Updates from February, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • scottpeterman 11:03 pm on February 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Magic Mirror 

    Magic Mirror can offer validation (if you need to feel good) or motivation (if you need your butt kicked). It can tell if you are close or far away and will offer comments accordingly. Also, it knows if the lights are on or off. If they are on and you are not nearby, it will alert you to turn the lights off! It uses a bitmap image based on the Magic Mirror from Disney’s Snow White, which was created on the PC using Adobe Illustrator and Bitmap Converter and then stored as an array of hex values which are converted using the ST765 LCD library.

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    • makingtoys 3:40 am on February 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      great concept. Great sound effects. If you 1)use a max of two words per screen & 2) make the text “face expressions” this project will transform.

      The text prompts would really be best as voice prompts. [In my view.] An iconic and graphic face with those cool sounds you have now, will make an R2D2 type experience. The user will be communicating with a mirror-bot, that has it’s quirky personality. At once and over time, the user learns to love and understand this cute little entity.

  • lpercifield 10:18 pm on February 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Mirror Buddy 

    Mirror buddy sits on the mirror in your bathroom and provides you with either motivation or appreciation depending on what you would like to hear. He detects how far you are away and make comments appropriately.

    Code HERE

  • lpercifield 10:13 pm on February 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Toy Fair 

    So I found the toy fair to be totally overwhelming. I might have been the cold… There were a lot of really creative ideas and a lot of things that were not so creative.

    Favorite things:


    “Swimming” fish balloons

    Science kit with fuel cell powered car

  • Oylum 10:00 pm on February 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Cigarette Box 

    The idea was to make a cigarette box for a person who wants to quit smoking. It contains the cigars in it so it detects each time you open the box to get a cigarette. Ideally, it would output how many times the box is opened, when it’s last opened (how many minutes passed since), a sad character if you open it too often, a happy character if you open it seldom. And it would play different sounds for different steps. One sound for 5th time, another more harsh one for 10th, harsher for 15 and a dying sound for 20.

    However, the code that I am using to output the the number of counter messes up all other sound codes. It happens so randomly that I couldn’t fix. Also, the smiley faces appear like blinking, I can’t clear the LCD screen after each shape because I need the counter and message to stay there.

    Now how it works: There’s a light sensor inside that detects if the box is opened or not. The LCD screen outputs the number of times the box is opened with a touchy message. It beeps each time you open the box, it beeps like an alert when you hit 5, 10, 15 times. There’s a smiley face in the beginning that welcomes, it turns into a sad face whenever you open the box and it turns into a laugh face when you do not open the box for a while. Right now, it’s 20 sec.

    Soldering the LCD and getting it work

    Outputting my own message on the screen

    Getting the message but not getting the graphic in the same screen


    No! It’s not acceptable!

    Final look with flawed code

    At least I have the text and smiley in the same screen. Even if it’s ghost like sometimes.

    I was going to output a different message and sound each time the box is opened but couldn’t make it happen because the code that I’m using to output the integer into char is messing up the rest of my code 😦

    Here is the code.

  • Yury Gitman 9:41 pm on February 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Student Lectures/Workshops 

    Team 1–> Chapters 1& 2
    Setting-up. Hello World

    Team 2–> Chapter 3
    Building a Better Doorbell

    Team 3–> Chapter 4
    Romantic Light Sensor

    Team 4–> Chapter 5
    Sensor Networking, intermediate

    Team 5–> Chapter 6
    Advanced Networking

    3/14 & 3/17
    Spring Break

    Chapter 7 – Assignment

  • thisisvictorkim 9:26 pm on February 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    “Sal” The Salty Sandwich 

    Salty Sandwich is what you would call a “Debbie Downer”.  Never satisfied and mostly complaining, Salt Sandwich (I named mine Sal), lives in the back of your fridge and acknowledges your visits to your fridge as well as if he hasn’t seen you in a while and if the fridge has been open for too long with indifferent and whiney beeps and boops.  Sal has no “purpose” other than to be that item in the fridge that no one really wants to acknowledge.

    (More …)

  • Thom Hines 8:26 pm on February 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Chauncy Bigglesworth, the Aristocratic Dog Food Dispenser 

    Playing off the idea of Lee’s Nom Nom trash bin, I wanted to make a creature that was similar in functionality, but when it came to character and personality, acted as a foil. Originally, I conceived of a recycling bin that, as opposed to a nom nom, wasn’t single-mindedly focused and primitive in his expressions, but rather was conscientious and thoughtful. It seemed especially appropriate considering the difference in the motives between throwing away something and recycling it.

    But this didn’t really jibe with me personally, and I also had the problem of my recycling setup at home wasn’t really conducive for making a stand-alone character that would convey it’s own individuality in an interesting way. So, this led me to look for other things that could act as a talking bin.

    Fortunately, after a bit of looking around, I realized that my dog’s food is kept in a contraption like Lee’s trash can, and the idea of a talking dog food dispenser amused me greatly. Not only does it do the opposite of a trash bin (it provides instead of consumes), I also really liked that it could potentially talk to my dog, who seemed to be the most interested in the beeps and boops that my arduino can make. Lastly, using an upper-class British character as a model for my creatures words (I was thinking of Stephen Fry), seemed much funnier and silly and ironic on a dog food dispenser than on a recycling bin, which came across as haughty and judgmental.

    Building and coding Chauncy was fairly straight-forward. My LCD screen came together pretty much right away, but unfortunately the anode wire of the LED backlight came out just after I taped the parts into their final position. This made it so that the light no longer came on when a new message was flash, but the plus side is that it probably saved my battery a good deal of juice.

    Here’s what the electronic components looked like:

    Chauncy's insides

    And here’s a sample of the early version working:

    In order to have Chauncy’s head on the outside, but the light sensor in the can, I had to use some wire wrapping wire to extend the photoresistor. With the low light in my kitchen, I had to attach it to the side but near where the ceiling light shined brightest.

    light sensor in a can

    And here’s the finished product!

    Chauncy message 2

    If you would like to see the arduino code, feel free to download it here.

  • Behnaz Babazadeh 8:04 pm on February 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Toy Fair 2011 


    Unfortunately, I was so distracted by all of the goods that I didn’t get to capture a few other cool toys, but I am sure they will make it on to the blog with everyone else’s posts.

    As you can imagine, I was excited to see a led ring 🙂 Although it was not as a great as the one I made last semester, it was still fun to see that the commercial industry is doing it.

    The kuzebot was neat, plush robots that are attached to a cause.

  • Behnaz Babazadeh 7:50 pm on February 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Week 3 Questions 

    Explain (in a nutshell) your code structure, logic, important, parts?

    The darkness loving owl prototype had the code structured in a case/switch structure allowing for us to manipulate the if/else statements to react based on the last situation. Was a little complicating for me to understand but I think we got a successful action.

    What did you do that you feel is new, non-obvious, and useful?

    I don’t think we did anything interestingly new per say, but the code can be useful in the future when working on something that reacts based on the last function or state that it was in.

  • Behnaz Babazadeh 7:43 pm on February 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Darkness Loving Owl 


    A piezo speaking owl that communicates when it is in distress from the brightness in the room. It is a darkness loving prototype that I worked on with Minho

     (More ...)
  • Behnaz Babazadeh 7:42 pm on February 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Piezo Exercise | 6 emotions 

    Produced 6 emotions to portray Hello, Goodbye, Leaving, Sad, Dead and Thank you.
     (More ...)
  • Lee 7:36 pm on February 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply  


    OM NOM is kinda scary and encourages waste. When you feed him he RAWRZ angrily, then he’ll aggressively begs for food, though he appreciates your actions after you feed him. If you don’t feed him for 12 hours he’ll get super P/O’d and let you know it.

    OM-NOM uses a photocell to know when his mouth is open, the LCD screen tells you his emotional state using text and image, and a little speaker lets him emote vocally.

    He has 4 states.
    +Opening Roar – When he first opens his mouth he kind of RAWRZ.
    +Begging – If you leave him open he keeps begging for food / garbage.
    +Happy – Once he’s been fed, he’ll emote happily and make an nom nom nom noise.
    +Hungry – If you don’t feed him for more than 12 hours he’ll repeatedly make an angry noise every 10 minutes until you feed him / throw something away.

    He’s constructed with a cleaned out delivery food container with all the various electronics held in place with duct tape, thumb tacks, and brass hangers. Pretty ghetto, but it works!

    (More …)

    • makingtoys 8:43 pm on February 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Lee, great project. But please post your code in the post in the ‘read more’ section.

    • makingtoys 3:30 am on February 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      this project is awesome. i love this. this is “viral product” material.

    • makingtoys 3:45 am on February 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      great videos, great documentation.

      • Lee 3:27 pm on February 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks I fully intend to try and develop this more. I’d be interested to try and figure out how to actually sell it this summer.

  • Lee 6:31 pm on February 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Toy Fair / Best homework ever 

    Toy Fair was awesome. Obviously witnessed most of the same things as everyone else, but spent the majority of my time on the bottom floor.

    The flying fish were amazing, the simple tail movement buffets the fishes body in the air and makes it look super authentic. I only wish they were smaller, autonomous, and had some flocking code and proximity sensors built in, so you could just release a school of them and let them go. It’d be like living in a fish tank!

    Star Wars big head bobble heads! 0 technology here, but I want all of them!

    Keepon was stupidly cute. I don’t think it’s new I’m pretty sure I heard of it before, but had never witnessed it for myself.

    Bioliods were pretty awesome dancing machines

  • breegeek 5:58 am on February 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    LCD fail 


    I ordered a new one.

    (More …)

  • breegeek 5:50 am on February 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Gone to the Toy Fair 

    I suppose I probably saw the same things everyone else did at toy fair, but since I was wearing an exhibitor badge, I was totally being bounced at many of the top floor booths. The guy at Matel, for example, came just short of evicting me for looking at toys.

    I saw the creepy coma dogs (someone else already posted pictures) and am wondering how far “illusion of life” should go in certain narratives. One guy working for the company said “better than a real pet!” Not sure about that… I can just imagine some kid wondering why the realistic, breathing dog isn’t waking up, becoming increasingly disturbed. Comatose puppies is a strange concept for a toy.

    I of course loved the HEX bugs, but who doesn’t? My bf and I were led through the tour and saw all the cool concepts of desk toys they are making. The tour guide pointed out the intellectual property sign on the wall and mentioned that the company had spent $6million or something just to ward off knock-offs. Interesting stuff. I really wanted one.

    I loved the really smart Ollo robots. I thought they not only did cool stuff, but in a smart way. The girl at the table was really nice and liked talking about the bots and challenged me to figure out the “elephant”, who was simply just being guided around a square by simple pushing and shoving. Really smart, really cool!

  • minho 5:50 am on February 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Fridge Friends 

    Yeah. Andy has Fridge friend. My friend is Freezer friend. Each has neutral, lonely,  happy and jealous states with two light sensors. Each can check the other one’s door, and express jealous to us. They are very jealous and lonely, so they are not going to stop complaining until we use them.

  • minho 5:30 am on February 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Toy Fair 


    They are doing nothing. Like the name, they are just sleeping. We can see they are breathing, there are little changing on their chest or stomach part. I like this simple idea. Without using complicate and any sensor, it embodies baby animals well. I like these quiet pets, also allergy free.



    The pointer(?) emits ultra-violet light, and the panel seems to absorb the light and keep the light short. I want to  know what the material of the panel is.  I want this material as my wall paper. It reminds me of graffitiresearchlab , but it much cheaper($25).



    I saw similar robots’ videos a lot on Youtube. I was wondering how they programmed the whole performance. It might be take forever, but I asked them. The new kind of motor called as Actuator(?) remember the angle then send it to computer, so we can make a pose with hand and save it.

  • andywallace 4:54 am on February 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Fridge Friends! 

    Minho and I worked together to create two jealous siblings that live on your refrigerator. One is the freezer and the other is the fridge. Each one is happy when their door is opened, and will get sad if it has not been opened in a while. And if the other door is opened they will get jealous of their brother.

    Each creature uses two photoresistors to see when the doors are open, and LCD screen to make faces, and a piezo speaker to make sounds.

    Each one has a face and a sound for the following events:
    – Neutral – It makes this face when the door is not open, but it has not been too long.

    • Their Door Opened – Beeps hello and smiles. While the door is open, brief happy soudns play at random intervals.
    • Their door closed – Beeps goodbye and winks.

    – Lonely – If Fridge Friend goes too long without seeing the light in the, it will put on a sad face and cry at random intervals

    • Jealous – If it’s own door has not been opened in a while and the other door is opened, Fridge Friend becomes jealous and will growl and long as the door is open.

    The jealous sound will play over and over lowering each pitch and how long it draws out the last growl until the other door is shut again. At a certain point, the growl stops moving down in pitch (so as not to go bellow what the piezo can produce), but the length will continue to increase.

    The entire thing is mounted on a box that stay outside of the fridge with the photoresistors being mounted inside and sensing the light.

    The crying and other similar sounds happen on a semi-random basis, because no user would want to hear them constantly. In the video, I am using very short amounts of time for everything to trigger, but when actually setting this up, it would take several hours instead of several seconds to become lonely. It could still become jealous very quickly, though, since users don’t generally have their fridge or freezer doors open for very long.




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