Solar Solutions: Solar Art Piece Update

I will begin this update by contextualizing the creative process and issues we have faced. The biggest struggle we have had so far was obtaining the cell phones that were integral to the aesthetic and artistic meaning of the project. While we had ordered a few old cell phones from a vendor on Taobao, and these had operated satisfactorily, we had found out that this vendor wouldn’t give us a fapiao. This meant that we would have to pay for the cell phones personally, as the lack of a fapiao would prevent us from being reimbursed. While we did eventually find a way to acquire the cell phones, the loss of time between when we wanted to order and when we actually received some set us back. Therefore we are a little behind, as we still have to: light up all the cell phones, wire them in parallel, erect the metal ribs, and connect them to power.

I believe that building the metal structure on Wednesday and finishing wiring the cell phones together would allow us to at least have some working model going by Thursday. Therefore, on Thursday we should at least be able to present a build, if not functioning, version of our solar art project.

Based on the fact that all but 4 of the cell phones will house LEDs and placed in parallel, we know that a small voltage of around 3-5 volts would be ideal. However, the cumulative total of 1.08 Amps and possibly 12 volts.

Ideally, the user would be walking through the sitting area in the backyard and eventually reach the segment where our installation is placed. Cell phones housing the LEDs would light up and move with the wind, giving a serene, natural feel to an otherwise ugly technologic aesthetic. When viewed at night, the installation would hopefully allow for the user to experience a starlight effect.

Environmental Music Generator

1.where you are in the production process.

Currently, I have the music all coded up and have decided all the effects that will be applied and what they’ll be mapped to. However, I’m still in the process of figuring out how to change the FX values without stopping the music. Attached is a demo of what it will sound like.

2. how you will finish your project for presentation on thursday and what you will present.
The main thing left now is getting the file to be altered by the inputs Susan is getting from the RPi grove sensors. At somepoint between now and then, we will need to sit down and put the two halves together, though I feel like there are somethings we both need to accomplish before that can really happen.
3. how much energy your project will need.
The main power draws are the RPi and the speaker, with the bigger of the two being the speakers. However, because we still have yet to confirm/order which speakers we will be using, it’s hard to say exactly how much power we’re going to need! Though that will be decided today in class with Prof. Dan.
4. what the user experience will be.
Rather than having an entirely visual UX like a lot of projects, this one is entirely aural. We won’t explicitly tell people that the music is going to change based off of the conditions of the environment so it will be left in the hands of individuals experiencing the project to put together the changes overtime.
5. A photo of where your project will go in the garden
plan

Solar Solutions & Paper Art Final Project Progress // Ewa Oberska

At this point I believe I have done more than 50% of work that I need to put in this project. After designing my laser-cut files in Illustrator and cutting them, I started working on my circuits. On Friday I finished making my solar panel. Its voltage is from 2.5 to 6.5 V, depending on the amount of light present. I have already put it in the lipo charger and it works perfectly.

I am basing my circuits greatly on conductive tape as it does not occupy as much space as wires and it fits in narrow places with almost no space available. It requires quite a lot of precision to make it all work in an aesthetic way and to actually keep all the components conductive.

I still have to do the rest of the circuits however, after I have already figured out a way to do them I expect it to be a little easier and less time-consuming.

These are some of the pictures of my project from 2 days ago: 13161412_1296084443754649_1717252730_o 13199477_1296084427087984_622599930_o

Final Project proposal: Paper Art & Solar Solutions // Ewa Oberska

My idea for the final project, that is a joined work for both Paper Art and Solar Solutions classes, is a solar-powered interactive book designed mostly for elementary-school children. I planned 6 separate pages however, it is possible tere will be less as there isn’t enough time left until the end of the semester to finish everything I had initially planned on time.

The topic of the book would be mostly world geography, and other areas that are usually common knowledge related to it, for instance, the greatest world’s inventions as paper, philosophy, etc; most popular buildings in the world as Eiffel Tower in Paris, Colosseum in Rome, etc. I am going to make sure that the questions and exercises will be as relevant as possible to the age of my targeted audience.

The book is going to have the size comparable to an A4 page. I plan to use very various materials however, I need to keep them as light as possible. My work will include quite a bit of laser cutting in order to have precisely cropped paper and boards, as I intend my book to look as professional as possible.

The book will also contain a breadboard that will be built inside the back cover, which is going to be a little bit thicker that all the other pages. Depending on the number of pages I chose to create, there will be a corresponding number of separate solar-powered circuits. By answering questions and solving quizzes installed inside the book, the users will close particular circuits, which then will result in a light-notification on the side panel that the level was completed.

The location of the circuits will be mainly in the back page however, the parts that will necessarily have to be on particular pages, will be placed in between 2 pages glued together. One page will contain 2 circuits for 2 separate spreads. I have sketched the layout and structure of all pages and their circuits my sketchbook, please find the pictures attached below.

Some of my ideas are:

  • match famous buildings to their locations;
  • match inventors to their creators (+ location; for instance: paper – China; philosophy – Greece); each of them would have a relevant human character and geographical background as tips.
  • match foods to the geographical regions where they are typical / where they usually come from (f. example: tea, cocoa, bananas, etc.)

And some more of this kind.

There are slightly more detailed descriptions /sketches of everything I talked about in this post in the pictures below.

WIN_20160427_161855WIN_20160427_161942WIN_20160427_161956

 

Solar Solutions Lab: Node MCU and Sound Sensor (Jamie)

For this lab, Shelby and I began by plugging the node mcu into the breadboard, and then choosing a sound sensor to work with. The example code we had was for the dht which sensed humidity and temperature. Thus, we had to change a lot of the code from sensing two variables to just one variable (volume). Some of this was trial and error as we tried to understand what we did and didn’t need to have. This part took some time. In the end, we also asked for help from Professor Dan since we weren’t sure about what else we could be missing.

For some reason, we weren’t able to get some parts of it to work well. The node mcu for some reason wouldn’t connect to wifi. We tested each part that might have been problematic. Professor Dan switched out the node mcu with his own and tested it out. Our initial node mcu worked well with his computer, but his wouldn’t work with Shelby’s computer. In the end, we tried the setup with my computer and with the working code. Before even putting the code in, we plugged the setup into my computer to test its workability. It could connect to wifi and sense volume well. Thus, we concluded that perhaps it was Shelby’s computer that had an issue with the setup. We then tried it with the code. Prudence suggested deleting two lines off of our original code to simplify things and also because they weren’t completely relevant to the code working (within String postStr;). We tried this and it worked out just fine.

#include “ESP8266WiFi.h”

//float prevVol = 0;
const char* server = “api.thingspeak.com”;
String apiKey = “3WQF51BXYI78VYNI”;
const char* MY_SSID = “NYUSHIMA”;
const char* MY_PWD = “Vlc5k$zf”;
int sent = 0;

int soundSensor = A0;
int vol = 0;

void setup()
{

pinMode(soundSensor, INPUT);
Serial.begin(115200);

}

void loop()
{
vol = analogRead(soundSensor);//use A0 to read the electrical signal
Serial.print(“Vol = “);
Serial.println(vol);
sendVolumeTS(vol);

delay(1000);
}

void connectWifi()
{
Serial.print(“Connecting to ” + *MY_SSID);
WiFi.begin(MY_SSID, MY_PWD);
while (WiFi.status() != WL_CONNECTED) {
delay(1000);
Serial.print(“.”);
}

Serial.println(“”);
Serial.println(“Connected”);
Serial.println(“”);
}//end connect

void sendVolumeTS(int vol)
{
WiFiClient client;

if (client.connect(server, 80)) { // use ip 184.106.153.149 or api.thingspeak.com
Serial.println(“WiFi Client connected “);

String postStr;
postStr += “field1=”;
postStr += String(vol);

client.print(“POST /update HTTP/1.1\n”);
client.print(“Host: api.thingspeak.com\n”);
client.print(“Connection: close\n”);
client.print(“X-THINGSPEAKAPIKEY: ” + apiKey + “\n”);
client.print(“Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded\n”);
client.print(“Content-Length: “);
client.print(postStr.length());
client.print(“\n\n”);
client.print(postStr);
delay(1000);

}//end if
sent++;
client.stop();
}//end send

Prudence︴W10︴NodeMCU:post data online through API @ Susan Shi

 

See the chart here

 

Propose: use the Node MCU and Lipo rider to build a solar sensor system that posts sensor data online

Components: Esp8266(or any board with WIFI chip), Lipo Rider Pro, Moisture Sensor(can be replaced by any sensor you need)

 

Circuit: credit to Professor Mikesell

 

 

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Code: Depends on the sensor you use

#include <ESP8266WiFi.h>
// Initialize DHT sensor.
// Note that older versions of this library took an optional third parameter to
// tweak the timings for faster processors. This parameter is no longer needed
// as the current DHT reading algorithm adjusts itself to work on faster procs.
int sensorPin = A0;
float prev = 0;
const char* server = “api.thingspeak.com”;
String apiKey = “4DOLS53SHDWDDXBY”;
const char* MY_SSID = “NYUSHIMA”;
const char* MY_PWD = “Vlc5k$zf”;
int sent = 0;

void setup() {
Serial.begin(115200);
Serial.println(“Moisturexx test!”);

pinMode(sensorPin,INPUT);
connectWifi();
}

void loop() {
delay(2000);
int sensorValue = 0;
sensorValue = analogRead(sensorPin);
// // Check if any reads failed and exit early (to try again).
if (isnan(sensorValue)) {
Serial.println(“Failed to read from DHT sensor!”);
return;
}

Serial.print(“sensor = ” );
Serial.println(sensorValue);

sendTeperatureTS(sensorValue);
delay(1000);
}
void connectWifi()
{
Serial.print(“Connecting to ” + *MY_SSID);
WiFi.begin(MY_SSID, MY_PWD);
while (WiFi.status() != WL_CONNECTED) {
delay(1000);
Serial.print(“.”);
}

Serial.println(“”);
Serial.println(“Connected”);
Serial.println(“”);
}//end connect

void sendTeperatureTS(int moisture)
{
WiFiClient client;

if (client.connect(server, 80)) { // use ip 184.106.153.149 or api.thingspeak.com
Serial.println(“WiFi Client connected “);

String postStr= “field1=”;
postStr += String(moisture);

client.print(“POST /update HTTP/1.1\n”);
client.print(“Host: api.thingspeak.com\n”);
client.print(“Connection: close\n”);
client.print(“X-THINGSPEAKAPIKEY: ” + apiKey + “\n”);
client.print(“Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded\n”);
client.print(“Content-Length: “);
client.print(postStr.length());
client.print(“\n\n”);

client.print(postStr);

delay(1000);

}//end if
sent++;
client.stop();
}//end send

 

solar solutions | midterm: solar pet

For our midterm project, we were supposed to create a “solar pet”–something that uses a mechanism to create some type of movement. For my project, I decided to create a solar friend based off of this drawing that I like: Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 1.02.17 AM

I wanted to make her ears rock a little, so I designed and constructed this mechanism (with help and guidance from Dan).1

Next I edited the motor mount file that Dan provided to us on Tinkercad to create a stand and gear for my motor.

3 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bar on the gear that I was using to move the mechanism broke, so I had to hot glue it back on. Then I positioned the motor with the gear in the stand and secured it to the base with wire. Once I attached the motor to the Miller solar engine circuit, the mechanism was finished. It ended up looking like this:

Lastly I made a face out of cardboard to match the drawing, and it was done.

solar solutions | lab 5: freeform circuit

In this lab, we took our solar engine that we made on a breadboard in the previous lab and turned it into a freeform circuit. I began by following the instructions in our textbook, but quickly realized that I had made everything a bit small for my soldering skills. Soldering this together–and getting the pieces to stay in place–while not letting the solder touch the wrong place or letting the wires cross was definitely a challenge. In the end, I ended up with this: 12834615_1118950984792079_673145351_n

I decided that I wanted to house the circuit in something that would hold the motor up, so I constructed a cardboard casing. I also attached a wire and a small fabric flag to the motor so that it would be easier to see its movement.12674228_1118950978125413_1213630133_n

After constructing the case, I thought that the net looked like a jellyfishing net from Spongebob, so I made the device into an Automated Jellyfish Catcher. Unfortunately, something must have gone wrong in my circuit because the solar panel required a lot of light to turn the motor, and then when it did turn it turned continuously instead of moving in small jolts as it was supposed to. This could have been due to either my misconstruction of the circuit when moving off of the breadboard, or my subpar soldering skills. Either way, I got a lot of practice at both circuit construction and soldering.

Solar Ambience

After yesterday’s class, Mari gave me the wonderful idea of combining my two project ideas so that the sensors are constantly creating ambient music but then with the other solar instruments, people will be able to play on top of the generated sound. This way, there will always be music playing, but sometimes people will want to engage with it and can!

Prudence also offered up the suggestion of creating mechanisms rather than doing digital synthesis, and while my initial instinct was to sort of shy away from the idea because it didn’t exactly fall in line with what I wanted in terms of being able to hear the garden from anywhere, depending on how we end up whittling down the projects, it could be cool to combine my idea with Shelby’s in this way.

Overall, I really liked all of the classes’ ideas, and I saw a lot of ways that we can combine a lot of things to make a few really cool projects depending on how much work we can invest in this.

Solar Solutions Idea Proposal: Solar-powered Flower Tower (Jamie)

What is it?

I thought of making a tower that had flowers on every level of the tower that would be watered by a solar powered mister (that would mist the flowers to water them). The mister would go off at a certain hour, which would be dubbed the power hour. The tower could also be hollow on the inside so as to fit the mister as well as any other wires and mechanisms we might need. The would make for a lovely installation, pleasing to the eye and self sustainable for the most part.

What does it look like?

It would look a bit like terrace farming, allowing us to utilize the space we have more fully by building upwards instead of out. Another possible look for this would be a topiary style, with moss, flowers, and a wire frame to hold it up. Once again everything would be hollow so we could place the mechanism within and if its in combination with another project, we could place speakers or the like within as well.

Are there any projects similar to yours?

I am pretty sure that there are projects similar to mine out there. Gardening and solar power often seem to go hand in hand.

What does it do?

It could have moisture sensors in the soil to know when it needs to be watered and when it does not. It adds color and life to the backyard scene. It would just be basically a self watering mini garden.

Is it feasible to accomplish by the end of the semester?

I think it should be fairly feasible to accomplish by the end of the semester as long as we all work together. Also depending on size, we might need to scale up/down to have the appropriate amount of mist in relation to the amount of plants.

Is there enough sun to power it?

Depending on where it’s placed, I suppose there could be. Since the mister won’t need that much sun to be powered, I think it is possible but would need to go through a period of trial and error.