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 three 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 let's take a look at which projects were updated this week!




This Week’s Top Updates


Project: Fingerprint Skeleton Key - Design for a Cause Challenge Blog  #1 - Concept



The first few weeks of a design challenge are always amongst my favorite because we get to see the project ideas start to take shape as their creators begin laying out their plans. My first featured project this week comes from the mind of Design Challenge veteran, Milos Rasic who hopes to help the visually impaired find the correct key for whatever lock they need to open. To do this he plans on building a device that is unlocked via a fingerprint sensor and utilizes NFC to determine which lock is nearby, thus allowing the device to present the correct key to open the lock.


“The mechanism will require some tedious metal work, and getting the fingerprint sensor to work will probably be another part of the project that isn't straightforward. But that will all come in the near future when all of the parts arrive! For now, I will begin by getting to know the Arduino MKR1000 a bit better, and will go on from there,” Milos wrote. “After that, I will probably start with the door recognition system and charging base, while I finalize the mechanism design for the skeleton key.”



Project: Cue System for Anosmia and Smart WheelChair - Design for a Cause Challenge Blog  #3  - The Plan



IOT on Wheels Champion Dixon Selvan is back again with another interesting project that I will be following closely because it hits a little close to home for me. Dixon’s project is centered around building a pair of systems designed to help those with Ansomia, as well as individuals who have to utilize a wheelchair to get around.  For those of you who might not know, Ansomia is a condition in which an individual loses all sense of smell, and usually occurs after head trauma, serious sinus infections, and even some nasal blockages. I suffered from this as a teenager for several months after wrecking an ATV, so I kind of have a sense of how useful this project could be to someone who is suffering from the condition.


“This system will help the people who are suffering from Anosmia. It will be able to give an audio & video cue about the smell identified. Also, based on the smell if an alert is required to be given to the person in the room, it triggers the relay to either turn ON or OFF the control mechanism,” Dixon wrote. “A sketch or flow of how the system will be is given below and it is self-explanatory.”



Project: SeeingEyeduino - Design for a Cause Challenge Blog  #3 - Working Braille Finger Pad



Rounding out my top three this week is Dale Windhold’s project, SeeingEyeduino. In the project’s third installment we follow along as Dale begins working on his first working braille fingerpad prototype using an Arduino Uno, some relays, and several magnetic solenoids. “While making the Braille Pad I learned a lot about reading Braille. The average Braille reading speed is 125 words/ min and speeds have been recorded up to 200 words/min. So to put this into an easier way to understand (For myself anyway) that would be roughly 10 letters per second or my video cut down to 1 second since there were 10 letters,” he wrote. “So my Braille pad has to be sped up a lot to reach the 125 WPM. This won't be the case as Braille has 2 levels, the higher level uses some abbreviations for common words to make reading faster. “



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