The Fish Keeper - Progress by Kinza Kasher

Between Week 2 and 3 of the project, I have been putting together and experimenting with the different sensors for the FishKeeper. It is so interesting to put together the components of an automation system together, something that is actually sold in retail stores for a hefty price! 

Particularly cool to include is the water level sensor to indicate when the level of water in the fish tank has dropped below the ideal level. 

Another component of the Keeper will be the water temperature sensor. It will be placed right next to the water level check in the tank and keep an eye on the optimal temperature for the fish tank. Here is a test run of the water temperature sensor: 

Final Project Outline - The Fish Keeper by Kinza Kasher

I have been a saltwater aquarist for over four years now. I have a 20-gallon tank and have a 55-gallon. While the maintenance of the 20-gallon tank is manageabe with my extremely busy schedule, the 55-gallon reef tank requires some extra time to keep up with, considering the many levels that need to be kept in check with saltwater fish, live rock and corals. 

For my final project, I would like to come up with an automatic control system which will keep the various levels in check and intervene as needed. Ideally, I would like to have an overview of the levels and other variables which will also be available to me remotely, when I am not at home to keep an eye on the tank. 

Below is a sketch and some outline points of which levels I would like to include in the monitoring system and also included are some nice-to-haves. Since the automatic system would be doing a lot of work for me, I would like to call it "The Fish Keeper". 

Outline of what can be included in The Fish Keeper.

Also included are photos of my fish tanks for fun. 

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Flower Pin Wheel by Kinza Kasher

For my experimentation with different kinds of motors for this week's learning and project, I explored different tutorials with a Toy Motor, Mini Servo and DC motor. All of them had different forms and ways of operating. It was also very fun pairing them up with sensors such as the FSR and the potentiometer (knobs) to see their effect on the running of the motors. 

The toy motor seemed the most interesting to me in it's ability to move very fast and in a continuous rapid motion. I imagined it to be like the machinery behind a wheel or a windmill. I wanted to then adapt a pinwheel to the circuit made with the toy motor to see what happens. 

Initially, the pinwheel I had found at first turned out to be way too big for the motor to handle, therefore it was not being moved at all. I then proceeded to make a flower pinwheel out of lighter construction paper as well as made it thinner, so that the toy motor could hold it firmly. That worked!

The results are below: 

 

Flower Pinwheel

Some of the other tutorials I tried with the mini servo as well as a potentiometer and an FSR:

Force sensitive resistor and servo motor.

Potentiometer and servo motor.

Toy motor

Pink Waves by Kinza Kasher

This week's assignment was definitely challenging for me. I was surprised when I found myself doing good in putting the sensors and the Arduino sketch together, running, verifying and uploading code to it. However, I found myself a little stuck on how to translate and connect the information being taken in by the sensors and creating visually compelling results on screen.

However, after going through multiple readings and tutorials, I decided to take simple code and combine information coming in from a potentiometer into visualizing pink waves on screen. My schematic to put together the potentiometer to the Arduino and breadboard looked like the following: 

Schematic made with Fritzing.

Schematic made with Fritzing.

Following the setup, I downloaded the p5 SerialControl monitor which allowed me to monitor the values coming in as I turned the potentiometer knob. 

p5 SerialControl Monitor

I updated the sketch for p5 to reflect the values being picked up by the potentiometer and in the following the form of a graph, I turned the potentiometer in a way to create pink waves on screen.

Pink Waves

Made With Code X iLuminate by Kinza Kasher

The first time I was inspired by a physical computing project and/or code was when a friend of mine introduced to a website called Made With Code. Made With Code is a really wonderful initiative by Google to promote coding amongst girls. They partnered with Miral Kotb, founder of iLuminate, to mentor the girls at Made With Code, encouraging them to think outside the box and introducing her own company which consists of a highly successful dance troupe that competed on America's Got Talent using coding to program lights on their costumes.
 

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As seen in the videos, the whole sequence that the troupe performs is synced so very well together and the lighting responds to the movement, sounds and timing of the music very well. The sequence is coded and remote controlled at the back end by Miral and her crew of talented coders. My guess is that I know of one way this could be done. Listing out the objectives to make it clear these are RGB LEDs, sound sensor and a micro controller such as an Arduino. Making use of IF statements and conditionals, the costumes can be controlled and lit up all depending on the kind of sequence the music dictates.

It is an intense but great idea and project, one that definitely makes me want to explore code and it's impact on regular objects more.

The Box That Lights Up In the Dark by Kinza Kasher

This week I set out to make a card stock box with flower cut-outs which consists of an LED which lights up when it gets dark and turns off when enough light surrounds it. To make it happen, I started out with making my box which would house my Arduino and breadboard circuit, with a connection to the computer. 

Making the box - measuring and cutting paper.

Making the box - measuring and cutting paper.

Putting the box together.

Putting the box together.

I created the following schematic and started to wire the breadboard to the Arduino. Using a 10K ohm resistor for the photocell and the red LED, I proceeded to code the LED to respond to the amount of light the photocell receives.

Schematic.

Schematic.

Wiring the breadboard and Arduino.

Wiring the breadboard and Arduino.

After connecting to power, compiling the sketch and uploading to the Arduino, the photocell responded to the light being on and off, in turn, causing the LED to turn light on and off as well. The flowers light up prettily as the LED turns on. 

Box when closed and/or with light off. 

Box when closed and/or with light off. 

The heart of the Tin-Man by Kinza Kasher

For my next Physical Computing project, I decided to light up Tin-man’s heart using a potentiometer in the circuit, which allows for the use and manipulation of analog inputs on the Arduino. Starting with connecting the potentiometer to the 5-volt pin, the Analog 0 pin and the ground-pin on the Arduino, I proceeded to solder the negative (cathode) lead of a red LED to a 220 ohm resistor. I also soldered two pieces of speaker wire to both leads to extend the reach of the LED all the way to the Tin-Man’s heart.

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Connecting the LED to the Arduino via pins 13 and Ground, I then prepared to upload Analog Input to the Arduino. Once compiled, the code was uploaded to the Arduino, making the red LED inside the Tin-Man’s heart to light up and blink.

 

Landscape Circuit by Kinza Kasher

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I started out my project by drawing a very preliminary sketch of my landcape. Cutting up pieces of paper for all the elements of the landscape, I determined which LEDs should go to each. I put all the matching colors for each element but the sun got a red LED because I did not have a yellow one. :(  After laying out how many LEDs I needed, it was clear that I needed to do a parallel circuit. Starting by picking out the resistors and soldering them to the negative lead of the LED along with wiring leading to the dual row barrier strips.

Sketch 1

Sketch 1

Sketch 2

Sketch 2

Then, I connected my wiring to the positives of each LED which led through the switch to the battery source. I ran into the problem of not having the right resistors for each LED due to which some of my LEDs either burnt out or have trouble lighting up (such as the blue in the cloud) but the overall process of laying out the parallel circuit and figuring out how to bring everything together was definitely a big learning process for me.

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