Makayla J.

Hi, I’m Makayla and I am a rising junior at Newark Collegiate Academy. For my main project I decided to make an RC car controlled by mindwaves using an EEG headset. This project is based off of a prior bluestamp student’s link. I wanted to do this project because I’m very interested in how the  brain works and mindwaves are a big part of that.

Reflection

Bluestamp has been one of the best experiences of my life. In this society, we are taught to succeed we just have to do what we are told. We accept this thinking because it is enforced. At Bluestamp, I  learned how to think like an engineer. I learned how to identify problems and solve them on my own. I learned to trust myself and my abilities. This is a powerful thing because when you look like me the world is a place that makes you constantly question your abilities. Bluestamp taught me that no matter what the world thinks, to know what I am capable of.

Engineer
Makayla J.
Area of Interest
Chemical Engineering
School
Newark Collegiate Academy
Grade
Rising Junior

Final Project

I was able to make my EEG headset control my RC car.EEG stands for electroencephalogram. This in it’s base form is a measurement of electrical activity from brain activity. The least invasive way to do this is with an EEG headset like a NeuroSky, Mindflex, or Star Wars The Force toy. The electrode to measure is put on a place with easy access to the brain without being inside of you or forcing you to cut off your hair, your forehead. From there it is able to read the voltage of all types of brain waves. (More on that later.)

Starting off, I knew that I had to open the mindflex and the remote control for the car so that I could get a good sense of what I was working with.  When the mindflex worked correctly I had to download the code from the brain library of arduino.  The code has a CSV function that  makes the computer read the values from the mindflex. These are the values that represent the measurement of the different voltages.( In the way that they show up on the serial monitor: signal quality, attention, meditation, delta, theta, low alpha, high alpha, low beta, high beta, low gamma, and high gamma.)

When I got the data on the mindflex working, I had to work on the car.I learned that the car was a digital device, this made it a little easier. I had to find the joints that would work the best an solder them so that I could plug it into the arduino board.From there I coded using if and else statements incorporating the data from the serial monitor so that I could direct the arduino what to do. I set the signal quality-the first number-to 25 . When you focus, the numbers go down.The optimal number for focus is 25. I coded so that when the signal quality is 25 or lower, the output of the forward pin plugged into the arduino would go high. This makes it go forward. When it is above, the forward pin would go low making the car stop.

Second Milestone

For my second milestone I was able to code the control for the car so that when you focus,  it will move forward. The coding was pretty challenging seeing as how I’ve never coded a day in my life. It was a lot of studying and trial and error. I learned how to use if and else statements. These are  statements that allow a certain function  incorporating the numbers from the serial data. I gave the command that if the signal quality was less than 25 it will move forward.. The signal quality is the first of the eight numbers of the serial data. The more you focus, the more that the number goes down. The next milestone is to make the car move backward.This could prove to be a challenge because controlling the numbers independently with the mindflex is extremely hard.

First Milestone

For my first milestone I was able to get my mindflex headset to connect to the arduino and send data to my serial monitor. The first  thing that I had to do was to download the code and the library. The code is called Brain Serial Out. The coding has a function called CSV(comma-separated values file) and what that does is breaks down the  different waves- signal strength, attention, meditation, delta, theta, low alpha, high alpha, low beta, high beta, low gamma, high gamma -and it feeds data to the serial monitor in a horizontal list of eight digits. The values represent the amount of electrical activity at different voltages for different readings.  The wires were really small and in a tough place to reach so it was definitely a problem connecting and soldering the wires. In addition, the instructables weren’t super helpful so I kind of had to take my own chances. I had to use my best judgement to choose which wires to cut and where to plug them into the arduino board. The next step is to put the headset on and interpret the data that it gives me based off of my brain waves that it reads and connected the controller as well finding a decent way to make the two devices communicate cohesively.

Starter Project

   For my starter project, I built a minty booster which is a charger using an altoid case as it’s cover. The first thing I did was fit and solder the resistors so that it  can decrease the current of electricity that comes through. Then, I fit and soldered the diode which allows the transfers the energy in only one direction, from the batteries to the device being charged. Next comes the power inductor converting low voltages to high voltages. Then I added the capacitors that stabilize the  conversion voltages. Then, I add the batteries and the usb to charge your device. Making this I learned how to solder and that every part is equally important because everything is connected. I  had a problem with desoldering, but besides that I was pretty satisfied.

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