MakerLab Bot

Working with a Raspberry Pi for my end of semester project has been incredibly
challenging and yet a very educational experience.  One of my favorite parts of this class is that there is no rigid structure to follow for
a final project in the sense that I was able to do anything.  Although the idea for this project came for the MakerLab’s ‘need’ for a voice-recorder/prompting robot, the usage of a raspberry pi was very open ended.
The major drawback of working with a project that either works or doesn’t, and has
minimal build required apart from the body, is that until it works, one has little to show
for the several hours and days invested in research.  Simply setting up the pi from my laptop as opposed to hooked up to a monitor as is it’s default, took several trial and error attempts at various tutorials.
Harina used a lasercutter to get the body of our stationary robot to be functional as well as cute.  The whole selling point of making people want to interact with a robot sitting on a desk is that it’s cute and cool.  The back interlocks with the front so that all the wires aren’t sticking out once the Bot is fully functioning, as well as easily accessible for fixing bugs.
I ended up using ssh, a command that lets you commandeer the terminal of any other computer given their privacy settings allow, and you know the password!  Our presentation goes through all the intermittent steps that I found from this project.
Nevertheless, I was able to get some things to work.
I have managed to get audio to record, save, and play back on command! The commands I used were:
sudo modprobe snd_bcm2835
arecord -D plughw:1,0 test.wav
aplay test.wav
I am currently working on getting the audio files to either save on another computer, or to connect the start and end of the recording process to buttons.  I will continue to work on this part of the project in between studying for finals in the next few days, though I will probably leave the MakerLab Bot in the lab by Wednesday.




Ideation of DMS Semester Projection

For my semester project, I decided that I wanted to explore with electrical applications of the innovative culture produced by the Digital Making Seminar.  I plan to use some type of CPU board (I’m between arduino and researching intel Galileo) in order to program a camera to capture the instigator of a tripped motion sensor.  There are certain analog sensors that combine the camera feature as well as the motion sensor, though I am open to using some usb connected camera.

Should I choose to go with an arduino:
I would learn to communicate between the iPhone/iTouch app TouchOSC via a WiFi network to a Processing sketch displaying graphics and finally to control an Arduino board.
A useful function: sleepNow() allows the arduino to ‘sleep’ or operate at a minimal power consumption until some input ‘wakes’ it up, so that it can be on for long periods of time.

In order to store this data, I would use a microSD card or try to use wifi to send the pictures straight to an iPhone.  I am still in the research phase, which means that though this is the plan as of now, it is subject to change according to the method that is most effective for this objective.  In order to encompass multiple forms of making, I will also try to 3D print a case for my project for aesthetics as well as practicality.