Hello everyone, and welcome back to another weekly design challenge summary. It’s the ninth week of the PiCasso Design Challenge and the first week of the Experimenting with Polymer Capacitors Design Challenge. Lots of progress has been made over the past week, but before we get to the good stuff, let’s take a few moments to learn more about these challenges, their challengers, and what hardware is being featured. 



PiCasso Design Challenge


About The Challenge


Featured as the first Design Challenge of 2019, this challenge task its twenty participants with creating their artistic masterpiece using a Raspberry Pi Model 3B+. Challengers can either push their boundaries by using the computing power of Pi as the brains of their artistic work or to improve the aesthetics of their surroundings.


While twenty project proposals were chosen to be the official projects of the challenge, entering the challenge is not limited to just those twenty community members. Anyone can join the Challenge as a non-sponsored Challenger, and still be eligible win one of the three prizes. If you are a non-sponsored challenger all you need to do is integrate the components from the official challenger kit into your design, and post 10-weekly blogs detailing your project’s build.



The Official Kit


The PiCasso Design Challenge is sponsored by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. 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 to purchase them for your project.

The Prizes

      • Grand Prize: DJI Mavic 2 Pro Videography Drone
      • Runner Up Prize: Nikon D3500 DSLR & Lens Kit
      • Finisher Prize: Raspberry Pi Arcade Kit. To be eligible, a challenger has to complete their project, use products from the challenger kit, and post at least 10 updates in the Sixth Sense Design Challenge space.


To learn more about the prizes, head over to the PiCasso Design Challenge Prize Page.



The Past Week In Review


Over the past several days, May 5th - May 11th, we have had a total of nine updates posted across seven projects. I will be highlighting three of my favorite updates from this past week, but before I get to that, let's take a look at which projects were updated. 




This Week’s Top Updates


Project: PiCassoTizer - PiCasso Design Challenge Blog  #6 - Pi Expanse



The sixth update to project PiCassoTizer is the focus of our first featured update this week. With the theme of this Design Challenge in mind, Douglas Wong has been using a Raspberry Pi to create some unique abstract art while waiting on some hardware to arrive, and it's pretty cool. “The PiCasso design challenge is all about applications of Raspberry Pi technology in art so I want to include Pi enabled art in the blogs where possible,” he wrote. “The slider input device I made to simulate a touch screen input is an interesting device in its own right and I made some abstract art (pictured above) with the slider mouse that it is uniquely qualified to facilitate.”



Despite running into a few significant issues, Douglas was able to do some math the hard way, and somewhat work around some of the issues he was experiencing. “This particular artwork capability was only briefly available, making it even more unique because the software in the slider mouse had to be upgraded to handle the camera coordinate system. I don't have any CAD software that can handle trigonometry but I thought I understood the geometry and trigonometry well enough to just whip up a program to translate camera data into mouse coordinates .... unh-unh ... no cigar.,” he continued. “I was thinking of angles in degrees and measurements in inches, but the computer was using radians and pixels. The software eventually did something cute, but not what was needed.”  To see the results of his experiments, head over to the link above.



Project: Hologram Pi-ramid - PiCasso Design Challenge Blog #5 - My name is Automan



I’ve been covering the Design Challenges here at Element14 for almost half a decade now, and I can honestly say that only a few project updates have ever excited me as much as the fifth update to project Hologram Pi-ramid. Every sci-fi geek in the world has dreamed of having their own personal hologram machine, and that is what Luis Ortiz achieved in this update. “ I'm very excited now to show to my fellow readers my firsts tests of a Hologram like projection based on the Pepper's Ghost principle; it was very difficult to find proper animations of objects from different angles to show what can be done with this kind of project so I had to come with my own approach -without expending too much time in this test,” he wrote. Its truly amazing how such a profound effect can be so easily created with just a small SBC and an inexpensive display along with some cheap acrylic to act as a projection screen. Head over to the link above to read the full update, and to watch a demonstration video of the Pi-ramid in action.



Project: Immortal Bloom 3.0  - PiCasso Design Challenge Blog  #2 - Leeds Raspberry Jam Event



Our last featured update this week is more about the community than a single project, but since Matthew Gilmour did such a fine job of highlighting it, we are featuring his update from this week. One of the things that I feel makes the Maker community so great as a whole is everyone's willingness to help with problems and to share information freely. We can look within our own community here at Element14 to see this in action every day, and if we look out into the world we see the same thing in the larger community with dozens of makers showing up for Raspberry Jam sessions at tech hubs around the world. Getting back on topic, Matthew attended the Leeds Raspberry Jam even and was successfully able to seek out help from some attendees of the event, and learned a few things about image recognition using Open CV, as well as getting to experiment with fiber optics, but the help did not stop there. Frank Milburn, (another PiCasso Design Challenge Challenger) also reached out to offer Matthew some help in overcoming some issues he’s having. Head over to the full post by clicking the link above to read the full update.



Experimenting with Polymer Capacitors Design Challenge


About The Challenge


The Experimenting with Polymer Capacitors Design Challenge is a new type of challenge for 2019, this challenge is a hands-on competition that everyone in the community can participate in. Instead of requiring a participant to produce a full prototype, project, or original circuit design, we decided that we'd give our members the opportunity in this competition to experiment, test, breadboard, or just play around with Polymer Capacitors, and then tell us about their experiments, and what they learned about Polymers Capacitors in some blog postings.


While only nine sponsored challengers were chosen to receive a free polymer capacitor kit, entering the challenge is not limited to just those nine community members. Anyone can join the competition by including at least one of the kit's polymer capacitors in his/her experiments



The Official Kit


Nine Challengers received a discrete component kit that included several different types of capacitors that can be used to experiment with. As the list is quite long, I am not going to post it here. If you are interested in purchasing the kit for yourself, please visit this link.



The Prizes



To learn more about the prizes, head over to the this page. (https://www.element14.com/community/docs/DOC-92091/l/experimenting-with-polymer-capacitors-about-the-competition)



The Past Week In Review


Over the past several days, May 3rd - May 11th, we have had a total of three updates posted across three projects. This week I will feature two of my favorite updates from this time period, but before I get to that, let's take a look at which projects were updated. 




This Week’s Top Updates


14RHB  - Experimenting with Polymer Capacitors Blog  #1 - How Low Can You Go?



It's never a bad sign with a project update includes ferric chloride because that usually means that a challenger is either etching their own PCB, or they are etching graphics on a control panel for their project. This week's first update is from design challenge veterin, 14RHB, and as you might have guessed, he's etching a custom PCB. The custom PCB is for the super low-profile power supply that 14RHB will be using with some SMT polymer capacitors. “My application for theExperimenting with Polymer Capacitors competition was to build a Power Supply Unit (PSU), and my theme was to see how low in profile the new generation of polymer capacitors would allow, hence the project title. Along the way my aims are to have some fun in circuit design, manufacture and testing whilst also learning about this new technology and testing of capacitors,” he wrote. “I plan on making my own PCB at home for this project using photosensitive PCB and Ferric Chloride etchant. I will endeavour to detail each step along the way as I find this such a magical process.Once I have obtained all the parts I will set about drilling the PCB and adding the SMT components by hand soldering. I wish to explore the Equivalent Series Resistance (ESR) of the capacitors both prior to and after soldering using the ESR70 meter supplied by Element14.” Read the full post at the link above. 



Frank Milburn  - Experimenting with Polymer Capacitors Blog  #1 - Introduction, Deepo Dive Into ESR.



If you have ever wanted a crash course in Equivalent Series Resistance (ESR) to learn how to measure it, then compensate for it, Frank Milburn’s first update to his experiments with polymer capacitors is a must-read, and just like its name suggests, it is truly a deep dive. “Polymer capacitors offer low Equivalent Series Resistance (ESR) and high capacitance in small packages.  Experiments have been carried out which measure ESR and capacitance over a range of values.  A method for measuring ESR using an oscilloscope is presented in addition to use of the Peak ESR70 meter provided in the kit.  Finally, a Panasonic polymer capacitor from the element14 kit is used to reduce ripple from a buck converter,” he wrote. “In this first post the experiment will be described and the theory behind it explained.  In the next two posts the actual experiments, results and findings will be presented.” There is so much information in this post that you will have to read it for yourself, so head over to the link above, and get ready to learn!



Douglas Wong  - Experimenting with Polymer Capacitors  #1 - Polymer Cap Charge Pump



Everyone knows I absolutely love a Design Challenge update where Douglas Wong explains complex things, and the first update in his experiments with polymer capacitors definitely checked off that box for me. In this update Douglas educates us on polymer capacitor charge pumps, and how poly capacitors offer better performance versus MLCC capacitors. “This design challenge is about polymer capacitors - highlighting their features and applications. It is quite different to be focusing on a passive component in a design challenge, but it is a good exercise to become more familiar with polymer capacitor performance,” he wrote. ”This project will focus on a charge pump application and compare the performance of polymer capacitors with MLCC capacitors.” The post is very thorough and includes several videos detailing his experiments, and I highly suggest watching each of them. Click on the link above to be taken to the full post.



That is going to wrap up this weeks coverage of the Picasso Design Challenge and the Experimenting with Polymer Capacitors Design Challenge. If you have not yet done so, please take a moment and check out all of this week's updates, and show our challengers some love in the comments section of each update post. Check back next week for another weekly design challenge summary.