Week 5 Homework

This week I had a chance to play with a potentiometer and motor for the rest of Lesson 3.  Here is my final product below!

It took a moment to get this one going but finally figured out that the transistor was oriented upside down. Once I switched that around I was able to get the motor running.  I also realized that before I put the purple tape on the motor, I actually could barely tell that the motor was running when it was running (haha).

Next, I was excited to get a neopixel strip to work using the Arduino for Lesson 4.

I’d love to get to know how to code for the neopixels better because I will want to embed them in my upcoming halloween project.  I’m still a little confused but today’s class clarified my understanding quite a bit.

Plush Jack Night Light

This week I built the a fabric “jack,” a piece of the ancient game, Jacks.


Jacks are usually played with a bouncing ball, so I placed an LED into Catherine’s light diffusing sphere and styled it with the plushie for the photograph

Since this toy is about 13″ across, you may not necessarily play jacks with it.  Instead, it may serve as a piece of home decor, evoking some nostalgia among those old enough to have played games like this.  The silk faille fabric, a textile commonly used in eveningwear, creates a luxurious look and hand-feel that makes this item worthy of display when the LEDs are not turned on.

The spokes on this plushie are five different colors – white, blue, red, green, and yellow.  Because this object is inspired by an object that is meant to be tossed, I’ve included this element in one of its intended uses.  When the user is feeling indecisive between multiple options, they can toss this toy and base their decision on the color it lands on.  This adds a playfully interactive element to an otherwise grown-up plushie.


Drafting the paper pattern was a daunting task because I knew that the curves at the intersections between cylinder would require sophisticated math to determine.  I researched how to do this using trigonometry and considered doing this by hand for a split second, but quickly turned to my classmates with industrial design backgrounds for tips on doing this digitally.   As I was speaking to a classmate, the amazing Oya from VFL happened to be nearby and informed me of a piece of software (Pepakura) that would turn a 3D model into a paper layout.  Even though I had no experience making a 3D model, she let me know that I could use TinkerCad to easily create the file myself.   I was pleased to find out that it was a piece of cake!

IMG_2182Making my first 3D sketch on TinkerCad!

When I imported this file to Pepakura, I had a bit of difficulty because there were some duplicated vertices and other errors that caused the paper pattern to be split at many unnecessary points.  After some troubleshooting, I went analog and taped the printed pieces together to finalize the paper pattern.

Paper pattern for each spoke.  Each spoke is identical, so I cut each pattern 6 times from the fabric

Sewing this was tricky!  Sewing circles and cylinders are especially tricky because the entire seam is on the bias.  It required a lot of pinning, checking, and undoing seams to get this right.  Applying a preliminary stay stitch on each piece before joining the seams prevented stretching from the bias edge to cause problems.

Making sure the circular face of the cylinder attaches evenly

After hours of painstaking sewing and ironing, I was ready to build the internals.


My circuit includes 6 10mm diffused LEDs of assorted colors, 100 Ohm resistors for each LED, and a 4.5V battery pack.  The LEDs are connected in parallel, with each LED at the end of each spoke.

Circuit Diagram

The LEDs created hotspots without diffusers, so I inserted them in ping pong balls and threaded the LEDs and wires for each spoke in a milky white polyethylene tubing to add rigidity.

Almost all of the ping pong balls have been glued to the circuit

I also inserted a wooden dowel in each pair of spokes for added rigidity.


After inserting the fiberfill, I tested the circuit for the 1345th time before soldering the battery pack and closing up the hole.

Double checking the circuit before soldering the battery pack to the circuit

IMG_4628Finally closing up the plushie!

I had so much fun with this project!  Although I had given myself a difficult pattern challenge, it felt great to discover resources like Pepakura and the 3D model function on Tinkercad.  I look forward to creating more complex circuits next time.

Week 3 – Arduino Exercises

This week, we explored further with the Arduino.   The videos for the exercises are below:

      1. Digital Input

  1. 2. The Serial Monitor
  2.  For the final exercise, I decided to create a circuit and code that enables two buttons to control one LED, on and off.  Here’s the video:

I was really pleased to get this to work, as it was the first time in a while that I’ve had to figure out any code.  The code is below:

 const int buttonPinOn = 2;   
const int buttonPinOff = 4;
const int ledPin =  13;      

int buttonState1 = 0;      
int buttonState2=0;

void setup() {
  pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(buttonPinOn, INPUT_PULLUP);
  pinMode(buttonPinOff, INPUT_PULLUP);

void loop() {
  buttonState1 = digitalRead(buttonPinOn);
  buttonState2 = digitalRead(buttonPinOff);
  if (buttonState1 == LOW) {
    digitalWrite(ledPin, LOW);
  } else 
  if (buttonState2==LOW) 
    digitalWrite(ledPin, HIGH);


Cordless Phone Tear Down

I would like to present the tear-down of a Panasonic digital cordless phone with a base unit and handset

The initial breakdown only required popping off the handset battery cover (a) and using a Philips screwdriver to take out screws from the back covers

The front and back covers of both devices required just a flathead screwdriver to separate.
Initial view of the internals

Starting with the base unit, I first detached the motherboard using wire cutters, although one could use a desoldering wire as well.

The motherboard:


9Directly below the motherboard was a button board that contains button contacts over which the button pads sit.  I removed the screws to free the button board and charging dock.

14There are three additional parts that were initially attached to the motherboard:

  1. RJ11 Phone socket
  2. DC Power Jack
  3. Speaker

Next up, the handset!


I used wire cutters to free the motherboard from the back speaker, which was held down by a plastic part that twists off.

I then removed the screws attaching the motherboard to the front cover and took the battery contacts and charging contacts off.

Here are some of the parts I identified right away:

  1. Motherboard
  2. Button pad
  3. Battery contacts
  4. Charging contacts
  5. YD2052-72 Loudspeaker


From the front of the motherboard:

  1. Speaker
  2. Monochrome LCD Display Module
  3. Electret Microphone


Some additional parts from the base unit:

  1. Top cover
  2. Back cover
  3. Charging port
  4. Button pad frame
  5. Button pad
  6. Button pad
  7. “Play” Button pad

My Findings

In the process of completing this tear-down, I noted that the handset back speaker and base unit speakers were attached using a plastic piece that twists off easily.  I am interested in learning why these particular components were not secured using screws as the other parts were.  I also found it rather difficult to identify the smaller components on the circuit part without a deeper understanding of electronics, so I’m eager to gain the knowledge to improve on this later on.

Hi, I’m Yuko


Hi, my name is Yuko Kanai.  I’m originally from Palo Alto, CA but have been living in Brooklyn for 5 years now.  My background is in fashion design, psychology, and gender studies.  I worked in womenswear product development for a couple of years prior to Products of Design and am very excited to expand on the scope of my design work.  In my free time, I love to run, try weird food, and going to shows.

You can see some of my recent work on my website and check out my insta @yuko.j.kanai