Tag Archives: People Counter

Prototypes, Prototypes, Prototypes


This week we devoted all of our time to working on our prototypes. Now that my team has become familiar with Arduinos, Perfboards, Ohm resistors, and the wiring, we were able to begin getting everything connected. Unfortunately, our 7-Segment Display still has not come in, but we still began connecting our Arduino with the Perfboard.


Connecting the Wires

We followed along with some online tutorials on how to connect our wires (source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qc9Yw5kgTTM). This tutorial is in Hindi, so we were not able to understand exactly what the narrator is saying, but we were able to follow along with his visuals. First, we downloaded the code to our Arduino, then we connected the wires. In order to fully comprehend what we were building, we tried to really understand each wire and why it was connecting to its designated port. We utilized 7 LED lights to substitute for our 7-Segment Display for this week. This makes sense because each of the segments in the 7-Segment Display are essentially an individual LED light. Thus, we decided to utilize individual LED lights for now to see if we could get them to light up.

After connecting everything, we plugged the prototype into power and began pushing the push button. The result: WE GOT SOME OF THE LED’S TO LIGHT UP AS WE PUSHED THE BUTTON! We could not make much sense of these lights since they were not technically arranged in the manner of a 7-Segment Display, but we were really excited to see some results from our work. Check out our connected prototype below with an LED lit up:


As evident in the picture above, a challenge we had with our prototype was the exposure of the wires/Ohm resistors. We solved this potential issue by individually wrapping the exposed wires with an insulating tape. This helped us ensure that none of exposed wires would touch one another and thus cause issues. Check out our final prototype from today below:

Prototype with Insulating Tape


Ohm Resistors

A challenge that we faced was not having the exact Ohm resistors for our prototype. We needed 470 Ohm resistors, but we only had 170 and 280’s. Through some research, we found that we could simply connect the ohm resistors together and add their numbers to get closer to our ideal number. Thus, we connected one 170 to one 280 Ohm resistor to get a final resistor of 450 Ohms. We figured that the 450 Ohm resistor would suffice in place of the proposed 470 Ohm resistor. Additionally, here is a useful article for anyone who wants to know how to read the resistor color codes: http://www.resistorguide.com/resistor-color-code/.


Moving forward

We are really hoping that our 7-Segment Display comes in next week so we can be ready to begin the testing stage (keep your fingers crossed for us!). Thank you for taking the time to read my post.

-Scott Provenzano




Designing our Project

Shapeways Guest Speaker

Hi All! We began class this week with a guest speaker from Shapeways joining us via webcam. She gave us an impromptu tour of the Shapeways facility (really neat to see all of their equipment!), and she spoke to us about the implications of Shapeways in the 3D printing industry. For those who do not know, Shapeways is a “New York-based 3D printing marketplace and service, startup company. Users design and upload 3D printable files, and Shapeways prints the objects for them or others” (shapeways.com).

After hearing our speaker talk, I was curious to learn more about the safety measures and policies that Shapeways has in place in regard to creating weapons. With gun policy currently being a heated topic in the USA, I figured this 3D printing company must have to make many choices pertaining to creating devices that could function as guns. Thus, I asked her to touch on the safety measures and policies in place. She let us know that ballistic manufacturing is regulated by the US government. However, Shapeways would technically be able to gain a license to be able to legally produce weapons for consumers. That being said, Shapeways has taken a stance to not produce weapons so they do not offer such a service to customers. I found this information alarming because it allowed me to understand that a 3D printing company has the potential to legally obtain a license to create weapons. These weapons could then be customized in such creative ways by the consumer in an effort to inflict the most harm upon other individuals. This worries me because it may someday result in new weapons that we have not even seen yet.


Readings & Project Design

On a lighter note, the assigned readings/videos for this week were spot on for what we did in class. They noted that the best first steps to take are to draw out your design, get prototypes as soon as possible, and get feedback from users (which are the exact steps that we plan to follow!). Check out the three pictures below to see some of our drawings and the different gadgets that we played around with. You’ll even notice that we got some lights to light-up on our Arduino!

Picture 1

Picture 2

Picture 3

We feel confident that we have all of the parts (except one) that we will need in order to create our Person-Counter device. The last remaining part we need is a 7-Segment LED Display that will show how many people are currently in the desired area (picture below). This piece will be crucial to our project because our device is meant to be free standing, meaning it will not need to be hooked up to an external computer once it has the code loaded onto it. Thus, it will need to have the 7-Segment LED Display to communicate to the user the data that it is gathering.

Picture 4

I became even more excited for our project today after tinkering around with the parts. Being able to physically touch the Arduino, perfboard, wires, etc. allowed me to grasp a much better understanding as to how this device will actually function (the circuitry became much more clear to me). One of my group members, Aubrey, noted that she has worked with Arduinos before and that she would be more than happy to help teach me what she knows about coding and how the devices work. This is extremely exciting to me because my mind is always wondering how electronics work at their core, so I believe this project experience will help me learn what I’ve been longing to know for so many years :).


Thank you!

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. See you next week!


-Scott Provenzano