The day started with an introduction to the Arduino and it’s playground. Arduino is a microcontroller based on the ATmega328. It has 14 digital I/O pins, 6 of them can be used for pulse width modulation, and 6 are analog inputs. The theoretical introduction gave already a hint, that we will have a lot of fun with the Arduino in the next days.
It turned out to be true – we learned how to let a LED blink, what the pulse width modulation is and played around with potentiometer, RGB LEDs, Servomotors and Buttons. Most errors were caused by encoding the wrong pin, using a too high resistor or a loose contact between the components.
After our first experiences with Arduino we were taught how to read a data sheet and how to test our plugged components. Useful tools are the circuit simulator and the circuit lab. Fritzing is useful to document the own work. Now, the real fun could start. We got many sensors to play with – light sensors, a piezo sensor, a temperature sensor (fortunately we could use the hairdryer of a student to test the sensor), a motion sensor and a proximity sensor.
Since it was very hot in the room, we were very happy when we got some actuators to use. First thing builded from some teams was a propeller against the heat. However, we also got other motors to use like e.g. a vibration motor and we played with magnets and a solenoid. The piezo element which can be used as a sensor or an actuator was mostly used to make music with, especially the song “Happy Birthday” were played quite often.
Having the necessary background to start our own project, our advisors introduced us to our theme “Reuse, Reduce, Recycle”. In particular, it means to upcycle old objects and give them a new functionality.