Interaction Lab 1 (Electronics) – Thomas Tai

Lecture Professor: Marcela Godoy
Lab Partner: Emily
Date: January 26th, 2018

 

General Materials:

1 * Breadboard – The breadboard is used to connect various electrical components in a convenient package. It requires no soldering, making it easy to work on prototypes and temporary projects. The power lines run vertically, while the others run horizontally and were split in two parts.

1 * 12 volt Power Supply – The power supply provides 12 volts of power to the circuit by converting high voltage AC power to lower voltage DC power.

1 * Barrel Jack – The barrel jack is an adapter which connects the positive and negative parts of the jack and splits into two positive and negative wires.

Multiple Jumper Cables (Hook-up Wires) – The jumper wires hook up different parts of the circuit together by facilitating the flow of electricity from each end.

 

Process:

Circuit 1.)

Components:
1 * LM7805 Voltage Regulator – The voltage regulator generates a steady, fixed output voltage that keeps the voltage within its specified acceptable range. This is used in the circuit to prevent electrical components from being damaged.

1 * Buzzer – Also known as a speaker, the buzzer produces sound which signifies that the circuit is complete.

1 * 100 nF (0.1uF) Capacitor – Capacitors temporarily hold charge in the form of electric charge.

1 * Push-Button Switch – The push-button switch a simple type of switch that completes the circuit when pressed. When released, the circuit is broken.

The first circuit we ever built was definitely the most challenging one, as we only had parts scattered across the table, waiting to be assembled. First, we had to understand what each component was and how they needed to be connected. Looking at the lab directions should have made it all clear, but we struggled to understand many things. Starting off with the breadboard, we concluded that the solid lines running up and down on the board meant that power ran parallel to the lines. That assumption was correct, however we also assumed it to be the same for the rest of the board. Our first failed circuit was rotated exactly 90 degrees from what the working version should have been.

After fixing the amateur mistake, we made a similar mistake connecting the switch to the breadboard. We shorted the switch by connecting it in the wrong direction, making it completely useless to turn the circuit on and off. From this circuit on, we agreed to mostly use red to signify power and black to signify ground. This makes it easier to debug connections in case we (inevitably) fail. Following the schematic, we found that the circuit worked! Pressing the button on the switch does indeed make the speaker buzz at a single frequency tone.

Schematics and Demo:

Schematic Credit: ima.nyu.sh

 

Circuit 2.)

Components:
1 * LM7805 Voltage Regulator – The voltage regulator generates a steady, fixed output voltage that keeps the voltage within its specified acceptable range. This is used in the circuit to prevent electrical components from being damaged.

1 * 100 nF (0.1uF) Capacitor – Capacitors temporarily hold charge in the form of electric charge.

1 * Push-Button Switch – The push-button switch a simple type of switch that completes the circuit when pressed. When released, the circuit is broken.

1 * LED – Also known as a light emitting diode, the LED produces light of a single color when electricity flows through it, though only in one direction. Electricity moves from the positive wire (longer length) to the negative wire (shorter length).

1 * 220 ohm Resistor – A resistor limits the flow of current and prevents electronics from being permanently damaged. Resistance can be calculated by dividing voltage by current.

Circuit two was easy after looking at both the first and second diagrams, and searching for similarities and differences. Though the diagram was daunting at first, we found it to be incredibly easy! The voltage regulator remained on the circuit, including the capacitor, switch, and of course, a ground point. We added a 220 ohm resistor in between the LED, so that we wouldn’t blow the LED (again). The light lit up like we assumed when the button was pressed, and we were on our merry way to the last circuit.

Schematics and Demo:

 

Schematic Credit: ima.nyu.sh

 

Circuit 3.)

Components:
1 * LM7805 Voltage Regulator – The voltage regulator generates a steady, fixed output voltage that keeps the voltage within its specified acceptable range. This is used in the circuit to prevent electrical components from being damaged.

1 * 100 nF (0.1uF) Capacitor – Capacitors temporarily hold charge in the form of electric charge.

1 * Push-Button Switch – The push-button switch a simple type of switch that completes the circuit when pressed. When released, the circuit is broken.

1 * LED – Also known as a light emitting diode, the LED produces light of a single color when electricity flows through it, though only in one direction. Electricity moves from the positive cathode (longer length wire) to the anode (shorter length wire).

1 * 220 ohm Resistor – A resistor limits the flow of current and prevents electronics from being permanently damaged. Resistance can be calculated by dividing voltage by current.

1 * 10K ohm Variable Resistor (Potentiometer) – The potentiometer controls the voltage based on a knob, varying the amount of resistance which limits current flow. This can be used to make lights brighter or dimmer.

After the first few experiences were under our belt, circuit 3 was too easy. All we had to do was add a potentiometer in between the resistor and the led. As we learned in the lecture, the variable resistor changes resistance values based on the position of the knob. This in turn limits the current, and changes the brightness of the LED. The LED is unlike a typical incandescent bulb in that it has a very specific minimum voltage, otherwise it doesn’t light up. However, very delicate and tiny changes to the knob does show that the brightness changes just the slightest before turning off. When the button switch is pushed and knob is turned up, the LED does turn on as expected.

Schematics and Demo:

Schematic Credit: ima.nyu.sh

 

Questions:

1.) After reading The Art of Interactive Design, do you think that the circuits you built today include interactivity? Please explain your answer.

According to the Art of Interactive Design, interactivity is a cyclic process in which two actors listen, think, and speak. Circuit 1 is completely independent, requiring no input, ruling out any aspect of interactivity in the circuit. Circuit 2 used a switch, while circuit 3 used both a switch and potentiometer making the circuits somewhat interactive, though at a low level. If the user presses the switch, then the light turns on. When the user turns the knob, the amount of voltage is changed and the brightness of the LED is directly affected. This aspect of input and output makes circuits 2 and 3 interactive.

 

2.) Based off of Electricity: the Basics, identify which components used today were sensors, and which components were actuators.

In today’s lab, the push-button switch and the potentiometer were the sensors, while the LED and buzzer (speaker) was the actuator, since electricity is being converted to mechanical energy.

 

3.) How can Interaction Design and Physical Computing be used to create Interactive Art? You can reference Introduction to Arduino and Zack Lieberman’s video.

Interaction Design and Physical Computing can be used to create Interactive Art by bridging the gap between the user and technology. Technology must be incorporated in a natural way to allow for the user to interact with the art. For example, Zack Lieberman incorporated interaction design and physical computing to create interactive art with virtual graffiti software controlled by the eyes. Eye-tracking hardware was used to track the movement of the eyes, with software and physical computing used to calculate the intricate details of eye-movement and overlay the drawing onto a live feed or image.

From our reading, physical computing “involves the design of interactive objects that can communicate with humans by using sensors and actuators controlled by behavior implemented as software running inside a microcontroller” (Introduction to Arduino, Page 3). Computers are unable to view the world like we do, so sensors are designed to be able to take specific real-life variables and change them into digital input for the computer to process. We can take this data and process it using human-designed code and software to produce output, which can vary from printers, monitors, projectors, etc. Modern 21st century technology such as virtual reality, cameras, and advanced sensors have enabled Interactive Art to flourish and develop like never before. In the new computer era, anything you dream of can be turned into reality for the first time in human existence.

 

Conclusion and Reflections:

This first lab was a great opportunity to learn about the basic electronic components that we will be using in Interaction Lab. Working with electronics has allowed me to appreciate just how intricate our devices really are. Although we did not directly design the circuits ourselves, the process of assembling the electronic components together allowed me to have a better understanding of how each and every part works. As we advance into more difficult topics, the foundation of basic electronics will allow me and my lab partner to work faster and smarter so that we can produce creative and interactive projects. I can’t wait to see what this new and exciting semester brings.

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