Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Arduinos 101 and Workshop 88

I recently joined as a full member of Workshop 88 which is a local maker-space in the Glen Ellyn, Il. As back story, I originally was thinking about what it would take to start my own maker-space. I tweeted my thoughts and a member of Workshop 88 replied back. In summary, that they did that already, were close to me, and had classes in the things I was looking for. I first went to their lock-picking class maybe a month or so ago which was taught by Toool. I really liked the crowd and the knowledge so I joined. I have been wanting to learn about micro-controllers and Arduinos in particular. My goal is to learn how to use the NXShield-D to program Mindstorms robots. Last night, I attended an introductory Arduino class. Having taken some C and C++, the syntax fell right into place. The instructor, who is also a member, did an amazing job of bringing his students up from the most basic blinking LED type programs to using a temperature sensor to decide what color an LED should be. The application of this was a coaster that would have an LED that would change colors depending on how hot the beverage was on the sensor. Red was for too hot, Green for just right, and blue for too cold. To adequately demonstrate the operation, I changed the limits to 75F and above for hot, and 70F and below for cold. The room was sitting at 72F. Since it was between the extremes, the LED was green. When I put my finger on the temperature sensor, it rose beyond the 75 degree limit and changed the LED color to red. When I placed a chilled water bottle on the sensor, the temperature dropped below 70F and turned on the blue LED. During all of this I had a readout that I made which told me the temperature in F,C, and K. You can download the code I made here. Check out the tutorial for the project here.

The whole setup

Sitting at room temperature.
Applying heat from my finger.
Applying a cold water bottle to the temperature sensor.

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