See previous post for more information about the Design Build Tech Innovation Class. Reports written by students in the class.

Alex,  Nik and Michael: An LED matrix. 

8X8LEDMatrixThis project started with a 7 by 5 L.E.D Matrix found in the physics room. I then had the urge to get it working, so I started to test connections on the Matrix too see how the wiring was done.

I figured out that the Matrix worked in a row column fashion which made it impossible to make any other letter than I or l. Then I told myself that if I switched rows and individual dots every millisecond, I could then make any letter, picture, shape, etc. I then started looking for the most practical programming chip, an Arduino.

After the large amount of wiring I started programming. My first program consisted of turning on and of lights very quickly, which is simply but requires about 150 line of code. After completing one letter, “N”, everybody realized that this thing was freaking awsome! So everybody started to get involved (mostly Alex).

The main improve of this project was Alex who spent more than five hours editing and perfecting his python program that would, with a GUI, write out the code for the arduino. As Alex was continuing to perfect his code our Physics teacher Mr. Connor brought in an 8 by 8 LED Matrix.

Michael left Alex with his 7 by 5 Matrix and immediately started to work on the 8 by 8 Matrix. This matrix was a little harder to figure out. It took twice as long but we eventually figured it out. It was the same kind of system but the pins were very different. We then noticed that there weren’t enough outputs on the Arduino Decimilia. We then decided to order some Arduino Megas which have around thirty two output ports (we only needed twenty five for the matrix).Once we got our Megas we each attached our Matrices and Michael (based off of Alexe’s program) started to program, in python to write out code for the 8 by 8 Matrix.

It took a little longer but Michael eventually figured it out, but only for the Red LED’s on the Matrix. Once Michael made another program for the green LED’s we ran into some power distribution problems. The Green LED’s were much fainter than the red ones. After some heavy arguing and some explaining Michael finally understood that the Matrix was not automatically shading the LED’s and came up with the bright idea of removing the Green LEDs’ resistors since they draw more power.

Michael then continued on to program the python to also be able to output code for the color Yellow (when both LED’s are on). When this was done the project was shown off work was done, but people became tired of the Awsomeness and decided to move on to cooler things like Plasma Speakers, Tesla Coils and a big Floating Arm (Trebuchet).

Alex M’s project: a personalized music program.

One day, when I was listening to my iPod, I came up with the idea of making a music site on my website to be able to stream my library anywhere I went (that had internet of course). This single project was probably the largest project I have worked on (in terms of time I spent on it). I wrote the code for the entire page from scratch, and its features include dynamic selection list of the artists, albums, and songs, and there is playlist support as well as selection of a random song. I also added the option to download songs, but only for allowed users. Guest users (username “guest” password “guest”) only can stream the songs. I spent more than 50 hours total on this page.