Making Furniture Interactive

September 5, 2007

Exercise Two: Respond, Lamp – and invent-a-switch

Filed under: Assignments,Exercise 2: Add a Switch — mdgross @ 10:19 pm

Due Tuesday Sept 11, 11:59PM

Part One: Using the lamp you built in Exercise One, or constructing a new one, make your lamp respond to its environment somehow. You may use a photosensor to measure the amount of ambient light, or a switch that is sensitive to vibration — in short, any sensor that you choose to make the lamp respond. The response need not be direct or obvious (such as “darker, more light”) but it may be fickle, or impish (or not). You might think about having several “states” for the lamp, and have changes in sensor values trigger the transitions from one state to another.

You can find simple photo-resistors at Radio Shack if you need one; we have a few photodiodes we can share and miscellaneous other switchlike supplies. You’ll find tutorials on the Arduino site (here’s one) (and another) and elsewhere on reading analog and digital sensors.

Part Two: Invent (and build) a switch. A switch is a simple (binary) sensor. A switch makes an electrical connection – typically two metal (conducting) parts that connect. The exercise is to build a switch that is triggered by something other than pressing a button. For example, a switch that senses a subtle breeze? A switch that senses when you are hot and sweaty? A switch that senses when you are standing on a spot. Demonstrate your switch – with your lamp if that makes sense, or in any device you wish to build.

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