Planning for the final

Having found the dancing cube project to be surprisingly compelling, I’ve decided to use it as the basis for my final. This will entail a number of feature sets rolledout in series.

1. Reconstruction of the servo assembly. This will involve the replacement of the burned out servo motor, some shifting of the linear gear assembly to increase the range of vertical motion, and potentially a redesign of the cube’s skeletal structure for greater stability.

2. Migrating the mic control code to the servo control board. This may involve a general rewrite of the mic code, we’ll see. The ultimate goal is to get the entire thing running on a single micro-controller and to debug the audio interpretation code to properly configure itself for ambient sound levels.

3. Introducing a better on switch. This actually ends up being rather complicated since I want to do this with a cuprox switch. I anticipate using a solenoid motor to flip a bigger physical switch. This is actually a pretty complex change since it involves playing with cuprox and solenoid as well as completey redesigning the power system (so that it isn’t all regulated by the microcontroller) and working up some shutdown code so that when the cube turns off it reaches its idle state instead of simply dying.

4. Switchable face-plates. Time permitting, I want set things up so that the cube has swappable face plates. Plates have different faces on them, and correspondingly different dance patterns stored on EPROM chips plugged into them. This will involve another re-write of the code to load patterns strictly from EPROM, as well as figuring out how to work with EPROM and integrating some sort of system to detect if a faceplate is plugged in. If it isn’t, the system needs to fail to start or go to idle and shutdown (if the faceplate is pulled while the system is already under power).

5. Potential redesign of the cube base. Again, time permitting, I think I want to take advantage of the increased range of vertical motion to increase the size of the cube’s base, the part that does not move. The orignal deign called for it to be about four times its current height, and while I don’t know if I’d want to go quite that big, I certainly feel like the base should be more pronounced. Additionally, a larger base should permit all of the control and power systems to be built into it in order to keep them hidden from view.

If all goes well, I can accomplish one of these per week. Steps 4 and 5 are optional, allowing me some wiggle room if something goes terribly wrong. Additionally, steps 1 and 2 can be done with parts on hand, meaning I can get to work immediately and allow plenty of time for the parts I need to be ordered.

In theory this will allow me to have a pretty cool little dancing cube by the end of the semester.

Thomas

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One Response to “Planning for the final”

  1. [...] strikes me as somewhat ironic in light of my firm and detailed plans for the final that I’m going to end up doing something completely [...]

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