Updates from March, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • andywallace 10:46 pm on March 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    The Haunted Fridge 

    I guess I’m just obsessed with refrigerator projects. So it goes. For my visualization, I wanted to make a game that used the data collected to control some element of the gameplay. I settled on creating a top down shoot-em-up game that used the data to spawn enemies.

    For data collection, I wanted to select something that was not continuous (such as the brightness of my room would have been), so that I could use each instance of it happening as another enemy spawn. I settled on using the refrigerator door because I could also check how long the door was open for and get two data points (when it was opened, and for how long) very easily using just the one sensor.

    In my previous fridge project, I had inadvertently encouraged bad energy use habits by more or less rewarding the user for opening up their refrigerator for no reason, so with this one, I wanted there to be something of a punishment for leaving the door open longer than necessary. In my game, the time that the door was left open is used to determine how strong the new enemy is.

    The look of the game resulted from the housing I used for the sensor. Wile cleaning out my parents’ house, I found an old Halloween decoration that I liked quite a bit.

    (More …)

  • Thom Hines 6:50 pm on March 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Light and Tempurature Logging: A Lovely Visualization of Not Much 

    Data Visualization

    The recurring theme of this class seems to be that I spend about 3-4 times as long on a given project as I expect I’ll have to put in. My initial idea for this project was to strap my thermo sensor and a light sensor to my bedroom window to track how the sunlight and temperature correlated. I wanted to learn how to hook up multiple sensors to my XBee and trasmit both pieces of data on a regular interval. It seemed like it wouldn’t be so hard to adapt the code from the book to create this project, but in the end, I couldn’t get any reliable data. It may have been how I set up my XBee in CoolTerm, or just that my Processing code was handling the API data packets from the sensor incorrectly, but as I went along, the more I tried, the further I seemed to get. Not only that, but I was going to be leaving home for a few days, and I needed to hook up my sensor to a stable power supply, so I was going to be plugging it into my computer anyway, so after many many hours of trying, I moved my whole operation to the Arduino.

    Data Logging

    Working with a combination of circuits from the book and a variation that Chris sent me a couple weeks ago, I managed to get my thermometer to return values that were pretty close to the thermometer we have in our house. And with quite a bit of luck, I got my light sensor to return values that came close to the top and bottom of the 10-bit analog range, at the lightest and darkest times of the day. So, before I left for a few days, I set up my sensor and let it go.

    Unfortunately, it seems that my thermo sensor fluctuated between two values the whole time, regardless of the fact that I know there were much larger swings of temperature in the window sill where I installed my sensors. Nevertheless, my setup managed to consistently record data, and you can see what I collected here:

    http://thomhines.com/projects/wireless_sensor/data.php (Click on one of the hour labels to see that hour in more detail)

    The data was stored in a text file on my server, and because HTML is built specifically to organize and display information, I decided to try to make a dynamic visual display using only web technologies. The HTML is built via PHP to load and print out the data. The bar graphs and colorings are all done via CSS and javascript. You can check out all the various pieces of code here:


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