I’m Simon, a rising senior at Lowell High School. I have two years of experience with Java, but no experience with circuitry at all. By joining BlueStamp, I want to get some hands-on experience with electronics. During my time at BlueStamp, I got to experiment with and blow up small electronics, and learn why they blew up afterwards. After six weeks of experimentation and research, I managed to pick up a lot of knowledge about electronics.
My final project was going to be the sensor bracer, but due to unforeseen technical difficulties, it is now the sensor box. I decided to do the sensor bracer/box because it’s not only a very interesting little device, but it can also come in handy when I go out camping, or if I get lost. Also, I picked this project since I would need to learn electrical engineering to integrate all of the sensors into one circuit. Not only would I get a cool set of sensors, but I would learn a lot making it as well.
For my third milestone, I got the display working, and displaying information obtained from the sensors. The coding wasn’t very hard. All I did for the coding was to have the display display words that the sensors gave me. The wiring was a lot harder. One misplaced wire led to the entire system not working. One problem I ran into was a broken pushbutton switch. I spent a good part of the day meticulously checking connections with the multimeter, until I realized that the wires weren’t the problem. Now, everything works fine, and all I have to do now is to clean up the wires, hot glue the thing onto a bracer, and use it.
For my second milestone, I got the compass and the GPS working. Those two sensors were harder than the previous two, the GPS in particular. After downloading the libraries, I then had to make sense of the functions defined by the libraries, and integrate it into one Arduino project. The one roadblock I got into was that I couldn’t project with two different baudrates with one port. The GPS used 115200 bauds, and the compass used 9600. I wanted to switch between one display and the other, but that wouldn’t work. At the end, I ended up having to upload the compass code into the Arduino, demonstrating it, then uploading GPS code afterwards. I plan on getting the temperature sensor and the LCD display working.
For my first milestone, I got the light sensor and the humidity sensor working. The process wasn’t very hard, actually. First, I looked up how the sensors were supposed to be wired. Then, I soldered the sensors onto a board, soldered wires and connected them to the sensors, and stuck the wires onto the Arduino. After that, I just downloaded libraries, and got inputs from the sensors. From then on, I just had LEDs turn on whenever I got a certain reading from the sensors. I learned how to install libraries and how to get readings from the Arduino by the end of this. For later, I plan on getting other sensors and the LCD working.
Theremin Starter Project
My starter project was the Theremin, an instrument that can be played without physical contact. I decided to make this instrument because I love music. I play in the orchestra at my school, and have played bass for 7 years. The Theremin was my very first engineering project, so I had a lot to learn, ranging from soldering things to figuring out what each part of the Theremin did. When I finished the project, I was surprised that it actually made sound. I half-expected it to break down, or not work at all. I was also puzzled at how it detected motion. There were no sensors or anything, it was just a piece of metal. Turns out the long wire that I thought was pointless was actually an antenna, and detected things in an electromagnetic field around it. Even though it didn’t work perfectly at the end, I had a lot of fun messing around with the thing and annoying everyone in the room.