Over the course of gaining my minor in physical computing, I did a variety of projects utilizing the Arduino microcontroller.
A Useful Implement For A Person Living With A Disability
This project was intended to allow students to interview a client with a disability and then with their help find an opportunity to improve their day-to-day life with a product.
Our project was designed to allow our client to type a price into a keypad and then have the amount of money they need to be dispensed to them as well as the amount of change left over displayed. This cash dispenser can be attached to our client’s wheelchair. There is also a reload mechanism that allows our client to reload the machine with money. Our specific device was designed to dispense $10 and $20 bills.
Our first prototype was based on how a printer dispenses paper and utilized multiple roller mechanisms that would dispense a bill from a stack. Basically a spring would push up a stack of bills to a certain height and then a rolling cylinder with grippy material would push the bill forward. The main issues with this design is that the dispenser was not consistent and had difficulty grabbing the money.
We then switched to the first prototype of our final design which instead of storing the bills in a stack where they could stick together, layered the bills separately inside a roll of fabric. This made it much easier to consistently dispense one bill at a time.
We received feedback that our original mechanism was flawed because we did not have a way to detect if the correct number of bills had been dispensed, which we solved by integrating IR sensors into the design. The final product was constructed from laser cut and 3D printed parts. My job on the team was to design and construct this mechanism.
Before putting all of the electronics into our housing and integrating it with our mechanism, we first tested them all as a system. To keep track of what has been dispensed, we chose to use an IR transmitter and receiver that detects a decrease in the IR signal as a bill exits the money rollers. We also used these sensors to determine when a given compartment was out of bills.
Our client loved the device and it was so rewarding to be using my skills to help others and to work in a team.
We are all Horrible People
This desktop philosophical experience is intended to be placed discretely somewhere in CMU with high foot traffic. After sitting down, you answer each question as it appears on the screen. The 'y' key means yes and the 'n key means no. All of the questions are modeled after decisions that a CMU student might make on a normal day, some a bit more dramatic than others. After you answer all of the questions, you will get a receipt printed with some of the positive and negative consequences of the choices you made. The project was inspired by Nietzche's idea of an eternal return or the idea of being satisfied with your choices if you had to live them infinitely over.
I spent the beginning of the project scripting the questions that the screen would display and the responses that would be printed. The questions intended to mimic decisions that many CMU students run into on a daily basis but also some that make users question their morals a bit more.
You can see on the left I had the monitor and receipt printer connected to my computer running a script on processing. During the show for this project I hid the laptop inside the cabinet in the desk.
Above you can see some images of users interacting with my project at our final show.