Week 6: Controlling Sensors using Arduinos

This week we got the privilege of having the opportunity to do some hands on making at our very own University of Illinois Fablab. I really enjoy hands-on learning and making cool things, so this was a really fun week for me. We started the day off by getting a tour of the Fablab. There were some super cool projects going on there, such as a 3D printer that can water-paint, as well as fungus that can be grown into biodegradable molds. We then got split up into different groups, each to work on a different project. My group’s project involved learning how to control LED lights that are put on an Arduino board. For those of you not familiar, an Arduino boards are used to create sensors and programs that can interact with the environment. They are fairly simple to use and therefore can be picked up fairly easily by a beginner. If you would like to learn more about Arduinos, you can check out there website here. Our project was to build the Arduino board for a light sensor. With the help of some of the smart people over at the UIUC fablab, we were able to orient the circuit board and program the board in a way that whenever the light sensor detected a quantity of light deemed too little, the LED lights would starts flashing. It was really cool to see how something so seemingly complex could be made fairly easily. A picture of my Arduino board can be seen below.


Learning about Arduinos is awesome because besides giving you a very basic intro into things like coding and creating circuits, they also allow you to make a broad range of things with them. This, like the Maker movement, inspires a lot of creativity and I’ve seen some really cool creations made with the Arduino. One such invention was a man who came to talk to us a couple weeks ago. He used an Arduino board to create a sensor that would text his daughter every time their cat litter needed to be changed. Having a product that allows creativity like this can only mean good things for the world.

Now that I have learned about Arduinos, I hopefully can use them in the upcoming weeks when building my semester project. While the project will be 3D based, there may be some circuits involved, and anything involving a sensor would be perfect with an Arduino. I will also be at the Fablab the next several weeks as well, learning how to do other things that I may need to do in my project. I continue to look forward to all the cool skills I will learn from this class in the upcoming weeks.

3 thoughts on “Week 6: Controlling Sensors using Arduinos

  1. Hi John,
    Making the light sensor Arduino was actually very interesting. The fact that you can do so much more things with an Arduino is unbelievable. I cannot wait to start off with the other projects that the FabLab is going to teach us. I look forward to the next class.

  2. Hi John,
    I’m really excited to be learn how to use the arduinos in the next two classes. When I had first seen the example of the light sensors I was excited to learn how to create them. I also agree that it would be a great way to learn the introduction of coding and circuit creation. Can’t wait to see how you utilize your learnings in your future creations.

  3. John,
    I agree that next few weeks are going to be very informative and I am excited to be working with my hands more now than ever. This week our track soldered the wiring but next week we will probably do the coding for it which is going to be fun as I’ve never coded before. I am also looking forward to working together for our actual product soon as we now know how to utilize the great resources at the FabLab.

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