Arduino project 2 – week 6 – keaney/scotten

This week jemilla and I pulled together all of our componenets for the model and implemented the arduino inputs and outputs into the model. We had gotten our Model to react with sound, and in turn this sound, if loud enough, would cause the door on our model to open using a servo, as well as an LED turning on in our model to illuminate the insides which would otherwise be dark. If the input sound is not loud enough however then the door would open only a small bit then close again. the insides of our model involved a mountain landscape, with a scenic background and snow flying everywhere being driven mainly by a 9V battery as it was far too diffuclt or expensive to incorporate the correct power method into the model. IMG_1437

The model worked very well but due to account restrictions we are unable to upload a video as a demonstration. if we were to make the model again we would investigate a different form for the model and look into powering it properly but otherwise we were very pleased with how it turned out finally as shown below, appropriately named ‘BLIZZARD’



week 5 – arduino project – keaney/scotten

this week jemilla and I have been developing the inside of our model. we have been encountering the problem with our snowballs that when inside the structure, they are sometimes getting caught in sharp corners or falling into areas when the air from the fan cant be reached, or sometimes they get caught in objects within the structure.


to counteract this, we made a curved ramp as our solution, shown below:



the ramp that we devised was curved against the edges of the insides of the cube, this meant that at no point was there a flat surface for the snowballs to rest on and therefore be halted. the only area that was flat that the balls could reach was the other two sides of the fan area as shown in the photo. we had realised that this style of ramp however did not allow us to put any ornaments or anything decorative on the inside of the box and felt we had to come up with a new solution.

week 4 – arduino project – keaney/scotten

this week jemilla and I were adjusting our code to get a knock sensor to work but found that when doing so, the vibrations were hard to keep consistent. this was due to the surfaces that we were working on and how hard we were hitting every time and consequently the knock sensor began to look less feasible.

we persisted however and when we attached it to a surface as opposed to letting it sit loosely on it then we could keep the knocking consistent. the next issue we came across was making the knocks more interesting as we wanted to have the users beat the knock to a rhythm in order to make the arduino work but soon found this to be very hard to control.


this model above was our new iteration that we had been using a knock sensor to activate a fan with.


computing project 2 – week 3 – Keaney/Scotten

This week Jemilla and I had worked on a test model for the project.

As previously mentioned, the model has the outer casing, and inside is the structure, both of which have been placed on a base.

inside the structure we had been testing the mesh that we used in our last project, but the issue we had with the last one is that when the snow flew up, it would land on the edges and get stuck so the fan wouldn’t be able to blow it again. in order to combat this we had decided to build ramps on the edge of the model that would allow the snow to come back down to the fan as shown below.

as shown in the photo above, the snow when blown had collected back in the corner when bouncing off the ramps on the edges of the environment.

next we had to test the piezo. this proved to be rather difficult as the piezo reacts differently depending on what surface you place it on, whether it is hard or soft etc.

we tried using code to test if a knock would work but  this was to no success.

const int ledPin = 13;
const int knockSensor = A0;
const int threshold = 100;

int sensorReading = 0;
int ledState = LOW;

void setup() {
pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT);

void loop() {

sensorReading = analogRead(knockSensor);
if (sensorReading >= threshold) {

ledState = !ledState;

digitalWrite(ledPin, ledState);


we will need to test working with the piezo more as we discussed whether or not to use a secret knock sequence based on the rhythm or based on the pressure of the knock. this means we can either have a specific tune be the key to unlocking the door, or have a series of hard or soft knocks open the door. we came to the conclusion that a tune with the knocks would be more playful for the users.

week 2 – Keaney/Scotten – Secret knock

This week jemilla and I were designing what our model is going to both do and look like. as previously mentio0ned, we are going to stick with the theme of snowfall, but involve a piezo element.

we have decided to make a larger structiure than before, and using the piezo element which will be attached to a door on the model, we will make it so that a secret knock needs to be given in order for the door on the model to open. The door will be opened using a servo, and when this door is opened using the secret knock, a flurry of activity will go off inside out structure, potentially including LED’s lighting the inside of the structure and the fan shall be blowing snow throughout the enclosure.

when designing the structure, in order to save material we were working out how much dowel we would need first.

This is the basic idea of the concept currently whereby the structure is covering up the action within the box, then the door opens to reveal said action when the secret knock is applied.

The structure will consist of three main components, the outer shell to cover everything up and hold the piezo element on the door, followed by the structure within that will hold all the LED’s and allow the snow to safely fly around, and lastly the base to stage the entire project as well as house the arduino elements.

Computing Project 2 – week 1 – Keaney/Scotten

This week Jemilla and I have been investigating how we are going to activate our next project by looking into the sensors available to us. we felt that with our first project being activated by a photo sensor, it wasn’t very playful and we wanted to make the project more interactive.

there were many options available to us and the conclusions we came to were as follows;

RFID – components too expensive

Secret Knock – Fun and applicable with what we want to achieve

Button Sequence – Uninteresting input

Impact Sensor – Tough to keep results consistent

Motion Sensor – Too many people will be walking in the atrium on presentation day so data could be corrupted

Proximity sensor – Lack of interaction therefore not enjoyable enough

Light sensor – already used with first project, not enjoyable enough and could be difficult to control with all the light in the atrium


After much contemplation, we decided that our input was going to be a secret knock. this would be activated by a piezo element, which we each have in our supplied Arduino kits.

Image result for piezo element arduino

A piezoelectric sensor is a device that uses the piezoelectric effect to measure changes in pressure, acceleration, temperature, strain, or force by converting them to an electrical charge. however, jemilla and I will be using it to sense a force when we knock on it and this will determine whether or not our device activates.

Image result for what does a piezo element do

Week 4 – Arduino Project – Keaney & Scotten

This week, Jemilla and I created the environment that we are going to use for our model. it is a cuboid of cardboard with acetate windows and a closed top. The bottom end of the environment will be open partially but covered by a mesh. the reason we are using a mesh is so we can have the particles we place inside the environment be blown around by incoming wind from a fan, yet this will not allow the particles to fall out of the bottom of the environment. this environment will be standing on legs, and underneath it will be a small casing for a motor and fan that will allow it to stand so we can easily slide it under the environment, causing it to blow around the particles when we wish it to do so. when the small polystyrene balls are being blown around they will patter against the walls and top of the environment making soft sounds. The input for our model is going to be a light sensor, and the output will be the movement of the fan on the motor, causing the ‘snow balls’ in our environment to be thrown around whenever a certain degree of light is detected.


Week 3 – Keaney & Scotten

This week our project has taken a change in direction, we have moved away from using moisture as our input and instead we want to use temperature, however we may have to use light as this would be easier to control. Our output is going to consist of a motor blowing particles around a tube. If we can master the code in the next few weeks we will have four tubes that will be independently switched on and off depending on the temperature. However, if this cant be achieved then we will be working on a design for a single system whereby a fan attached to a motor will be blowing air into a closed environment and cause particles we place in said environment to float around, causing a kinetic output mimicking snow in a blizzard, and an aural output will be produced by the ‘snow’ pattering against the walls of the environment we fashion.


Physical Computing Week 2 – Further Research – Jordan Keaney and Jemilla Scotten

After discussing last week the variations of movement we could do with animals in terms of mimicking them using Arduino, Jemilla and I looked further into the actions for cows and their mannerisms in particular, such as the way in which they bend their legs when sitting, and what order they use their legs in when standing.

We had discussed what sensors we would use for the effect we desire. one route we would like to investigate is using a motor and a moisture sensor. This would work by having the motor lift our cow-like object until in a standing position, but only when the moisture sensor is placed out of water. we are contemplating pacing the motor above the cow and having it attached to the cow from above so when the motor reels in the string, this will lift the cow.

Another method we feel might work is by using a servo to cause the legs of this cow to move up and down as we wish by reacting using the moisture sensor.

The pieces we would need for these methods are;


Image result for servo arduino
Servo Component



Image result for motor arduino
Motor Attached to Arduino Uno
Image result for moisture sensor arduino
Moisture Sensor

Physical Computing Week 1: Jordan Keaney & Jemilla Scotten

For our first physical computing lesson, we were set the task to take inspiration from nature and look for a movement or reaction that takes place which we could turn into physical code and mimic using Arduino Uno. Initially we had ommediately thought of the closing movement a venus fly trap makes when a victim falls onto the opening of the plant, and felt as though we could, using pressure sensors, have a device close its ‘jaws’ when enough weight is registered. However after much contemplation we agreed this reaction was not interesting enough and quite obvious.


After further research was carried out, Jemilla and I had discovered that an old belief is that cows will sit down when they can sense rain is coming. This is for multiple reasons including how temperature effects their milk production. Consequently, we decided upon this reaction and felt in order to translate it to code, it would involve a device lowering or crouching, when a certain degree of moisture is sensed.