My Air Butler project for the final project is also my submission to Autodesk Smart Home Design Challenge.
During winter break, I was looking into air purifiers on Amazon. The prices for the really high quality ones are outrageous. I thought about the number of rooms in my home and realized I couldn’t afford to purchase one purifier for each room. Even if I could, it would waste so much electricity if I leave all the air purifiers on, or it would be a waste of capital if I don’t leave all the air purifiers on.
That is why I wanted a more smart, cheap, diligent air purifying system at home. Hence, I devised Air Butler, an air purifying system that can purify the air in all locations at the lowest cost, with the highest efficiency and provide you with more transparent knowledge of the real time air pollution distribution at home.
At first, the thought of building an air-purifying system that involves a wireless sensor system, an web app and a robot that can talk among each other seems almost overwhelming.
I started out designing the grove connectors shield. I used Autodesk to design a PCB board to connect the three sensors that I planned to use–air quality sensor, dust sensor, PIR motion sensor–to Arduino Yun. I needed to look into the datasheet to learn about the connection of the different pins of the sensors.
The first time I cut out the PCB board with the help of Global Pre-doctoral Fellow Vivian Xu, I didn’t pay attention to the layers. The orientation of the layers is pretty tricky. I think it is very necessary to print one first to understand more about the orientation of different layers of the specific software you are using. I guess different softwares might differ.
Another problem was that the grove connecter part on 123D Circuits was too small. After printing my first PCB board out, I realized that the holes and the pads were way too small to be useful for my project. So Matt taught me how to fork the parts on 123D Circuits. I forked the original grove connecter part and made the holes bigger and adjusted the size of the pads to ensure safe connections. Now there is a part called “Grove Connector” under my name.
So I made the second one. Then I soldered the grove headers and Arduino pin headers onto the PCB board.
After a while, I realize I had to modify the second one too. So I just conveniently cut one of the copper line on the board and soldered a short piece of wire to connect what needed to be connected instead.
Then I attached the PCB board to Arduino.
I tested the sensors with Arduino Uno first. After the Arduino Uno codes for the sensors make sense, I brought the codes for the three sensors one by one into the Bridge codes to make them work on Arduino Yun.
Then I began to work on the robotics part. We tested three motors in total. Similar to the process above, I tested the codes on Arduino Uno first and then moved it to Arduino Yun with adding the modified the Bridge codes. I went home and got a robot I made in middle school, hacked it, substitute a new motor into it and 3D printed wheels. Then the motor doesn’t seem to be strong enough to move. I used an H-bridge to supply extra power for the motor and it worked! My robot is now able to move back and forth controlled by the web app Air Butler.
After the most technical things have been done, I went on to modify my wind chime. I want to design a boat that can hold my Arduino shield with 3 Grove sensor when it is on the table and it can also be hung and work like a wind bell. I used Fusion360 and sometimes in combination with Tinkercad to build most of my models. Here are a few models I built
This is the first Wind Chime I made with UP! 3D Printer.
Usability Testing: I just used some 3D Printing filament as the “string” and it turns out pretty cute!!!
However at that stage, I don’t have my mobile batteries yet and the design barely prepares any space for the extra battery. So I made two more iterations of design with the industry software Rhinoceros.
My last design with Rhinoceros adds an extra hole onto the side of the wind chime so that the USB wire to the battery can go through so that it actually saves space.
I made an iteration of wind chime with CNC machine. Even though I liked the wooden texture, CNC might not be the perfect option for me. The dimensions of the machine that we have are limited and just not the best choice for my design.
So many people that have seen Air Butler told me that it is so useful, that they want it and that they will buy it. I can see a future for Air Butler. My next steps are to make Air Butler easier to customize for each home, to enable more functions, modes and data visualization on the web app, and to give more intelligence and control to the robot. Then it will be time to move from prototyping to fabrication.