Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Flex Sensor

The instructions for using the flex sensor in the arduino sparkfun kit is set up to run a servo, but I wanted I was thinking that it could possibly be more useful to my group's lighting project if it somehow interacted with light (duh). I found this code online, the diagram to set up the board was really awful though, so this moment was really exciting to me. Next step: play with the sensor controlling brightness. should be easy, right? yeah. YEAH!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Conductive Fabric

conductive fabrics just sound really exciting. Even when I had no idea what you could do with them. I've been researching them for hours on end now, and I found this super cool (helpful) website that made me decide that I just needed to try something simple... and to my surprise, IT WORKED! may the experimentation continue.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Merry Go Round

Solar water heating with a merry go round? I'm not sure if this is even possible, but I made a model today for my idea. All the moving parts would be on a separate piece that could potentially spin some sort of turbine under ground. The water would be pumped through tubing on a stationary piece that fit under and was protected by the moving piece.

Still thinking about some sort of interface indoors to show how much heated water is available. I thought it would be interesting to use light on conductive fabric for a shower curtain as a visual aid to the amount of hot water.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Extra Porous Clay for Soil Replacement

After talking with John Leyland, who runs the ceramic studio, we decided the best way to make an extra porous clay was to put sawdust in the clay before firing. This will leave tiny pockets when the sawdust burns out in the kiln. All ceramic objects are porous after the first firing, so this is just an add-on, making them extra porous.

Friday, September 30, 2011


NEXT WEEK WE PRESENT IN DETROIT! I'm really excited and nervous and everything else.
My project this week is a Hydroponic garden system. I'm in the clay studio about to make Ex-Clay or expanded clay, which is clay fired at a certain temperature
1,200 °C (2,190 °F) to make it expand like popcorn, but not shrink back. This leaves the clay in a porous state, and it is the soil alternative we have chosen for our system. Most plants respond well to hydroponic growing, but you have to add nutrients to the water, which seems like a low cost venture, and definitely easier to deal with for indoor growing than soil.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Week 3

This week, my group had a lot of differences, I often felt like we were spinning our wheels. But in retrospect we were quite productive.
We designed a water heating system that was self protecting from theft by turning over at night. It was actually a pretty cool design. When turned over in the "night" position, the reflective material that is used to focus light on the water tube to heat it, reflects lights from LED's back into the room.
The idea of using the reflective material at night was my input into the team, although we did not have enough time to really develop the idea in a usable way on our model, I think there is a lot of potential for the way light moves through water. The only problem being, that the tube needs to be black in the day time in order to best heat the water, but the light would pass through the water best and create the most desirable effect if the tube were clear. Maybe we should have considered some sort of material like transition lenses in some glasses. However I'm not sure that would provide the insulation qualities we required.

Branden showed me how to use the laser cutter when we were building our model, even though we had a demo, I was still unclear. I really appreciated that.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


So, we switched groups. My words to work with are now Wind, Daily, and Inflation. The previous group that worked with these words made a very cohesive shade/ventilation wall-window.
The assignment for the week was to
1. make better models (they gave us acrylic and we had a laser cutting demo) and
2. make it light up (we also got motors, LEDs and potentiometers).
We decided to revamp the purpose of what the original group came up with, instead of ventilation we brought the unit inside for air filtration. The inspiration for a lot of our decisions/concepts came from jellyfish. Jellies cycle the ocean water through a simple motion, and lets face it, they just look cool. Some deep water Jellies are also bioluminescent, which fits in with our need for light. We kept the bellows and hexagon, from the original group design, and I got to play with fabric. This is my personal process for the fabric portion.
first I had to figure out the appropriate angles so I would have the correct size hexagon after sewing the darts.

After all the darts were sewn, I stitched the fabric to the acrylic using pre-cut holes. I was really glad that I have tiny hands at this point...

so there we have it. I can't wait to see it with LEDs!