a small conductive metal (a dime) that could be easily blown over.

Additionally, I used a small Post-It note to create surface area to blow over the dime more easily and create weight that would make the light go on every time I blow.

In order to blow the air in a concentrated direction, I used a stem from a harmon mute as a tube (a harmon mute is a tool used for a trumpet, so any tube/straw would work) to blow on the Post-it note.

This test was successful as can be seen on the video. The LED went off every time I blew onto the post-it note.

Until next time!

-Josh Guzman