Social Circle

Keeping in touch with all the important people in your social circle can be tough, especially when you are living in a big city, a workaholic, a student, or all of the above. Social Circle offers a way to keep all your loved ones in one place, tracking how often you are in contact with one another and who might need some extra love! Nobody likes to ignore their friends, and now – you’ll never be that person again! This product is perfect for people who do not find phone notifications urgent and would like a visual representation to monitor their relationships.

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Social Circle is an Arduino powered device that connects your text messages to a set of independent LEDs, each representing one person and measuring the frequency with which you talk to one another, indicated by the brightness of each LED. Using some intermediate Arduino code, you can personalize how Social Circle functions, including how many relationships you want to manage, and control how quickly or slowly the LEDs dim.

Here’s how it works…

Head to Instructables to make your own Social Circle

Carly’s Final Project

Hello Everyone!

How many people have ignored a text message, by accident (or on purpose!) in the last week? If you are me, the answer is more than one…

Keeping close to all your people can be tough, especially when you have many important people in your life. Social circle keeps all your loved ones in one place, and tells you when you are slacking on the conversation. Nobody likes to be a the person who ignores their friends, and now, you don’t have to be that person!

Check out my (in progress) tutorial on how to build this magical device that builds thriving relationships!

Carly’s Wifi Arduino and Final Brainstorms

Arduino Exercise

This week, we go wireless with our Huzzah Wifi boards! I had a few hiccups while trying to connect to Internet, but this was due to being on the wrong network. It turned out that one Wifi network was stronger than the other, and once I tried the second option, I was able to connect instantly. So, to my classmates who are trying to connect to the PoD network, use MFA Pod (g/n) versus (a/n).



Final Project Brainstorm

1. “Up & At ‘Em”

Its always a struggle for me to get out of my bed early in the morning, despite the numerous alarms I set for myself. If I don’t need to be somewhere until 10am, I wake up at 9am. If there was a way for me to wake up hours earlier, I could accomplish so much more in my day!

So, I’d like to create a motion/pressure sensor that attaches itself to my bed and connects to my phone’s alarm system. When my initial alarm goes off and I get out of bed to turn it off, the sensor on the bed will prevent me from getting under the covers again. If the sensor detects movement or pressure within 5 minutes of the initial phone alarm, another will sound, and will not stop until the bed is without movement or pressure.

2. Relationship Maintenance

With my busy schedule at school, it’s tough to stay connected to friends and family members in other cities and time zones. I’d like to create a visual representation of my social network, using LED’s to show who I stay in contact with, who I have forgotten about, and who I need to reach out to. Various levels of communication would be differentiated by color or brightness and would need to have a digital name display so that names can come in and out of my social circle.

I plan to gather this data through the use of my text message and call storage on my phone. The product will encourage me to maintain important relationships because the definition of light will spark an emotional response.

3. Memory Builder

There’s nothing worse than trying to scrape the takeaways of your day and not having anything to remember them by, especially 1 or 2 days after the fact. I’d like to create a device that takes photos of my day without interrupting special moments. The photos would be sent to my phone at the end of the day where I would be prompted to caption them. The photo will help contextualize my thoughts and help me remember the significance of the moment.

I have always wanted to keep a journal of my thoughts, but have never been disciplined enough to do so. I hope that this product will make documenting life fun and easy for myself and others!

North Studio Temperature Reader

Hello fellow makers!

Two weeks ago, the CANduit group proposed three concepts for sensing an undesired behavior or environment. Our four group members all belong to the North Classroom at SVA Products of Design, which is notoriously known for being the coldest of studios, and although cannot solve this temperature problem, we are choosing to bring attention to the drastic range of temperatures one experiences in the studio.

To do this, we created a hanging lighting device that emits sound when the room’s temperature exceeds and dips below a particular degree. The device consists of a red and blue light, of which represent “warm” and “cold”. Warm temperatures trigger the red light to shine while Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” plays for 10 seconds. Similarly, cold temperatures trigger the blue light to shine while “Cold Cold Cold” by Cage The Elephant plays for 10 seconds.

To start our process, we explored how our temperature sensor worked when exposed to heat and ice.

An ice cube being applied to the temperature sensor
Our LED and Temperature Sensor set-up

To add sound, we purchased a soundboard (Adafruit Audio FX Mini Sound Board – WAV/OGG Trigger – 2MB Flash) and amplifier (Adafruit Mono 2.5W Class D Audio Amplifier) This particular soundboard does not have any code, and works like a standard USB drive – you can drag and drop your files onto the soundboard.

Soundboard, speaker, and LED setup. The LEDs were quite dim when we tried to light 6, so we decided to use only one red and one blue LED.


In order to hang our device with little mess, we used a tubed-netting fabric to keep our wires together. These wires will be soldered to each of our LEDs and to the speaker. Our Arduino board and other bulky parts will be mounted on a sheet of plexiglass, as to be concealed. LEDs will inhabit a small plastic sphere that will hang from the ceiling.

The hanging cord will run from the LEDs, through the plexiglass mount, and along the wall until it reaches an outlet/power source.

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Currently, we are having a hard time completing our code in the way that we would like our system to work. Adjusting the temperature does trigger our songs to play, but in a loop. We would only like for our song to play only once, not continuously until the temperature is triggered in the opposite direction (hot –> cold).

Because our DigitalWrite statements, the ones that trigger music to play, exist within our loop, once the trigger has started, the music is repeated. Despite telling our code to stop playing after one time, our trouble still lies in figuring out how to stop the music from playing after the audio clip has finished.

Team CANduit

We are CANduit, consisting of Ellen, Carly, Ben, and Wei


Idea #1

A motion sensor that detects when the dishwasher is finished cleaning. The sensor would nudge the next person that walks by the dishwasher to empty the dishes.

We will use a temperature sensor to activate a light, sound, or unlatch the dishwasher.


Idea #2

A scale that reacts to the temperature of hot drinks, like coffee or tea. The hot-cold scale will be measured through icons or emojis.

A temperature sensor will be used measure the degree of warmness.


Idea #3

An herb garden that is automatically watered when the soil is dry.

We will use a humidity sensor to control when and how much water is dispensed.

Carly’s Analog Input, Arduino Lesson 3

This week has been my favorite Arduino exercise for a few reasons:

  1. I didn’t need to ask anyone for help! (Using this post to give myself a digital pat on the back)
  2. Unlike the Arduino code for “Fade”, the Potentiometer gives you more power to control the brightness of the LED by physically rotating the wheel to change the value of the input

The scenario in action:

As the LED is dimmed, the input value is lowered, and as the LED increases brightness, the value input raises in value.


Plushy Uterus


Plushy Uterus acts as both an educational tool and political statement for women of all ages. It serves as a tool for young girls who experience their first menstruation at an earlier age than is assumed in public school systems, and parents are encouraged to use the plush to help diffuse tensions and fears surrounding those first conversations.

Her defiant pose, baring all her muscles, show women they are strong and have reason to be proud of what they are made of. Use Plushy Uterus to show your friends and family you care about women. Show her off on your bookshelf or office desk and invite conversation surrounding women’s health,  politics, or a nightmarish first-period tale!


Plushy Uterus is easy to make and only consists of a few parts. Her figure is made of felt, 6 LED lights and fiber filler. The uterus itself was sewed first, adding the light pink, fallopian tubes second, and finally, white ovaries. Size and shape are completely dependent on the maker — in this form, I chose to experiment with longer fallopian tube shapes, but you may consider using shorter arches to create an overall smaller Plushy. Below, are the shapes that I used. The ovaries are made up of 2 parts, exactly as a baseball is sewn.



To light Plushy Uterus, you must arrange your LEDs in parallel, rather than in a series. Parallel circuits work because the voltage is able to move all about the circuit, whereas in a series, where all the LEDs are connected together with resistors, the voltage supplies the first LED with 100% of the power, while the others are left without any voltage. Below, you will see my set up, where all my LEDs positive ends are connected at one point with the red, power wire of a battery pack. Each LED has a resistor attached at the positive end. Similarly, all the negative ends of each LED are connected together and attached to the black, ground wire of the battery pack

To stuff Pluffy Uterus, I used electrical tape and masking tape to add some rigidity to the LED network. This idea worked for the most part, but I suggest making an LED holder to stabilize the LEDs, especially if you are trying to achieve a specific design with your bulbs.

And, a GIF!




Carly’s Plush Prototype

This week, things got real. In class we learned how to solder and practiced hand-stitching in combination with the sewing machines. These tasks required me to call upon on my 8th grade self to remember how to build a circuit and pace myself on the sewing machine. It took 3 tries to end up with a [proper] prototype, and there are still many adjustments to be made. I have decided to create a uterus plush with the aim that blinking lights will be inserted along the edges of the central component. For this prototype, I explored how light behaves with felt, a rather think material. I will use this knowledge to pick a thinner fabric for my next iteration.

Now, a look at my process…

During my first attempt, I cut out my fabric in the exact shape and size of my imagined final product. When I finished sewing and tried to turn the object inside out (to make my stitches invisible) I simply could not get the fabric to move through my tiny fallopian tubes! I tried to force the fabric, but to no avail. So, I made a larger template.

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This time, I used a thinner material; it was easier to work with, but slippery compared to the original felt material. So, I completely missed contact between the fabric and the sewing needle, resulting in this…



Finally, I combined my new knowledge of material and size to create my most successful version of the prototype. To add light, I took apart a small flashlight. The on/off switch on the flashlight initiated contact between two metal component on a small motherboard, closing the circuit. By putting the stripped down version of the flashlight into my plush toy, I was able to give the sensation that the light reacts to pressure. If you squeeze the object, light is emitted. Below are some process photos.



A breakdown of my flashlight, and harvesting the motherboard and LED…






And it works!

Plush Night Light

I am excited for this week’s plush sewing tutorial, and for the opportunity to execute this craft into a form of my choosing. Three concepts I would like to see in plush form are the following:


  1. Gingko Leaf  – The Gingko tree is perhaps the oldest tree species known to humans. Its longevity and resilience make the Gingko leaf a strong symbol in health, as it is claimed to assist with the management of many cognitive illnesses and women’s health.
  2. [Emphatic] Uterus – As women continue to fight harder than ever for control over their reproductive rights, it seems only fitting that I make a sassy, uterus sketch. In my drawings below, I have a few visions for her, including showing off her muscles and pissed-off demeanor.
  3. Donut – The last of my sketches is the most benign, but could perhaps be the most fun to show off my LED’s. The lights could act as fun sprinkles on a frosted donut!

These three objects and concepts are quite different in their seriousness, playfulness, and shape, which makes them all the more enjoyable to explore. At this point, I believe my direction will likely be dependent on the material I end up using!