Archive for November, 2010

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Yesterday (Friday) was a big day, we had planned to have a working prototype this day. So that we could start testing them in real life situations as we had planned in our schedule. if you read the last post from Wednesday, you might know we had big plans on building awesomeness with the finished thermo cups that had dual layers.

In the morning we first needed to find out how conductive our filling materials where. So shampoo didn’t work, as this test turned out positive. We did actually not test the conditioner that we also had bought just because in our minds that has probably the same characteristics. Actually this is false, conditioner doesn’t conduct electricity, which we later tested almost when we where headed home for the day.

Anyway so after the shampoo test had failed, one of us set of continuing molding with hot glue  even though most of us disliked that cup because of it’s ruff surface and simple form. We are humans and I guess we all like to drink out of a cup that looks good and looks clean, this is really important. But still we all agreed on that hot glue had the best characteristics on how it’s lit up. But when each cup take about more than a half day to produce it’s not a viable    solution, we need some material that can be molded and whilst being molded has some really low viscosity so it goes in to all holes and areas of our mold. It should also be easy to remove from the template, or the template should easily be broken off and reproduced.

In another part of our group we discussed what other materials you can fill the thermo cups (with dual layers). We came up with several ones mostly toxic ones though. But we also came up with the perfect candidate coconut butter because of it’s see through characteristics. But we also discussed that we could use glitter inside a fully see through oil of some kind. So whilst headed out to buy some great material we kind of got cold feet’s on buying toxic materials. Each user is going to drink from the cup and if anything leaks that would be a shame and dangerous situation. So after buying syrup and coconut oil which is both edible and has great qualities for this task we tried them out.

Syrup with glitter was quite a drag, it didn’t shine up any large area at all. Most light escaped directly out of our thermo cups from one spot. We need it to spread out on a surface as big as possible. And with coconut butter we had kind of the same problem but also it cracked when solidified. We also mixed syrup and coconut butter and glitter, that was the worst solution. Syrup and the butter didn’t mix, it was just a lot of droplets with butter and syrup. Looked awful.

And when the day was almost over we discovered that conditioner had perfect qualities. Even though it’s not edible it’s at least fire proof unlike other materials we had discussed. It also shined up pretty good.

Another problem discovered during the day, the thermo cups had a little too small space in between each layer. This might be the killer for this cup because the LED’s need a thick space in a single material to keep each ray inside the cup shell.

Conclusion is that our goal of having a working prototype today was toast, but we are working on it, and really hard also. The wifi network not mentioned at all in this post was completed and during the day tested with up to four units (simulated cups). So at least we had success doing something that day. // TB

That’s all for today/


More experiments

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Syrup + coconut fat and conditioner

Edible Alternatives

We’re experimenting with different materials, trying to find something that is non-toxic, will transport light but is not totally translucent. We’ve tried syrup and coconut butter this afternoon.

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Wireless Communication

Today we finalized the software for wireless communication between 2 cups. They’re using the same name and same channel for broadcasting. Which means they have the same code except a variable to define the cupID. Basically cups are working as a “repeater”. They send whatever they know and when they receive something new knowledge base is updated. We tested it with different speeds and it works perfectly without any kind of collusion.

With the current software (current data format) we can use 5 cups, 10 colors and 10 cup holding styles. Of course we can modify it easily to satisfy different needs.

Before testing it with the cups, we need to determine the details of the algorithm which will identify different cup holding styles.


Images on the first designs and tries with touch sensors…

Mockups part two | We build glowing stuff!

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Our mockups are starting to look more and more like a finished prototype. But today we didn’t really miss out on troubles.

First of we all met and tried to divide the work as usual, and set of in the normal tasks:

Wireless – network (code implementation)
Touch – sensors (hardware circuits)
Cup design (melting and prototyping)

Each task had their different problems or difficulties.

Wireless had problems with timer interrupt and wifi-receiver interrupts at the same time, but after a while got it solved. Still more to do in this task, have to combine all of the code and have them share all their knowledge as a table in each transmission.

Touch had difficulties with the NOT gates, they didn’t give enough hight on the wave-forms produced. And after a suggestion from Farshid we used a IC 4093 (NAND gate chip) which have the functionality of waiting until each NAND gate is fully decharged, which gives a much better wave form to each sensor circuit. After further soldering, we implemented this also in todays prototype cup, and got it working perfectly. Also a piece of code was produced that adjusts to the normal value of each sensor circuit. Due to that every piece of metal or wire adds to the response of that touch sensor; therefor we cant use predetermined values to adjust to.

On the area of cup design, we first headed to town and bough a melting template to use to get a better sized shape on our cup. Whilst producing the inner layer out of paper and overhead plastic we also soldered the circuit for eight RGB LED’s and some sensors that we glued to the inner sides of the template (made out of overhead plastic, put inside the glass template). This went perfectly but with the melting we had problems with coloration of the hot glue, maybe due to a overheated heating process. We had also problem getting the glue inside the template perfectly, which none of us really didn’t like. Even though the prototype looked great with turned on RGB LED’s, no one would ever dare to drink out of that cup.

After all those problems our minds where not really set to continue with this project. But two of us went down to the town anyway to get a better inner template. But at the store we found these thermoses, which had dual layers that would be great for our project. That is what we will be working with on Friday (I’m just guessing).

Thank’s for today anyway, we can call it educational even though everything! // TB

Lighting mockups

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In our way to reach awesomeness with this project we all had different ideas on how to light up the cup, but no one of us in the group knew which way would look the best. So we divided us up and made a couple of different mockups, which would provide some background to a decision on which method to go for. As you might have noticed  our big melt showed the best result, lighting up more than half the way down the cup. Now we just need LEDs in the bottom of the cup, which will make all of the cup light up.

Another team in our group set of trying out the touch sensors even more. Which resulted in the design decision to only have a small number of spots where it would sense touch, instead of exactly positioning each finger on the cup and comparing them. This new approach is better for our small processing unit and also simplifies the problem.

Another test we did was to melt in the sensors inside Lighting Prototype #3 which gave good results. Whilst doing all this we also got some new ideas on how to sense touch without stalling the processing unit from doing anything else. That’s whats planned for Wednesdays work.

Hope you like the pictures // TB

In the dark, best result of our prototypes

Second day: Mockups

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Today we set off in two teams, first after discussing a long time about how to communicate between the cups in the hole group, but soon enough we settled with a simple solution that every device will share all knowledge they know about the network. And with that notion, we think each cup will fast enough find it’s other soul-mate in the network.

The two teams had different tasks. Team one had to make a prototype for the cups, and in some way try out how they would light up. This was done excellent by Michael, Josef and Sebastian (see pictures for examples of this).

Me and Naci, our task was to actually do the communication between the cups with the devices shown in the latest pictures. We came half way, getting a hold of how to broadcast with the devices and to do timer interrupts to send frequently out in the ether, and change timing of the timer if a collision took place.

After lunch some of us had to leave for other classes. And we ho stayed did some mockups of how the touch sensors would work, with some success we had it working with most of the sensors. But their where some not beautiful work done in the beginning so we had trouble getting all the sensors to sense touch at different times. There is also a picture of this mockup.

And thanks for reading, keep following where a not done yet! // TB

First day of project work


Today we started of by separating each task of this project. We had just a couple of hours to work on this afternoon but still I think we came pretty far. Some of us started to hook up three Arduinos and testing them out, our idea with that was to get a hold of how the communication between them would work in this decentralized ad hoc network via WIFI. We ended up in our long discussions with the solution of having each device knowing all about everyone they can hear, and then spread their knowledge to everyone else who can hear them. In this fashion all of the devices know about everything in the network and can even communicate with devices actually being physically outside of their antennas range. Still all problems are not solved with this, we still need to test out an implementation of this as it is still just on the drawing board (see pictures).

The other part of our group started work on a cup-design and search for good solutions for a first mockup of our touch interface. The touch interface will be placed on the outside of the cups and will serve as our matching algorithm.

If you’re more interested in our project, please check our other posts or read more about it on the About page. Or why not start following this blog, we promise to keep it up to date until all in to the end.

// TB

First post and report is all done

Report was done hours ago but little late with website!
Have never setup a WordPress site before, quite amazed on the speed of launch.

Here we go!

We’re planning to build a product that encourages people making new contacts in public spaces (i.e. a cafeteria).  This will be achieved with a couple of cups glowing in the same color when two or more persons hold these cups in an similar fashion. Think of it like the phenomena when two people converse and both starts holding the same posture to show their satisfaction of the bonding going on.

If we have the time, we’re planning to manufacture our own PCB’s and 3D printed plastic cups. Hopefully they will also glow in an awesome fashion with a couple of RGB LEDs.

Don’t miss following our project as its coming along and also visit us at the exhibition taking place at Chalmers / IT-University in Göteborg a month away.

Here’s an inspirational picture I just made, hope you like it because its LOTS OF COLORS!

// TB