C3 Pilot Program

Wow, I have not posted in WAY too long.

I have done so much, and not documented it on here at all — but that will change! I’ll be putting stuff up more and more as i get it looking good.

To start, here’s a video of the DIY activity that I developed as part of the Collect, Construct, Change (C3) curriculum at the New York Hall of Science!


I’ll post up way more about this soon! Including… KIT INFORMATION!

[pluto-festival] :: festival images

I have started to (FINALLY) upload images from the pluto festival where I exhibited my spatialized umbrella project, in Opwijk, Belgium October 1 -4, 2009.

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SOBEaR v02 :: the responsible robot bartender


Finally, my finalized prototype of SOBEaR, the responsible robot bartender.

SOBEaR is a robot friend for anyone who does not know their own limits, or has problems controlling themselves.

I’ve added a glass coaster with a glowing status light to tell you that he is on, as well as a sewn-on patch to show you where the ‘go’ button is.  When you press the “breathe + pour” button on his right foot, the status light goes solid, and the user breathes into SOBEaR’s face.  You can see the alcohol sensor above the bowtie, under his chin.  Your current blood alcohol content (BAC) is then shown a scale from 1 – 6 with green, yellow, and red LEDs in SOBEaR’s chest.  Depending on how drunk you are (or aren’t) SOBEaR will pour you a drink appropriate for your current state.  In the video below, SOBEaR is pouring cranberry vodkas for my user tester.  Two servos hold the alcohol and the mixer, and with the SoftwareServo library for arduino, programming this aspect was simple.

For many obvious reasons, I used a MapDuino which is an ATmega168 chip soldered into a custom PCB circuit (started with perfboard from radiocrack) for the brains of this robot.  The alcohol sensor was super easy to implement, got it from sparkfun via my computation studio teacher.

This robot takes the shape of an adorable plush teddy bear, because I felt it gave it a sense of trustworthiness, as if a teddy bear could ever do you wrong. Trust SOBEaR, he knows what is good for you. It was a tough decision between naming this guy “SOBEaR” or “Teddy Drunkspin” [credit goes to matt for that one!]. Other suggestions?

There are a lot more pictures in my first prototype’s post HERE.

thanks to José + Chris for drinking and filming!

SOBEaR v01

I have finished my first prototype of SOBEaR, the robot bartender. SOBEaR is a robot friend for anyone who does not know their own limits, or has problems controlling themselves.

SOBEaR has an alcohol sensor mounted under his chin, so that the user presses a button inside his right foot, breathes into SOBEaR’s face, and then watches their alcohol consumption level displayed by the color LED column in SOBEaRs chest.

Following their sobriety test, SOBEaR then immediately pours a drink, a ratio of alcohol and mixer (OJ, cranberry, tonic, cola, etc), appropriate for the user at this time.

As you can see in the video, I still need to play with the angles for each pour. Can’t have the bear pouring the bottle straight down into your glass. Wouldn’t be very classy to just spill liquor or mixer all over the place. So I’ll be fixing that before presenting this project, as well as adding a coaster for the user to place their glass under. It will have an LED indicator light as well…

Spatialized Umbrella v01

This is my first prototype of the Spatialized Umbrella.

The Spatialized Umbrella project offers an entirely new dimension to walking in the rain. Using light and sound spatialization this umbrella creates an immersive, mobile, and highly personal multi‐sensory environment.  Range sensing technology helps the Spatialized Umbrella react to your movement through a space.

5 speakers and LEDs are mounted inside of the umbrella, around the users’ head, allowing for sound and light spatialization.  The ‘raindrop’ samples play in a loop, each speaker playing their own unique raindrop. The LEDs light up the speaker playing at that moment. The tempo of the loop is controlled by a long-range Sharp Infrared range finder.  The closer an object is to you, the faster the loop plays. If an object is close enough and a threshold is reached, a lightning sequence is triggered. Best part: COMPLETELY SAFE FOR USE IN THE RAIN.

This video is actually an early version of the code, and I apologize for not using a microphone INSIDE the umbrella (it’s hard to hear the ‘raindrop’ sounds). New video soon.

The most time consuming part of the project was in soldering the PCB i used (i wanted it to be small to fit at the top, so the entire arduino did not make sense). I designed my own “mapduino” circuit and used an IC socket for the ATMega168 chip to sit in on the PCB. This way i can just pop the chip out and replace it with another I have reprogrammed on an Arduino. Rigging the umbrella also took a little while.

***ALL SOUND IS MADE USING ONLY AN ARDUINO AND 8OHM SPEAKERS:: lookup tables store values for waveshaping, which is output directly from Digital Pins from the ATmega chip. See the current version of the code, which can be found HERE.

still to do: linearize the IR data so that there is a more even rate of change in the tempo. When I began, I also had the thought to use an accelerometer, to measure the direction of movement. BUT, I have been successful tonight in reading data from a digital compass sensor, which can give me degrees of rotation — like say if the user spins the umbrella, i could have the sound/light spin around the users head in that direction, at that speed. This is much more interesting data than an accelerometer, in my opinion.

>> UPDATE :: Featured on HackaDay.com and ArduinoShow.com and CoolCircuit.com !!

monome 40h kit

today, i assembled my monome 40h kit! it’s essentially the same as a 64, but comes in kit form – 2 PCBs and all the pieces that need to go on it – ATmega chip, shift registers, FTDI serial to USB, button pads, etc. The only thing it doesn’t come with is LEDs. These you must find on your own. I ordered these from LEDShoppe, and so far i’m not extremely impressed with their consistency (brightness) from bulb to bulb. However, the color is beautiful (violet).  I failed to realize this while constructing her, but the LEDs are in fact all UV Blacklight LEDs, which is kind of cool — not really something I am into, but once i finish construction of the enclosure w/sensors, I will probably sell this monome and I think the UV aspect will be appealing to others.

It took me about 2.5 / 3 hours total, at which point i plugged her in, to discover that one LED was burnt out, and entire row would not respond to button presses. It took me a while to de-solder and remove the dead LED and replace it, but i did, and it works. the row, however, i believe is a circuit problem, and I’m waiting to hear back from Brian Crabtree (inventor of monome) to see what’s up. other than that, it works great, and looks great. The hardest part of the process was soldering 64 surface mount diodes on the button pad PCB. I didn’t expect to have to do anything that tiny. Luckily I got a Weller soldering iron and a couple 0.8mm tips. nothing beats a fresh tip. here are some more images from the process.

__________ the 40h comes with 4 ANALOG inputs that are just waiting to be sensorized. I am considering a capacitance touch sensor, or possibly an IR rangefinder, or maybe even just a potentiometer(s) to have some knobs. the most common is an accelerometer, so that the monome has tilt control. My 64 has this, so i probably will not do that. I still have to build an enclosure (obviously) and what sensors i choose to install will determine what the enclosure looks like. i’m excited.

Luminosphere • v0.5

Finally finished!!!

Here it is in all it’s glory, luminosphere. You can check out my Arduino code HERE

I also had to make a product sheet, the PDF file can be downloaded HERE.  There is also an image of it, in case you don’t want to download (always a hassle, i know).

I am going to sell this item on Etsy.com, i’ll post up here when i post it on there. probably will sell for $20, and my teacher, Yury, has guaranteed anyone who sells something they make for class for more than the cost of parts, an AUTOMATIC ‘A’.

so buy my stuff. thx. bye. UPDATE: http://jmsaavedra.etsy.com (!!!)


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User Testing • Luminosphere v0.4

Welcome to my User Test for NiteLite Luminosphere®!

I invite you to examine the concept and look of a new product to be released worldwide in March 2009.

NiteLite® is a product to be used in any darkened room. Simply turn NiteLite® on, and enjoy the vibrant colors radiating from the base of the product and then watch in awe at the projection of colors on your ceiling or wall!

Watch a video of NiteLite® in action!


Learn about additive color synthesis, as Red, Blue and Green light mix to make White, and every color in between! **assuming projection surface is white to begin with

Here’s a diagram of how it works!

Now for a few questions:

1. What are your initial reactions to NiteLite®? Are you interested in using this product?

2. Do you want to have any control, or do you desire any physical interaction with the product (ie, pressing buttons to alter the light)?

3. What do you think could/should change about the NiteLite®’s physical design? Size? Shape?

4. What room of your domicile would you put NiteLite® in?

5. What sorts of activities do you think you would partake in, while in a room with NiteLite® turned on?

6. Is there any functionality you would want NiteLite® to have? Features?

7. Any other comments?

8. Would you consider purchasing this product, and how much would you pay?

LED time piece • v03

third iteration of the timepiece project for computation. we were allowed to use PWM (pulse width modulation) with the LEDs, so now they can FADE, not just on/off. i created a “nite light”, that projects the colors vertically onto your ceiling. it’s a nice effect, i feel alright about it. the green is brighter than red or blue (this is just a fact about color LEDs, green and yellow are brightest), so a perfect WHITE is never reached.

i also added buttons as you can see here – the toggle, simply breaks the ground to all the LEDs, essentially turning the device off (although in reality, the arduino is still running the sequence).  holding either the red or black push buttons down triggers a different sequence of light color.