Week 6 Homework

Your homework this week is to finish Lesson 3 in the Arduino Class, and create a blog post featuring a short video of your analog input circuit by Wednesday 10/18 at 8pm.

Your midterm dossiers are due on October 26th, but if you have time this week, I recommend getting it out of the way! You can choose either your teardown project or your plush nightlight project to create your dossier. From the department:

Each Project Dossier must include:
• A completed Project Dossier PDF Form.
• Five process images that fit the photography specs for the department.
• Five final images that fit the photography specs for the department.
• Any other applicable assets such as pdfs, slideshares, etc.
• Proper citation of all sources.
• Delivery: You must send a link to your Dossier via your sva.edu email address—not directly through Dropbox. The email must be addressed to your instructor, with the Director of Operations and the Department Chair on copy by the date specified, and must be located in the appropriate Products of Design Dropbox dossier folder.

Week 5 Homework: Final Plush Nightlights Due

Your plush nightlight projects are due on the blog Wednesday 10/11 by 8pm. Include:

  • Your plush’s final photos in context
  • Your plush’s story (who’s it for/why does it exist/what problem does it solve)
  • Process photos
  • Circuit diagram (most of you finished this last week!)

In class on 10/12, you will present your project from the screen (5-7 minutes each), and should also bring your plush to show the class (and pass around if you are comfortable doing so).

Sewing & Soldering & Week 4 Homework

1. For homework, please practice your soldering skills! Wires, LEDs, switches, circuit boards– try them all! a good resource is the Adafruit Guide To Excellent Soldering.

2. Make a circuit diagram for your plush toy! Phil B’s “Let’s Put LEDs in Things!” guide will come in handy and has additional soldering tips.

3. Acquire materials for your Plush Nightlight project. For your project you’re going to need some LEDs, a switch, and a battery pack (or a battery pack with a switch already on it). Here are some recommended sources:

Order early if you are having anything shipped, so you have time to work and play with your materials!


4. Finish sewing your practice monster from today’s sewing workshop, follow along with the Free Range Monsters guide. Take a photo or two and optionally include them at the end of your homework blog post.

More plush toy sewing resources:

5. Create the first prototype of your Plush Nightlight. The primary objective of this project (and most important evaluation criterion) is an exploration of light diffusion using LEDs and soft materials. All other elements are secondary, including interaction, so feel free to omit your Arduino unless you are 100% satisfied with your light diffusion. Take photos and video of your material experiments, pattern design, and prototype construction, and create a blog post about your prototype (Works in Progress/Proposals category) and be ready to present it at next week’s in progress critique. Blog posts are due 8pm on Wednesday 10/4, and should include photos of your prototype, pattern, and circuit diagram.

Week 3 Homework

For homework this week (due on the blog 8pm Weds 9/27), please:

        • complete the first half of the Input/Output lesson of the Arduino Class:
        • compose a circuit and Arduino sketch of your own, based on examples you’ve completed so far, to solve one of the following:
          • two buttons control one LED (on and off)
          • pressing button changes fading animation speed
          • pressing button changes number of LEDs used in for loop iteration
          • three buttons control RGB LEDs to make a color mixer
        • post these exercises in the “Arduino Homework Exercises” category on the blog (one post with all exercises). Your original composition should print something useful to the serial monitor. Have fun with this one! Include your code in your post by using the html <pre> </pre> tags. Look at this post for an example.
int ledPin = 13; // choose the pin for the LED
int inputPin1 = 3; // button 1
int inputPin2 = 2; // button 2
void setup() {
  pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT); // declare LED as output
  pinMode(inputPin1, INPUT_PULLUP); // make button 1 an input
  pinMode(inputPin2, INPUT_PULLUP); // make button 2 an input
void loop(){
  if (digitalRead(inputPin1) == LOW) {
    digitalWrite(ledPin, LOW); // turn LED OFF
  } else if (digitalRead(inputPin2) == LOW) {
    digitalWrite(ledPin, HIGH); // turn LED ON
  • brainstorm and sketch three ideas for your next project: a plush nightlight! Make a separate post with your sketches and ideas in the “Works in Progress/Proposals” category. Your plush nightlight should:
    • have a story (who is it for? why does it light up like it does?)
    • be made from fabric
    • diffuse LED light in an interesting way (no more than 8-10 LEDs)
    • use of Arduino is completely optional, and if used board will most likely be located outside of toy

Arduino Class & Week 2 Homework

Huge congratulations on your first toe dipped in the ocean of Arduino. Here’s a link to the Arduino Class we’re following, which you’ll need an Instructables account to access. For homework, please:

  • Complete and take short videos of the following Arduino exercises:
  • Upload your short videos (separately or together) to instagram, twitter, vimeo, or youtube, and embed them/it in a blog post here on the class blog, due Wednesday 9/20 8pm (use the Arduino Homework Exercises category). Do not upload your videos directly to the blog media library.
  • Publish your Teardowns, also due Wednesday 9/20 8pm.

Continue reading “Arduino Class & Week 2 Homework”

Project 1: Teardown

Your first assignment is to take apart an electronics object and document it. Some ideas of things and places to find them:

  • talking kids’ toys at the dollar store or Target
  • an old CD player you have around
  • your old cell phone or digital camera
  • pick up something good at the Gowanus e-waste warehouse

Battery powered devices are best, as are ones that play sound, light up, and have buttons. Item’s that aren’t quite complicated enough for this project:

  • hair dryer
  • headphones
  • most kitchen appliances like toasters

Select something that’s easy to get NOW, do not order anything online for this project. Do not select something that is dangerous to take apart, like a CRT monitor/TV.

You will be evaluated based on the following guidelines:

  • Take lots of well-lit photos during the disassembly process
  • Consider taking video as well (optional but encouraged, consider timelapse)
  • Photograph all the parts spread out on a table in some kind of order (consider knolling your parts)
  • Identify the materials used for each component
  • Identify the manufacturing techniques/equipment used to make it
  • Look up part numbers on chips and find out what they do (searching the part number + “datasheet” helps)
  • Make a list of the tools and techniques you used to take it apart
  • Select two design elements that interest you and describe why you think the designer made it that way

Your assignment will be turned in as a blog post here (in the Teardown category) titled something like “Speak and Spell Teardown” where “Speak and Spell” is substituted for the name of your object. Your post is due by 8pm Wednesday 9/20.

For inspiration:

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 1.11.41 PM

Here’s my first teardown from 2006, much simpler than the one’s you’ll turn in but hopefully encouraging anyway!