Arduino Light Box With Ultrasonic

This week was the second part of our session with FabLab and I was so eager to learn more about what we would place inside the boxes we had laser printed last week. I got to work with Brandon Rice (Lab Assistant and Consultant) and Aakanksha Ardhapurkar (Lab Assistant) who taught us how to make LEDS controlled by an ultrasonic sensor. Honestly, going in to the session I was nervous because I had no experience with hardware though I did have some in software. Many of my friends had talked about using Arduinos as a great prototyping platform so I was excited to play with both hardware and software through it.

In the lesson we started out with learning how to make blinking lights on the hardware through a code that we would apply. In setting up the hardware we used an Arduino Uno, cable, LED, jumper wire, breadboard and resistors. I thought it was so amazing how there were so many different numbered and powered pins within the board that could create such powerful connections. Because all the objects we used to put on the breadboard and the Arduino was quite small it was sometimes hard to find the exact place to put it and those little mistakes would lead the blinkers to not blink. Brandon had taught us how the circuit would work in regards to the arduino, breadboard and LED as electricity only flowed in one direction around a circuit we had to put them in correctly. Once we finished building our hardware we started working on the software through Arduino Software that was in an integrated Development Environment, the software could be used to write code and upload codes to the Arduino board. There were various settings that we could change with the lights but we were specifically working on making them blink and the settings can be seen on the software (File à Examples à 01 Basics). Once we connected the software to the Arduino board we would upload it, though some of our boards took awhile to function properly we all learned that many of them were little issues with the wires that we hadn’t put in correctly. What I found great about this project was that even though we would make mistakes we had the chance to fix them and still make the system work properly. We were given some other activities such as hacking the code and making the lights blink in a certain beat. Near the last part of class we had complete the ultrasonic sensor wiring diagram and as a group we definitely worked together to make it all happen and all our boards ended up accomplishing what we had hoped for with the sensor lights.

Though we had to tear apart the hardware, I can’t wait for the soldering process when we put everything together. So far I feel that I’ve been learning so much from my experience with the FabLab and am very grateful!

In the process of building:

Final results: