Before starting the project, the class had to first understand what Arduino is and what it is capable of. O start of the module Gareth brought in some parts that can be used with Arduino circuit boards. After placing tem o the table we went through each individual parts and discussed the purpose of it, after looking at the technological side we then looked at the software itself this gave us a general idea of Arduinos software interface. Once we looked at these two different fields Gareth then showed us how to apply the knowledge we just obtained and apply it to creating and producing an Arduino machine in this instance we had to create a simple flashing light Arduino board. To create this, we connected the bread board and lights and then connected it to the Arduino circuit board. After selecting the board, we were using within the software we then elected the files tab and selected the blinks function this hen applied to the device we just created.
After seeing the capability of the technology I decided to research projects for beginners this was because I was just starting out within this sector. I wanted to create something that was challenging, but not impossible for my level of intellectual skill within the subject. after researching I found multiple Arduino projects that caught my attention thee consisted of a traffic light controller, temperature controller, laser turret and a robotic arm.
The traffic light seemed very simple, but could be manipulated in various different ways using the code within the Arduino software and could have made an interesting project as it had a vast variety of colour sequences and speeds that could be programmed within it. After researching this device, I believed it was too simple and I would have not gained much knowledge if I created it. The temperature controller also looked interesting, but I had the same feelings towards this device as I did towards the traffic lights control I believed it to be very simple and not prove to be intellectually challenging therefore not providing me with the knowledge I need to take away from this project. The laser turret was one of the most interesting projects out of the devices that I had viewed and t not only seemed more challenging to create but looked like it could also be fun and interesting creating such a device. After looking a multiple videos on the finale piece it turned out not to be that satisfying and the finale construction of the device didn’t seem to fit what I had in mind.
Once I had listed the parts required and looked into the time it takes to create each device I believed that the robotic arm would be a challenging, but interesting machine to create. I researched the device online and found multiple ways of constructing the device but felt that the best route to take is constructing a small sized robotic arms with the analogue sticks as the main controls. Not only did the functionality of this small machine seem interesting, but the look of the device itself was visually appealing.
After I had made my decision I acquired the measurements for each individual part and was ready to 3D print the physical form of my device. This was one of the first problems I had when creating my device, the 3D printer would not be an option for me due to timing so I obtained some pre-made parts that would be the exact same If I had printed them out after I had all my parts I started constructing not only did I quickly discover that the machine I was building was incredibly hard to construct but the tutorial I was following was not at a high standard and ultimately wasted a lot of my time. Upon my realization of the tutorials failure to construct the robotic arm in an appropriate and timely manner I was forced to find another source of content that would direct me to the stage of production that I needed to be in.
Gareth directed me to an amazon page where they provided a link to a step-by-step instruction on how to create a small robotic arm with Arduino. I used the instructions on this page to create the physical form of my device. Once finishing construction, I had to connect my device to the Arduino Uno board, bread board and toggle controls. Due to the amount input to power the device I had to use a bread board I connected most the wires using this and this allowed me to power my device. The wires corresponded to different parts of my robotic arm this consisted of the three main types of wire the brown, red and yellow wire. The Stick one and two both needed to be in correspondent with the arm, the arm is constructed of four different elements the base, shoulder elbow and gripper all with their own three wires. The first analogue stick would move the gripper forwards, backwards, lefts and right while the second analogue stick would move the gripper up, down and would close and open it. All controls would be vital for the overall moment and functionality of my arm.
I downloaded the code that would allow me to control my Arduino device with two small controls. The controls would be able to position the device in multiple positons to allow it to pick up and place objects in its surrounding area. After downloading the code needed for the functionality I realised that the controls where struggling to position of my device where required. After multiple times testing and examining the robotic arm I discovered that the servos had been destroyed while turning the inner cogs and must have had too much resistance against the long arm.
Instead of deconstructing the device and starting again I just replaced the servos with brand new ones this then game the robotic arm some movability. The finale problem that I had to face was the extension of the arm that seemed to be unresponsive and did not allow me to reposition it using the controls connected this meant that I had to disconnect the two servos that where the arm and shoulder of my robotic arm making them redundant this would mean that the user would only be able to rotate the arm and grab using the pinchers, but they would not be able to extend it meaning that it would stay at the same height.
After coming to the conclusion that I would have to keep the height he same I removed one of the analogue sticks as it was ineffectual and would take up space. When emending my device, I felt like I was happy with it and had completed my project.
Multiple things seemed to have malfunctioned or even died completely when creating this machine, but I believe that I have learned from it and that I can take always some experience for future knowledge If I ever need it. When looking back at my time creating this device I do believe if I chose something different it would have been completed in a respectable time and maybe would have been working without fault. If I could redo the project, I would most likely have chosen the laser turret as it would meet expectations and wouldn’t heavily rely heavily on servo’s and balancing weight to maintain an even proportion. This ultimately leads me to think what the project could have been if I to a different project on instead of the robotic arm, but leads me to ask the question of ‘would I still be able to take away the same knowledge and experience as I do now?’
After researching Arduino and working with it for some time I believe that it is a good subject to learn if having the desire to combine physical elements with software ultimately creating devices that can suit the needs of people who built them and even benefit the population when designed for that intention. I found the subject challenging, but I believed I earnt a vast majority of new skills both physically and technologically within software. Working with Arduino has helped me understand how to create small machines with minimal parts and I have even obtained knowledge within using the software.