Week 7: Bright Coding Skills, Brighter LEDs

Entering the Fab Lab, I was excited to know what to do next. I really enjoyed the collaborative atmosphere and the hands on work making things. As we began class, I was told that I would be doing coding in the computer lab with Arduinos. My heart jumped for joy when I was told we were coding. It was a flashback to high school. When I was in high school, I took all the computer science classes there were until AP Computer Science and even the game design. There, I was the only girl among a class full of men who learned how to code in Java and Flash. Despite being consistently told that I wouldn’t be good at coding because I was a girl. I worked my little feminine heart out to prove them wrong and within a few months, I was coding circles around them. These classes began my interest in the IT world. I was almost a computer science major before I realized that I love business just as much. With ISIT being basically a harmonious mix between the two, it was the perfect match to me. Although I was happy to be an ISIT major, I didn’t expect to code, so I was happily surprised with this workshop.

Arduino, Breadboard, jumper cable, resistors,and  ultrasonic distance sensor (LEDs not pictured)

unnamed (1)


SOS Code


SOS Blinking Demonstration

Animated GIF  - Find & Share on GIPHY



When beginning the workshop led by Brandon Rice, we were told what we were going to be learning. The goals of this workshop was to learn about Arduinos and the Arduino process, interface an ultrasonic distance sensor, learn about serial monitors, and finally combine it all to control the LED output to the ultrasonic distance sensor. We started our journey to our ultimate goal by learning how to set up the Arduino to the breadboard with jumper cables, resistors and an LED light to just make the LED output able to work with the pre-written code provided to us on a software called Blink. After we were able to set this up, we were challenged to play with the code to make it signal SOS, wire the breadboard with 5 LEDs, and finally attach the ultrasonic distance sensor. This workshop was extremely beneficial as learning how to code for Arduinos to make the LEDs light up can help my group with whichever of our two main ideas for our final project, a light up hydration wristband and a lamp which is solar powered and dims based on the noise activity levels in the room. With further research, I actually found out how to code for fading and dimming the LED lights (link is below). Additionally, for the both the hydration band lamp, knowing how to code for the ultrasonic distance sensor helped give me an idea on how I could code the sensors appropriately. Regardless of the project, I am extremely excited about getting my hands on coding again and playing around with the code. The language is easy to understand thanks to my years of computer science but I still have so much more to learn. I can’t wait to learn more about how to code for LEDs and Arduinos!

How I wired the breadboard for 5 LEDs
unnamed (5)


5 LEDs Blinking (I programmed the code a little differently than others because I figured out how some of the code functions to create a different pattern)

Animated GIF  - Find & Share on GIPHY
Ultrasonic distance sensor attached to breadboard (The closer an object is to the sensor, the faster the lights blink!)

Animated GIF  - Find & Share on GIPHY


Fading LEDs Code

Here’s a Tutorial on How to Wire a Breadboard for LEDs

Here’s Really Cool 8×8 Arduino Controlled LED Cube

One thought on “Week 7: Bright Coding Skills, Brighter LEDs

  1. Hi Ana,

    It was really cool to read your background with coding and how it sparked your interest in IT. I’m glad you didn’t let the negative attitudes of others distract you and dissuade you from pushing on. I think thats exactly why programs like Girls Who Code and Maker Girl are so important! I really liiked programming our Arduino. It reminded me of CS 105 a little bit, and it also reminded me of how much I’ve forgotten and what I can learn. I thought the LED Cube video you found was so cool! Its amazing how many things you can do with an Arduino whether is serves a specific purpose or even just as a novelty item. Are you planning on doing a lot of programming on your final project?

Leave a Reply