After the first steps of progress (and minor setbacks) on Day 4, we devoted another full day to work on our prototypes. Although the air was still full of optimism and passion for the projects, we all realized that more obstacles lay before us than originally anticipated. The reasons ranged from defective electronic components over high precision mechanics problems to the overheating of electronic boards. Thankfully we managed to overcome all these hurdles with lots of different (and often fancy) solutions: While one group adjusted both the audio frequency detection of their algorithm and their own voice pitches, another group started cutting their own gears out of plexiglass.

But not only the hardware turned out to be difficult — the programs soon developed into something much more sophisticated than usual Arduino Sketches: Additional shields such as a stepper motor shields had to be used and programmed, whereas other groups reached for full-blown Processing programs to combine the computing power of a real laptop with the Arduino’s hardware capabilities. Even methods like interrupt-driven programs were considered as solutions for really tricky programming problems.

As the day came to an end, it became clear that some projects were still facing serious issues. More work was needed to get the prototypes into shape for the presentation on Tuesday and some groups started to doubt that Monday and half of Tuesday would be enough to get to that goal. So Hendrik and Sebastian decided to devote half of their Saturday (and therefore their own free time) to further help those of the groups that needed additional resources. The results did not disappoint: After lots of laser-cutting, hardware tinkering and opera-like sound performances (for fine-tuning the audio frequency detection), all of the projects were much closer to completion than before.

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