Above is a quick concept of our idea: a temperature sensor (below right) sits outside a window and is connected to a step motor (below left) which sits on display indoors. The step motor is powered through mains and is connected to a rapid prototyped mechanism which acts as the output.
The way that the product could be used is that if the temperature outside drops below 5°C, the sensor sends a signal to the step motor telling it to close the mechanism. The opposite happens if the temperature increases to above 5°C, where the motor will open the mechanism.
By using a step motor, we will be able to control how much the mechanism opens and closes. This also opens up opportunities for us to have the mechanism open a certain amount depending on the temperature (e.g. the higher the temperature, the more it opens). However, there is the issue of the step motor being difficult to code for each increment of temperature (see link below).
What we’ve considered using instead is ferrofluid and electromagnets (as seen in the header image). Exploring methods of coding for electromagnets, we’ve realised that we may need more power than Arduino is able to put out – thus we’d need either a large battery or a mains connection to ensure our device is getting enough power (see link below).