Sunday, November 22, 2009

Concrete Theory Has Found a New Home

My post line titled Concrete Theory has moved on to Here. I feel that it will evolve far beyond this course, and leaving it constricted to a course blog is just wrong. Also, I like the WordPress format. I haven't taken a whole lot of time to customize it, but perhaps Thanksgiving Break will allow me to start.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Methodical Madness is On Track

So, our final project is humming along at this point. We had a productive session on Friday, and plan to have quite a bit done by the time break hits Wednesday night. We constructed and tested three modules with LDR light detection behind them to determine variance of values. We also built some simple code that can get the job done, which will get more complex as time goes on.

Unfortunately, I'm not really able to directly contribute to much this week. I'm flying out tomorrow evening for an interview, and won't be back until Monday evening. This leaves Tuesday as my only available day. As such, I have moved back to coding from working with our build team, since I don't have to be as present and can get more done in less time. I just don't have the hands-on skills with the mediums we are working with in order to contribute significantly. It happens.

It appears everyone's blogging has fallen off at this point. I really don't feel so bad that I haven't done as much on my blog in recent weeks, after looking around at other peoples' blogs.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Methodical Madness Makes Progress

Our project still has issues, there is still a lack of excitement, but we have gotten to the point where we have a direction and we are just saying 'go'. It is more important at this point to have a finished product than it is to have a better idea.

Our plan is to produce a wall with multiple apertures that allow light to pass through in varying amounts in order to optimize the amount of light on one side of the wall. In theory, the wall would be external, probably south-facing. For the purposes of the gallery piece, we have to rely on a large lamp to produce the necessary light. The wall will adjust to light fluctuations externally over time, as well as to internal commands to increase and decrease light.

The apertures open and close by an array of servos commanded at their core by an Arduino Mega. The servos will require significantly more power than can be provided by one Mega, so there will be an external power source as well. It would be possible to power the entire thing with an array of solar panels in an outdoor environment, but in the gallery we will have to use grid-based power. Light detection will be handled by a color detector and an array of LDRs.

Overall, I feel that the project fits the requirements well for being a heliotropic smart surface.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Methodical Madness Returns

So, I just had a week-long hiatus of pure frustration with this class and school in general. The constant modification of the final project has taken its toll on me, as well as several extracurricular influences, and my motivation for the class that has been there all semester is basically gone. There is hope, however, in the latest iteration of our final project idea.

The current direction we are taking for the final project, which is likely the final direction, is having a variable shading system, which will allow a constant amount of light in from the sun. The design will operate by guessing positions based on intensity readings until it is correct, and then possibly (ideally) recording the proper positions for future use. The algorithm for this is extremely complex, and inspired by the concept of the SMS adaptive learning in the Hot Strip Mill at ArcelorMittal Riverdale, where I interned for the past two summers.

I feel that this plays into my interests well, and will make for a great design project. More detail will be given at some point as things actually start moving along.