Hello everyone, and welcome back to another weekly design challenge summary. A new Design Challenge is upon us, and that means that we have some awesome projects to cover. It’s week five of the Design for a Cause Challenge and a lot of progress has already been made, so lets cut to the chase and learn more about the challenge before we get to our first three featured project updates!



Design for a Cause Design Challenge


The Challenge


Featured as the third Design Challenge of 2018, this challenge task its participants with designing a piece of assistive technology for individuals living with physical or mental impairments using the Arduino MKR1000 Dev Board.



While sixteen project proposals were chosen to be the official projects of the challenge, entering the challenge is not limited to just those sixteen community members. Anyone can join the Challenge as a non-sponsored Challenger, and still be eligible to win one of the prize packs. If you are a non-sponsored challenger all you need to do is integrate an Arduino MKR1000 into your project, and then post 10 blogs about your progress in the Design For a Cause Challenge space and then tagging those blogs 'Design for a Cause'.



The Official Kit


As mentioned earlier, the Design for a Cause Challenge is sponsored by Arduino and its Arduino MKR1000 Development Board. Each challenger will receive all of the components below plus a wide assortment of additional passive, and digital components to build their projects with. If you would like to enter the challenge for yourself, or if you just want to follow along at home, you can purchase all of the components in the kit right here at Element14.



To learn more about each of these components as well as the other components included in the kit, visit the official kit announcement page or click the links above.



The Prizes


To reward the creativity and innovation of the challengers in the Design for a Cause Challenge, element14 is offering some cool prizes that both sponsored and non-sponsored finishers can win. To learn more about each prize pack, visit the official Design For a Cause Challenge Prize Page.


      • Grand Prize: $900 USD to the winner’s favorite charity,  FLUKE 279 FC/IFLEX Digital Multimeter, and a  Tinkerkit Braccio Robotic Arm DIY Kit.
      • Runner-Up Prize:$500 USD to the winner’s favorite charity Tenma  72-847472-8474 Oscilloscope and a Microduino Quadcopter w/Joypad
      • Finisher Prize:  It’s a surprise! To be eligible, challengers have to post at least 10 update blogs and use an Arduino MKR1000 in their design.



The Past Week In Review


Over the past 7 days, July 22nd - July 28th, we have had a total of six updates posted across six projects. I’m going to pick a few of my favorite updates from the week and highlight them below, but before we get into that lets take a look at which projects were updated this week!




This Week’s Top Updates


Project: Seeing EyeDuino - Design for a Cause Challenge Blog  #6 - Issues and decisions



One of the common traits amongst all of the past Design Challenge winners is the ability to overcome the little obstacles that will inevitably pop up during their projects development, and one of those little obstacles is exactly what Dale Winhold had to face this week. After getting code up and running in the last update, he quickly realized that the motors he chose for the project are not powerful enough to actually set the chassis in motion. He also was able to get some valuable feedback from some visually impaired strangers he met at the local mall who provided some much needed insight into some of the projects systems.


“I spoke to a couple of seeing impaired with guide dogs (It was random people in the local mall). I explained to them my project and how it works and what it will do,” he wrote. “The one thing they both really liked was the braille finger pad, even though neither one read braille they thought it was quite incredible. After the visit I had with the two extremely helpful and pleasant people, I did a lot of research on seeing impaired.”



Project: Smart Voice Synthesizer - Design for a Cause Challenge Blog  #4  - Visualizer-ARDUINO MKR1000



There were not really a lot of projects that caught my eye this week as most had very short updates with very little information on their project’s progress. Rashanth Kumar G N’s project did catch my attention however with his demonstration of using the MKR1000 to read the analog signal from a stress sensor. It too was a quick update, but he did provide a few demo videos of the strain sensor working with a voltage divider circuit.


“In this below Demo, on detecting the bending of the flex sensor, a LED will glow for the indication.The program just follows the simple if else statements after reading the analog Voltage form the Voltage divider circuit,” he wrote.



Project: The Balance Belt  - Design for a Cause Challenge Blog  #4 - Looking At Audio



Our final featured update this week comes from Kyle Buchanan’s project, The Balance Belt. In the project’s fourth update, Kyle begins working out how he will playback WAV files on the Arduino MKR 1000. To do this he will use the AudioZero Library, making a seemingly difficult task much more manageable. Head over the the link above to find out more about AudioZero, and how the MKR1000 will process the WAV files into a playable audio signal.


“One of the things our device will need to accomplish is reading a wave file (the pre-recorded help message) from the SD card and playing it back so that it can be used by the GSM module, which expects an analog waveform,” he wrote. “While it has historically been difficult to use Arduino boards for audio output, the updated 32-bit processor found on the MKR1000 can be used for this, by using the public domain AudioZero library.”



That is going to wrap up my weekly summary coverage of the Design For a Cause Challenge. Check back each week for a complete summary of the previous weeks updates. If you would like to learn more about that challenge, and to see what progress has already been made, head over to the its official challenge page. I'll be back next week for another installment of my Design Challenge Weekly Summary series here at Element14.