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Design Challenges

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Welcome to another installment in the Design Challenge Weekly Summary series here at Element14! It’s week four of the Safe and Sound Wearables Design Challenge, and things are starting to heat up. We have a lot to cover this week so let’s just jump straight into it.

 

Safe & Sound Design Challenge

 

Featured as the first design challenge of 2017, the Safe & Sound Wearables challenge tasks its participants to conceive and build a 'safe and sound’ wearable that protects a person from personal and environmental risks, or monitors personal health or protects personal property from theft.

 

 

 

The Official Kit, and The Prizes

 

Texas-Instruments-logo-design.png                        DJI_Innovations_logo.svg.png

 

On February 14th 2017 Element14 announced the list of the official 15 challengers picked to participate in the challenge, and those 15 challengers received a kit of components to use in their design which was sponsored by Texas Instruments. Each kit contains the following items:

 

Participation in this challenge is not limited to the sponsored challengers however. Anyone can enter, and all they have to do is Design with TI - integrating Texas Instruments’ latest microcontroller (MSP-EXP432P401R) MSP-EXP432P401R LaunchPadMSP-EXP432P401R LaunchPad into a wearable that is Safe & Sound.

 

The Past Week In Review

 

In the past week, March 5 - March 11, we have had a total of eleven updates posted across eight projects. As with all of my weekly summary post, I will select a few of my favorite updates from the week and highlight them briefly below, but first let's take a quick look at what projects were updated in the past seven days. 

 

 

 

This Week’s Top Updates

 

Smart Safety Glasses #2: Playing with capacitive sensing

 

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We kick off this week’s summary with an update from Alex Kucherov’s (salexku) project, Smart Safety Glasses in which he experiments with capacitive sensing, and how it can be utilized to enable or disable a power tool. Alex built a parallel plate capacitor and then measured it’s capacitance in three different cases. This information allowed him to set up a quick test circuit using an Arduino and the CapSense library. Head over to the post at the link above for the full rundown.  

 

 

Safety Jacket for the Tolling Industry #3: TI RTOS and POSIX with the CC1310 Launchpad

 

 

Inderpreet Singh (ipv1) posted an excellent update this week and introduced us to TI RTOS and the CC1310 LaunchpadCC1310 Launchpad. Due to the CC1310’s super long RF range, and low power capabilities, he has chosen it to serve as the main modules in his project. Unfortunately programming the Arm Cortex processors on this launchpad is a little more tricky than programming a MSP430, so Inderpreet wrote and filmed an excellent tutorial on how to get started in this new and exciting realm of real time operating systems. Check it out in the video and link above!

 

 

Winter Survival Suit Post #3 (Kit unboxing)

 

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Over the last few weeks we have seen a lot of the challengers state that their sponsorship kits have not yet been received, but as of this week, it appears that is no longer the case. Dale Winhold (dwinhold) updated us this week with an unboxing post as did a few other challengers. This means that the kits are beginning to arrive, and that everyone can soon get to building out their projects!

 

That is going to wrap up things for this week, but check back next week for another Design Challenge Weekly Summary post, as well as my first Project Summary post of this challenge. Until then head over to the official Safe & Sound Wearables Challenge Page, and as always, remember to hack the world and make awesome!

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Welcome to another installment in the Design Challenge Weekly Summary series here at Element14! It’s week three of the Safe and Sound Wearables Design Challenge, and several of the challenger’s projects are making great progress, while the others are still getting started.

 

In other design challenge news, we have officially closed the application process to enter into the Upcycle It Design Challenge, and the Element14 staff is working hard reading through each entry. So stay tuned to the Design Challenge landing page for future updates on that challenge!

Safe & Sound Design Challenge

 

Featured as the first design challenge of 2017, the Safe & Sound Wearables challenge tasks its participants to conceive and build a 'safe and sound’ wearable that protects a person from personal and environmental risks, or monitors personal health or protects personal property from theft.

 

 

 

The Official Kit, and The Prizes

 

Texas-Instruments-logo-design.png                        DJI_Innovations_logo.svg.png

 

On February 14th 2017 Element14 announced the list of the official 15 challengers picked to participate in the challenge, and those 15 challengers received a kit of components to use in their design which was sponsored by Texas Instruments. Each kit contains the following items:

 

Participation in this challenge is not limited to the sponsored challengers however. Anyone can enter, and all they have to do is Design with TI - integrating Texas Instruments’ latest microcontroller (MSP-EXP432P401R) MSP-EXP432P401R LaunchPadMSP-EXP432P401R LaunchPad into a wearable that is Safe & Sound.

 

The Past Week In Review

In the past week, February 26 - March 4, we have had a total of five updates posted across five projects. As with all of my weekly summary post, I will select a few of my favorite updates from the week and highlight them briefly below, but first let's take a quick look at what projects were updated in the past seven days. 

 

 

 

This Week’s Top Updates

Invisible Hazardous Environmental Factors Monitoring System - blog 4

 

2017-03-07 23_35_31-Safe and Sound - Invisible Hazardous Environmen... _ element14 _ Safe and Sound.png

 

In the fourth update of his project, Douglas Wong (dougw) walked us through a wealth of information on air quality, and how it can be monitored with readily available sensors. Doug starts out by listing several common items that off-gas harmful chemicals into the air such as formaldehyde, and finishes up with a very well laid out chart of MQ sensors and their sensing abilities.

 

 

Hearing Guard System #3: User and Technical Stories

 

2017-03-07 23_42_13-Safe and Sound Wearables- Hearing Guard System ... _ element14 _ Safe and Sound.png

 

If you have read my past Weekly Summary post you know that I have a lot of respect for challengers who are able to organize their project into neat little segments, and that is because organization makes it easier for the reader to understand, and follow along with the project as it progresses. In his project’s third update, Jon Morss (jomoenginer) tackles the task of breaking each part of the project down into user and technical stories. This is a method of project management that breaks each of the project’s task a description of what it should do and what criteria must be met for that portion of the project to be considered a success and finished. I am a big fan of this type of system as it leaves almost no wiggle room as to what can be considered finished, and what still needs work, and I am very excited to see how this project unfolds in the coming weeks! 

 

 

That is going to wrap up things for this week, but check back next week for another Design Challenge Weekly Summary post, as well as my first Project Summary post of this challenge. Until then head over to the official Safe & Sound Wearables Challenge Page, and as always, remember to hack the world and make awesome!

DCWklyGnrcHdr.png

 

Welcome to another installment in the Design Challenge Weekly Summary series here at Element14!  We have officially wrapped up the first week of the Safe and Sound Wearables Design Challenge, things are already off to a great start. Before we jump into this week's updates, I want to remind everyone that we are currently accepting project applications for the Upcycle It Design Challenge with Intel Edison. The application process closes on March 3rd at 23:59 GMT, so you still have some time to get your proposal together! Now that we have those bases covered, let's jump right into this week’s updates!

 

Before we get into the meat of today’s post, I want to take a moment and clarify a decision I made to change the date range of which I base these post. My goal each week is to publish a new weekly summary post every Monday, and with the previous range of Monday through Sunday, I simply had too little time to read through every project update and still get my summary post out by Monday evening. It caused me to get very behind on weeks where we had an abundance of post, and that is why I now use Sunday through Saturday as the range for each weeks summary. This gives me an extra day to make sure I have read everything, and craft a well written post. I apologize for any confusion this created last week, and I should have clarified why I changed the date range in my post.

 

I also wanted to reiterate a few things for those who are new to my weekly summary series. These post have no bearing on the outcome of the challenge in terms of judging the eventual winners. I simply write these post to help community members and other readers quickly process which projects were updated over the past week, and to showcase a few projects that I felt had exceptional updates that week.

 

Now that we have those bases covered, let's jump right into this week’s updates!

 

Safe & Sound Design Challenge

 

Featured as the first design challenge of 2017, the Safe & Sound Wearables challenge tasks its participants to conceive and build a 'safe and sound’ wearable that protects a person from personal and environmental risks, or monitors personal health or protects personal property from theft.

 

 

 

The Official Kit, and The Prizes

 

Texas-Instruments-logo-design.png                        DJI_Innovations_logo.svg.png

 

On February 14th 2017 Element14 announced the list of the official 15 challengers picked to participate in the challenge, and those 15 challengers received a kit of components to use in their design which was sponsored by Texas Instruments. Each kit contains the following items:

 

Participation in this challenge is not limited to the sponsored challengers however. Anyone can enter, and all they have to do is Design with TI - integrating Texas Instruments’ latest microcontroller (MSP-EXP432P401R) MSP-EXP432P401R LaunchPadMSP-EXP432P401R LaunchPad into a wearable that is Safe & Sound.

 

The Past Week In Review

 

In the past week, February 19-25, we have had a total of twelve updates posted across nine projects. As with all of my weekly summary post, I will select a few of my favorite updates from the week and highlight them briefly below, but first let's take a quick look at what projects were updated in the past seven days.

 

This Week’s Top Updates

 

Hearing Guard System #1: Introduction to Project

 

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Over the years, Jon Morss (jomoenginer has noticed that laboratory and data center employees often suffer from hearing loss from prolonged exposure to the equipment that is present in those types of environments. Citing a CDC report, more than 22 million Americans are exposed to potentially damaging noise each year, with more than 10 million who already suffer from hearing loss due to exposure to these types of noise. Unfortunately, those who already suffer from some form of hearing loss will not be able to identify noise levels that could continue to damage their hearing. In his project intro, Jon lays out his plans to create a wearable device that will help solve this issue by alerting its wearer whenever they enter into an environment that contains noise levels high enough to damage one’s hearing.

 

 

Invisible Hazardous Environmental Factors Monitoring System - blog 3

 

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While working out how he plans on measuring the UVA and UVB radiation that is present on any particular day, Douglas (dougw) realized that the sensor he planned on using was not very sensitive to UV levels in sunlight, and that his project would require the signal coming from the UV sensor module to be amplified to provide a signal that can be measured properly. To do this, Douglas used a simple general purpose offset and gain adjustment circuit which utilizes a Texas Instruments TLV433 Quad op-ampTexas Instruments TLV433 Quad op-amp. This circuit will eventually become one of the five sensors that will reside on a custom booster pack for the Texas Instruments MSP-EXP432P401R LaunchPadMSP-EXP432P401R LaunchPad.

 

 

Winter Survival Suit Post #1 (Introduction)

 

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Dale Winhold (dwinhold) jump started his project, Winter Survival Suit, this week with its introduction post. The project focuses around building a wearable suit that is able to monitor your body temperature in several locations, and then turn on a heating system that will warm just the part of your body that drops below a predetermined temperature. A MSP-EXP432P401RMSP-EXP432P401R will monitor the sensors and control the heat while a 430BOOST-SHARP96430BOOST-SHARP96 will display the information to the person wearing the suit.

 

That is going to wrap up things for this week, but check back next week for another Design Challenge Weekly Summary post, as well as my first Project Summary post of this challenge. Until then head over to the official Safe & Sound Wearables Challenge Page, and as always, remember to hack the world and make awesome!

DCWklyGnrcHdr.png

 

Welcome to another installment in the Design Challenge Weekly Summary series here at Element14!  We have officially wrapped up the first week of the Safe and Sound Wearables Design Challenge, things are already off to a great start. Before we jump into this week's updates, I want to remind everyone that we are currently accepting project applications for the Upcycle It Design Challenge with Intel Edison. The application process closes on March 3rd at 23:59 GMT, so you still have some time to get your proposal together! Now that we have those bases covered, let's jump right into this week’s updates!

 

Safe & Sound Design Challenge

 

Featured as the first design challenge of 2017, the Safe & Sound Wearables challenge tasks its participants to conceive and build a 'safe and sound’ wearable that protects a person from personal and environmental risks, or monitors personal health or protects personal property from theft.

 

 

 

The Official Kit, and The Prizes

 

Texas-Instruments-logo-design.png                        DJI_Innovations_logo.svg.png

 

On February 14th 2017 Element14 announced the list of the official 15 challengers picked to participate in the challenge, and those 15 challengers received a kit of components to use in their design which was sponsored by Texas Instruments. Each kit contains the following items:

 

Participation in this challenge is not limited to the sponsored challengers however. Anyone can enter, and all they have to do is Design with TI - integrating Texas Instruments’ latest microcontroller (MSP-EXP432P401R) MSP-EXP432P401R LaunchPadMSP-EXP432P401R LaunchPad into a wearable that is Safe & Sound.

 

 

The Past Week In Review

 

In the past week, February 12-18, we have had a total of four updates posted across four projects as well as a few helpful post from Jan Cumps, one of the challenge’s judges. As with all of my weekly summary post, I will select a few of my favorite updates from the week and highlight them briefly below, but first let's take a quick look at what projects were updated in the past seven days. 

 

 


This Week’s Top Updates



Telemetry System For Smart Clothes #1: Introduction to Project


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The honor of being the first featured update of this challenge goes to Alexander Molnar’s (amolnar) project: Telemetry System For Smart Clothes. Alexander has chosen to build a telemetry system that is designed around a fireman’s bunker gear. This project features a myriad of various sensors that are able to monitor various metrics that could prove life saving for the firefighter wearing them. This project caught my eye because it relates to me on a personal level. I served in my local volunteer fire department as a trained interior structural firefighter for over a decade, and after leaving that position I have spent many hours thinking of ways that embedded electronics could make the job much easier. Needless to say, I will be keeping a close eye on this one!



Example Code for the Challenge Kit

 

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My second feature this week is not a project per-say, but is more of a series designed to help challengers get started with their projects by providing relevant tutorials related to the different components that Texas Instruments has supplied the challengers with.  Design challenge veteran and Safe & Sound Wearables judge, Jan Cumps (jancumps) has taken the time to prepare several post that offer sample code and tips for the various components provided in the challenger kit. Head over to this post to check it out.



That is going to wrap up things for this week, but check back next week for another Design Challenge Weekly Summary post, as well as my first Project Summary post of this challenge. Until then head over to the official Safe & Sound Wearables Challenge Page, and as always, remember to hack the world and make awesome!

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It’s finally here folks! It’s been some time since I last wrote a weekly summary post for the design challenge series here at Element14, but today marks the kick off of the 2017 design challenge season. Over the last couple of months community members have been submitting their project ideas for the Safe & Sound Wearables Design Challenge, and today the design challenge crew have officially announced the projects that have been chosen! I have had the opportunity to read over some of the project proposals and if they are any indication of what this challenge is going to be like, I must say that I am thoroughly impressed and quite excited to see the progress that will be made in the coming weeks. So let's just jump straight into it, and learn all about the Safe & Sound Wearables design challenge, and what projects the challengers have brought to the table.

 

Safe & Sound Design Challenge

 

Featured as the first design challenge of 2017, the Safe & Sound Wearables challenge tasks its participants to conceive and build a 'safe and sound’ wearable that protects a person from personal and environmental risks, or monitors personal health or protects personal property from theft.

 

 

 

The Official Kit, and The Prizes

 

Texas-Instruments-logo-design.png                        DJI_Innovations_logo.svg.png

 

On February 14th 2017 Element14 announced the list of the official 15 challengers picked to participate in the challenge, and those 15 challengers received a kit of components to use in their design which was sponsored by Texas Instruments. Each kit contains the following items:

 

You do not have to have been selected as an official challenger to compete for the prizes. All you have to do is Design with TI - integrating Texas Instruments’ latest microcontroller, the MSP-EXP432P401R LaunchPadMSP-EXP432P401R LaunchPad, into a wearable that is Safe & Sound. Official challengers as well as unsponsored participants will be competing to win a myriad of prizes including a Phantom 4 and Phantom 3 Professional drone from DJI for the first place and runner up projects respectively. Every participant who finishes their project on time will also receive a Texas Instruments EZ430-CHRONOS-915 Development KitTexas Instruments EZ430-CHRONOS-915 Development Kit.

 

The Judges

 

Judging for the Safe & Sound Wearables challenge will be performed by Jan Cumps (jancumps), Mizanur Chowdhury (mrchy) and Mohammad Akbari (Akbari1982) , who will also be on hand throughout the challenge to respond to Challengers' questions during their project builds. For any general questions about the Challenge, challengers and community members can post a 'comment' on the About this Challenge page.  The challengers, judges, challenge officials or anyone following the Challenge are likely to respond. Finalists will have until May 12th to submit their projects. Entries will be judged on originality, innovation and technical merit by a panel of judges including experts from Texas Instruments and the wearables sector. The winners will be announced by the end of May.

 

The Challengers and Their Projects

 

I have listed out each project with a link to its respective challenger’s profile page. Below each project is a brief description of the project in its creators own words. I will update this info once project names have been set in stone, and their blog pages created.

 

Project: Balloon Safety by Clem Martins (clem57)

I would like to create a wearable light TI MSP430 using Piezoelectric power source. This will provide safety by warning of any power lines within the vicinity of the balloon similar to the warning of airplanes when about to stall. Also using GPS attached, information can be gathered for playback to plot balloon performance. Information can be sent to the team on ground to track and recover the balloon when it lands. By freeing the pilot of some of these chores, the pilot can spend more time ballooning improving the safe operations.

 

Project: Rider Protection and Vehicle Safety Gear for Bikes by Priyanto Deb (priyantodeb)

I am from India, belonging to a developing country with such a high volume of bikes and scooters, i witness a lot of accidents and thefts of these vehicles which in general have low security options and even less rider protection systems in place, with other developing countries also facing such problems such as Vietnam and Thailand. There are no commercial off the shelf products which can provide any specific theft protection. Although helmets are widely available, people prefer not to use them because of low police presence and no proper training. I propose a two stepped solution. Firstly, I propose a safety lock, working both ways for security and avoiding accidents, before the vehicle starts. Secondly, a different system that provides safety during the bike ride.

 

Project: Cold Weather Survival Suit by Dale Winhold (nbizzell)

Here in the great white north (Canada) our winter can be very cold. I live in Edmonton Alberta, recently we have had a cold spell of -31oC. We still go out in these temperatures, you just have to dress properly. Our outdoor sports also put a demand on keeping yourself warm, especially if you are a spectator. In these temperatures hypothermia and frost bite are very real and happen more then realized. So, I propose designing a cold weather survival suit for these conditions.

 

Project: Smart Safety Glasses by Alex Kucherov (salexku)

According to Prevent Blindness America, more than 700,000 Americans injure their eyes at the work place, making eye-related injuries one of the most common. In 70 percent of the accidents, the eye injury was caused by an object or equipment. What is perhaps more alarming, is that according to the Occupational Health and safety administration (OSHA), 90 percent of the cases can be prevented by wearing protective eyewear. I propose designed Smart safety glasses, which communicate wirelessly with an electrical power tool or machine, and have the ability to detect whether they are being worn by a worker/operator. Unless the power tool receives a signal, indicating the operator is indeed wearing the safety glasses, it will not switch on, thus forcing the worker to wear the eye protection glasses.

 

Project: T-Shirt for Monitoring Elderly and Physically Challenged Patients by Sakthi Vvs (sakthi.1260)

Monitoring Elderly and Disabled Patients while away is always been a challenge. Thus, I promose designing a T-Shirt that monitors a Patient's position and Vitals and Transmits to a Computer (RPi) over bluetooth, which in turn connects to the Internet via WiFi.In case of Abnormalities such as Patient movement or Vitals change,the data starts to transmit to a mobile device of a care taker.

 

Project: Invisible Hazardous Environmental Factors Monitoring System by Douglas Wong (dougw)

The first step in becoming safe and sound is to know the dangers and risks. Then we can devise strategies to stay safe and sound. This project investigates what invisible environmental factors might have hazardous side effects, how we might detect these conditions and what we can do to minimize the risks.Most people are aware that there are numerous invisible environmental factors that are potentially dangerous to humans, and many of us have nagging concerns that we are being exposed to potentially dangerous levels without knowing about it. I propose to create a Invisible Hazardous Environmental Factors Monitoring System that explores how we might attempt to monitor some potentially dangerous environmental factors that cannot be detected by human senses. It will also discuss health risks filtered from information on the internet and provide some techniques we can use to minimize risks and exposure.

 

Project: Motorcycle Winter Monitor by Peter Lauer (plauer)

If you live in the northern part of the US you know the drill. Every fall you winterize your toys, Motorcycles, classic cars, convertibles, boats. Every spring you face the same issues, battery died, mice chewed through the charger wires, hoses busted. For this project, I propose to design a motorcycle winter monitor that will Equip the battery charger, conditioner with an IOT monitor. Measure battery voltage, charging current temperature, humidity. Transmit it via bluetooth or wifi to smart phone. Anytime you are worried about your toy in the corner of your garage, where you can't get to now? Just look at your phone and you get a great health status.

 

Project: Wearable Tracking Device for Miners by Md. Kamrul Hussain (sunnyiut)

My project proposal will be designing a wearable device that will display surrounding environmental information to the miner and to develop a system to track the location of a miner working inside the mine. The wearable device will be mounted on Miner's wrist which will display information on surrounding environment. A system based on NFC/RFID or BLE will be designed to locate the working zone of the Miner.

 

Project: Element 14 Custom Logging Explorer Wrist Equipped (E.C.L.E.W.E.) by John Kutzschebauch (jkutzsch)

I propose design an E14-C.L.E.W.E.: A wrist mounted explorer utility that provides GPS logging as well other navigation functions and utilities. A digital ball of thread that can be used to find your way!

 

Project: Firefighter’s Telemetry System for Smart Clothes by Alexander Molnar (amolnar)

Today, there are many dangerous profession in our lives. The most dangerous is the rescue workers, firefighters, steelworkers, military and so on. One of the main means of protection from the dangerous environment is protective clothing and additional protective devices (eg balloons with compressed air, steel plates, and so on). All this leads to a complication of doing the task, but necessary for the save health or life. Significantly improve the protection of special clothing is the using of modern electronic systems. I propose to design a firefighter's uniform for firefighters. Portable monitoring system for “smart clothes” was designed to be fix in clothes and wear comfortably. The system consist of main module (device) and sensors, which connected with module through flexible wires

 

Project: Flooding early-warning Alarm Pack by Feng Yao (fyaocn)

Empty riverbank is slumber demon if the river or lake is not well managed. In October 2009, Chembarambakkam lake discharge floods new areas in city with death toll at 269. Refer to     http://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/chennai-rains-chembarambakkam-discharge-floods-new-areas-in-city-first-time-in-40-years/173727/, Even best weather forecast can not foretell the flood of July 2012 in Beijing, China, which ruined bunches of Resort Inns along one dry-up riverbed, even more severer than Hollywood Scenery. I propose to create a Flood Early warning Alarm Pack that sends an alarm to persons near a Reservoir Downstream Riverbed who may be exposed to great danger of unexpected flood discharge. This Early-warning Alarm Pack along the river can be of great help by offering vital escape signal. In most cases, 60 seconds in advance of danger can make life safe and sound.

 

Project: Safe Sleep Baby Monitor by Arturas Vaitaitis (varturas)

We propose to create a safe sleep baby monitor for prematurely born babies. If the monitor will detect interruption in breathing for more than 15 seconds it will alert parents via their smartphone and via build-in buzzer alarm. This monitor will help new parents with their anxiety about how their newborn babies sleep at night. The product will measure and classify motion, movements, position, orientation and activity levels and sending it to parents smartphone. It will detect breathing and falls and streams data to a smartphone app, where information is displayed in a convenient, easy-to-understand manner. Breathing movements, body position (on the back or on the stomach), fall detection, proximity to the phone, battery and connection status: parents will choose only the alerts they want to receive.

 

Project: Personal Sound Sensor for Hearing Protection by Jon Morss (jomoenginer)

I propose to design a personal Sound Level indicator that alerts the user either via an LED or vibration that the noise level in the are has gone over a certain level. This will let the user (such as Road worker, Yard Maintenance Person, Data Center Engineer, and so on) that the noise in the are is at an unsafe level and they need to use Sound Sound Suppressors. This also could be used as a standalone device in areas such as Data Centers or Warehouses to alert all those that enter the area the sound level is unsafe.

 

Project: Safety Jacket for the Tolling Industry by Inderpreet Singh (ipv1)

A few years ago when I was responsible for the RnD Department of a Toll Automation Company in India, I was unfortunate enough to witness an accident on one of our sites. A Toll Plaza in Chennai India was the location where a high speed car hit one of our local site engineers and he died as a result shortly thereafter. The application is based around the design and development of a complete safety and management solution for industrial workers in the tolling industry and can be extended to be used in other industrial environments as well. It consists of two major components as explained in detail below.In keeping with the theme of the challenge, the first part of the design consists of a wearable smart Safety Jacket.

 

Project: Trackable Safety Helmet for Miners by Mehmet Bozdal (mbozdal)

I am planning to build a safe working place for the miners. I decided to build this project because 21st century we still get news miners are missing and the result is usually catastrophic (Gas explosion kills 33 Chinese miners-2016, 9 miners dead and 23 missing after an explosion in Ukrainian coal mine). The main reason for the coal mine explosions is the methane gas explosions. The gas concentration, temperature, and pressure effect the explosion. These parameters should be observed carefully. Even all the measures are taken, the explosion may occur and some miners can be stuck inside the mining area and it may take long times to reach them. If we know where they are exactly, we can reach them faster. Another problem is human ignorance like not wearing the required safety-uniform, helmet, or mask. In order to solve these problems, I will design a trackable safety-helmet.

 

 

As I mentioned earlier, you do not have to be one of the fifteen chosen challengers to participate in this challenge and still be able to win a prize. Element14 encourage’ anyone who has already submitted a design idea, but not selected to still participate.

 

You can do so, provided that you use the Texas Instruments MSP432 Performance Launchpad as the basis of your project, that it is keeping within the theme of the competition, and that you blog about your project in the Safe & Sound Challenge Page.

 

Element14 invites entries from electronic engineers, performance apparel designers and makers to conceive and build any ‘safe and sound’ wearable to steer the world close to our vision of improving personal protection.

 

I want to wish a very big congratulations to all of the challengers who were selected for this challenge, and I can not wait to see what innovative ideas are devised over the coming weeks. That is going to wrap up things for this week, but check back next week for another Design Challenge Weekly Summary post, as well as my first Project Summary post of this challenge.  Until then head over to the official Safe & Sound Wearables Challenge Page, and as always, remember to hack the world and make awesome!

Year in Review Banner 2016.png

Also read: Member of the Year Awards

 

The Design Challenge series here at Element14 is one of my favorite sections of the whole community, and I am unsure if that will ever change. I spend a good portion of my week browsing through many of the sections here, but I definitely spend the most time in the Design Challenge section. I have spent 2016 covering the challenges every week, and summarizing the progress from each challenger, and this means that I have read through every update that was posted to every challenge this year. To end off the year, I wanted to write a year end recap post that summarizes my favorite challenges, projects, and post from the year. Before we jump into the meat of this post, let's take a moment and look at some impressive statistics from the Design Challenge series as a whole for 2016.

 

In 2016 we officially held three design challenges, with all of them being held completely inside of the 2016 year. Overall there were 43 projects and challengers selected to participate in the challenges as a whole, and somewhere around 390 project updates were posted. Finally, about 36 projects either made it to completion, or at least posted regular updates, which is something to be proud of as these challenges demand a significant commitment of time to bring from concept to fruition. If those numbers were not impressive enough, lets take a moment to thank some of the sponsors who helped out with both prizes, and the hardware each challenger used in their builds: Beaglebone, Raspberry Pi, Wurth Electronics, Autodesk, CadSoft, NXP, Oculus, GoPro, DuraTool, and many more!

 

The Challenges:

 

Open Source Music Tech Design Challenge

 

We kicked off 2016 with the Open Source Music Tech Challenge, which bled over from 2015. The challenge featured the Beaglebone BlackBeaglebone Black as its main component, and tasked its challengers with developing a new, useful musical instrument, or other electronic system that somehow improved, or innovated within the DIY music community, and was designed to be completely open source. A few of the more impressive projects I have seen were part of this challenge, and after following each project for its duration, I honestly had no idea who would take the win home after the judging had completed.

 

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Sixteen challengers were selected to compete in this challenge, and over the next nineteen weeks, the challengers toiled away on their projects, posting a grand total of ninety-six blog post, thirty videos, and hundreds of informative photos, code samples, and tips. With almost one-hundred blog post, this challenge was a close competitor to our largest ever!

 

 

On the fifteenth of April, the challenge officially closed, and the judges set to work rating each project that was completed, and just a few weeks later, the winners were announced. In the end,  Liam Lacey’s (liamtmlacey) project, Vintage Toy Synthesizer claimed the top spot. Second place went to Luis Zayas Garin (luiszayas) and his project, Kazumi. Third Place was awarded to Carmelito Andrade’s (carmelito) DIY Drum Kit, (a personal favorite of mine).

 

If you would like to read through the entire challenge, head over to it’s content page for a full listing of all of the content its challengers created. If you would rather skim through the highlights, I have included a list below of all of the weekly summaries that I wrote about the Make Life Accessible Challenge. Additionally, I have included second list below, that showcases a few of the projects from the challenge that I wrote complete summaries on.

 

Design Challenge Summaries January 1, 2016 - April 11, 2016

 

Open Source Music Tech Project Summaries

 

 

Make Life Accessible Design Challenge

 

 

The Make Life Accessible Design Challenge, our second challenge of the year, was centered around the ever growing need of high-tech solutions  to help give people freedom from their physical limitations. Challengers were tasked with creating a prototype that utilizes a motor control system from NXP with the ultimate goal of bringing benefits to people who are disabled or considered vulnerable, enabling them to live well with their conditions as a result of the challenger’s solution. Thirteen projects were chosen to participate, with their creators receiving an official challenger kit that contains the sponsored hardware from NXP, specifically the FRDM-KV31 Freedom Development PlatformFRDM-KV31 Freedom Development Platform and FRDM-MC-LVPMSM Low-Voltage Motor Control KitFRDM-MC-LVPMSM Low-Voltage Motor Control Kit.

 

 

With more than ninety blogpost being written, the challenge lasted for about eleven weeks, running from the third week of April to the first week of July. I have said it many times in the past, but if you are looking for a source of inspiration, you need to look no farther than the Design Challenges here at Element14. This challenge was filled with inspiring innovation, and a good bit of repurposing existing things to make helpful solutions to real world problems. When it was all said and done, Douglas Wong (dougw) walked away with the grand prize with his project, Clear Walk. Second place was awarded to Scott Coppersmith’s (rsc) ElapShelf, while Ambrogio Galbusera (amgalbu) took the thrid place spot with his project, Eye Prints.

 

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If you would like to read through the entire challenge, head over to it’s content page for a full listing of all of the content its challengers created. If you would rather skim through the highlights, I have included a list below of all of the weekly summaries that I wrote about the Make Life Accessible Challenge. Additionally, I have included second list below, that showcases a few of the projects from the challenge that I wrote complete summaries on.

 

Design Challenge Summaries April 17, 2016 - July 3, 2016

 

 

Make Life Accessible Project Summaries

 

 

Pi IoT Smarter Spaces Design Challenge

 

Our third and final Design Challenge of 2016 was the Pi IoT Smarter Spaces Challenge, which tasked its challengers to create a smater living, working, or educational space using an assortment of hardware from the Raspberry Pi foundation, and EnOcean. Each challenger received a Raspberry Pi 3Raspberry Pi 3, Raspberry Pi B+Raspberry Pi B+, Pi Noir Camera 2Pi Noir Camera 2, Pi Camera 8MPPi Camera 8MP, 7-Inch Touchscreen7-Inch Touchscreen, an EnOcean PiEnOcean Pi, a EnOcean Sensor kitEnOcean Sensor kit, and more.

 

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With more than two-hundred blog post being written, this challenge was one of our largest ever. The challenge lasted for about fifteen weeks, running from the third week of May to the last week of August, giving the Smarter Spaces Challenge the title of our longest running Design Challenge of 2016 as well. I do have to say that this challenge was by far my favorite of the year. I am absolutely captivated with anything home automation, and this challenge definitely held me captive throughout its duration. I mentioned the innovation that was present in every project of the Make Life Accessible challenge, and if it set the standard, the Smarter Spaces challenge broke the mold, and redefined that standard. From smart key hooks that let the system know who was present in the home, to exercise challenges being built into one challenger’s home automation system, this design challenge had it all. If this challenge was any indication of the quality, and level of craftsmanship we can expect to see in future challenges, then 2017 is going to be a great year!

 

 

When it was all said and done, Frederick Vandenbosch (fvan) walked away with the grand prize with his project, Pi IoT Alarm Clock. Robin Eggenkamp’s (rhe123) Project Thuis took home second place, while Gerrit Polder’s (gpolder) took the thrid place spot with his project, Plant Health Smart Camera.

 

If you would like to read through the entire challenge, head over to it’s content page for a full listing of all of the content its challengers created. If you would rather skim through the highlights, I have included a list below of all of the weekly summaries that I wrote about the Make Life Accessible Challenge. Additionally, I have included second list below, that showcases a few of the projects from the challenge that I wrote complete summaries on.

 

 

Design Challenge Summaries June 12, 2016 - July 3, 2016

 

Pi IoT Smarter Spaces Project Summaries

 

 

My top 3 Favorite Design Challenge Projects Of 2016

 

2016 was a great year filled with awesome design challenges, and I am so grateful that Element14 chose me to cover them. I wish I had the time, to write a small feature about all of my favorite projects from this year, but unfortunately I only have time for three. These three projects are in no particular order, and as I mentioned, I loved almost all of the projects that were completed this year.

 

Smart Competition Home by Caterina Lazaro (clazarom)

 

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I really enjoyed this project, and it’s fresh approach to making a smart home even smarter. Innovation is very hard to come by in the smart home world, as everyone is chomping at the bit to become the most refined version of whatever aspect of the smart home they are working on. When I first read Caterina’s proposal I knew this project had massive potential and the concept of integrating a fitness competition into the daily lives of those residing in the home was one of the most innovative ideas in recent design challenge history. I can honestly say that I looked forward to each and every update that Caterina made to this project. Head over to its main blog page to read through the entire project.

 

 

EyePrints by Ambrogio Galbusera (amgalbu)

 

 

As I have mentioned in several other post, for some reason, every new Design Challenge will feature a project that incorporates a design element in it that seems to align perfectly with a topic I am studying at the time. EyePrints was one of those projects, specifically the eye tracking development. During this challenge, I was working on a concept for a project that would benefit from built in eye tracking. Ambrogio’s code examples, and thorough explanations of how each small piece of the puzzle worked was just the jump start I needed to begin to better understand how DIY eye tracking systems worked. I have yet to build my own, but you may see something from me in 2017. Head over to the project’s main blog page to read through the entire project.

 

 

Project: DIY Drum Kit by Carmelito Andrade (carmelito)

 

 

DIY Drum Kit was one of those projects that really brought out the maker in me. The code examples, schematics, and documentation was just so good, but what really solidified this as one of my top three favorite projects was the second version of the kit that Carmelito debuted near the end. The pocket version of the DIY Drum Kit was pretty cool, but Carmelito stepped it up another notch with a second design that utilized a hand-shaped, 3D printed form that houses coins that act as capacitive sensors. Called BB Drum Fingers, this version of the project is aimed at those who want to create some cool projects with their friends at maker spaces. This is a very cool version of the project, and I am working out something similar use with the YoungMakers class I teach, to help them learn more about digital music creation.

 

 

 

 

Design Challenge 2017 Teaser

 

 

 

The element14 Community is pleased to introduce the‘Safe Sound Design Challenge featuring the Texas Instruments  https://www.element14.com/community/view-product.jspa?fsku=2473128&nsku=41Y9541&COM=noscriptMSP-EXP432P401R LaunchPad. Members are invited to use this https://www.element14.com/community/view-product.jspa?fsku=2473128&nsku=41Y9541&COM=noscriptMSP-EXP432P401R LaunchPad to create a wearable that could protect you from risk, monitor your health or protect your personal property.

This LaunchPad enables you to develop high performance applications that benefit from low power operation. It features the MSP432P401R – which includes a 48MHz ARM Cortex M4F, 95uA/MHz active power and 850nA RTC operation, 14-bit 1MSPS differential SAR ADC and AES256 accelerator.

 

Enroll today to take part in the Safe & Sound Design Challenge; entries open until 23:59 GMT on January 27th 2017.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

If the 2017 Design Challenge Series is anything like 2016 was, we are in store for an awesome year! A lot of you have messaged me about when the next design challenge will start, and will I be back to cover the series every week. The first question was answered above, and the answer to the second question is, yes. I will be back covering the Design Challenges on a weekly basis with my usual weekly update post, as well as summarizing many of the projects as they progress. I will also be around in other areas of the site, building projects, and writing articles about interesting happenings in the electrical engineering and maker communities. With that said, I am going to wrap this one up. I hope you enjoyed the 2016 Design Challenge series as much as I did. For now, that is it for me, but I will see you in 2017 and remember to Hack The World, and Make Awesome!

Welcome to a new series I am calling The Design Challenge Project Summaries: My Favorites. Over the next few weeks I will be reviewing some of my favorite projects from Design Challenges of the past. The article format will be slightly different than my traditional project summary post, and will not follow a strict chronological recap of the projects I feature here. Instead, I will highlight several of the best post from that project, and will offer my commentary on why I felt that the article’s featured project was so good. Some of these projects may be challenge winners, while some might not have even completely finished. I simply want to highlight some of the past work by our amazing community members, and hope that this series will help spark innovation in someone’s future project.

 

I love the more lighthearted design challenges here at Element14 such as the Hats Off, and Enchanted Object’s Challenges, but it’s the more serious ones that intrigue me the most. As a professional maker, and content creator, the projects I often design and build are the more light-hearted type, and I think that is why I am so captivated by these more serious challenges. The subject of this week's summary is Project: Pollen & Allergen Sensing by Dragan Knežević (tomaja)from the In the Air Design Challenge, which is a perfect example of the more serious design challenges. This challenge tasked its competitors to build an IoT connected device, that was able to sense different metrics the air around us. was sponsored by some of the biggest names in electrical engineering, which was impressive, but not as impressive as some of the project’s its challengers designed.

 

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In his intro post, Dragan said that he will be focusing on creating a device that is capable of detecting specific allergens that might be floating around in the air. Naturally, he chose to focus on Pollen as the main allergen to detect. He said that he would build the prototype using development boards, and then build a compact, battery powered version that is easily connected to a typical home network.

 

“ My plan for this challenge is to come up with a simple enough solution for allergen detection. I suffer from allergies caused by a couple of different allergens, pollen is one of them - so my choice for this challenge was natural. Sensing pollen will probably be the most difficult part of this project, since I have no experience with such sensors but I expect to learn a lot...”

 

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In the project’s first update, Dragan  clues readers in on his options for a pollen detector, and the pros and cons of each. He says that if he were to go with a DIY pollen sensor, he would have to focus more on the hardware, which would mean less time for software development. The other option is to go with a commercial unit, and focus more on software development. Unfortunately, Dragan was sort of forced to go the DIY route, after his search for a commercial pollen detector only produced one unit that was designed for pollen found only in Japan. The  real problem with going the DIY route is the complexity of building such a precise assembly that particle sensors require.

 

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Update number two focused on prepping some software packages for the Beaglebone BlackBeaglebone Black, and  a few remote clients. After deciding to use the QT framework as the foundation of the project, Dragan mentions that he will also utilize Paho MQTT, and the AnalogWidgets libraries for communications and the user interface. “BeagleBone Black will serve as a central house unit that’s responsible for communication with AirVantage cloud service and on the other side for communication with CC3200 LaunchPadCC3200 LaunchPad. It will also serve as a system dashboard – I ordered a 4.3” resistive touch screen for BeagleBone Black to be used for that role,” he said.

 

Update three started off with some bad news from Dragan about some issues he was having with Airvantage MQTT and sensors publishing data. Thankfully after some help from community members, he was able to get everything sorted out and working. " At first, I was trying to subscribe to a topic on AirVantage MQTT and receive messages whenever BBB publishes new sensor values. I tried with a couple of different test clients and a couple of topics but no success. I tried using MQTT wildcards (# and +) but still - nothing arrived from AirVantage. I read some AirVantage docs and find out that I could use REST API to read published data but I was under impression that I should only use MQTT (for some strange reason ). After a few hours of failed attempts I posted a question (Subscription to AirVantage MQTT topic) and soon I got a couple of replies. Some of them were from dlahay who was kind enough to answer all my questions and soon I got my app working," he said.

 

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Updates four and five focused on designing a custom PCB in Eagle that will serve as the power supply for the project. The board has three requirements including: Solar Cell powered battery charging circuit, and both a 3.3v and 5v power rails, which will be regulated by a TPS61291TPS61291, and TPS61200TPS61200 respectively. Dragan shipped the board design off to WE Direkt for fabrication and shared the design files at the end of the post.

 

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In update number six, Dragan finally received his challenge kit, and the TI HDC1000EVM - Temperature and Humidity sensor evaluation boardTI HDC1000EVM - Temperature and Humidity sensor evaluation board he had been waiting on, and this allowed him to move forward with software development. Unfortunately some documentation on the serial communication between the on board I2C temperature sensor and the USB interface was missing so he ended up using a Bus Pirate to decode the communication packets himself. This post is a decent resource if you are interested in decoding serial communications with a logic sniffer, and it helped me better understand the process myself.

 

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A special package arrived in update number seven that included the Power PCB that Dragan designed a few post back. There were some silkscreen mistakes, but the board turned out great for someone’s second attempt at custom PCB design. Along with supplying the PCB manufacturing, Wurth Electronics also supplied a capacitor sampler kit for Dragan to use when he populates the PCB.

 

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After a brief break from the project while Dragan moved to a new home, he published the project’s eighth update, and showcased the QT framework based mobile app that will display the sensor data to its users. The app looks good, but those with a keen eye will notice that it is missing data for pollen count. Unfortunately, that is because there was no time to develop the pollen sensor after the move to a new home. This is one of the main reasons that I wanted to add this project to my list of favorites. I wanted to showcase the fact that sometimes we are unable to complete the projects we envisioned. We often jump into a project with very high ambitions, only to later learn how time consuming certain aspects of a project can be, or how difficult some ideas are to bring to life. Even though Dragan was unable to finish this project, he still gained a lot of knowledge that he was able to share with all of us. I definitely took more than one thing away from this project, and I am sure that most who read it learned a thing or two themselves. If you are interested in where the project stood at the end of the challenge, Dragan posted a final update that detailed where each component of the project was in terms of completion. 

 

That is going to conclude this summary. If you want to reread this project from its beginning, head over to the final update I listed above for a listing of each blog post. I want to know what some of your favorite projects here at Element14 were. Leave a comment below with a link to some of your favorite Design Challenge Projects, or any project from the past that was posted here at Element14, and you might see one of them in an upcoming summary post! Thanks for taking the time to read this post, and I will see you next week with a new Design Challenge Project Summary, until then, remember to hack the world and make awesome!

Welcome to a new series I am calling The Design Challenge Project Summaries: My Favorites. Over the next few weeks I will be reviewing some of my favorite projects from Design Challenges of the past. The article format will be slightly different than my traditional project summary post, and will not follow a strict chronological recap of the projects I feature here. Instead, I will highlight several of the best post from that project, and will offer my commentary on why I felt that the article’s featured project was so good. Some of these projects may be challenge winners, while some might not have even completely finished. I simply want to highlight some of the past work by our amazing community members, and hope that this series will help spark innovation in someone’s future project.

 

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The subject of this week's summary is Project: Coachman's Navigational Top Hat by David Crittenden  (synaesdav) from the Hats Off Design Challenge. This is the second time I have featured a project from this challenge, and I may feature a third in the future. I have a weird affinity for wearable projects, and I am not sure why. This project was one of the first completed by a community member who was not an official challenger, and it actually won an honorable mention at the challenges end. David planned to build a top hat that could double as a compass, and still look dapper. It quickly became a favorite of mine when he mentioned in the project's intro that he would be building the top hat from scratch before adding its electronics.

 

I was not chosen to be one of the finalists, but I have decided to participate anyway. The hat that I want to build is essentially a top hat that functions like a compass and has a fancy cockade on the side with a Neopixel ring and some fiber optic sprays bundled onto the thru hole type of Neopixel. To do this I plan to use the Flora accelerometer magnetometer breakout board with the Gemma.

 

 

In the project’s second update David  started the build process by showcasing the different wooden forms that are used to progressively shape a sheet of felt into a top hat. He went on to explain that the top hat is not made completely out of felt, but also utilizes a thin sheet of HDPE and a product called “AltraForm” to help different elements of the hat hold their shape. The post concluded with David posting a short demo video of some of the electronics that will be used on the exterior of the hat.

 

 

Update three was quite impressive, with David showing off his Millinery skills with a video detailing the process of adding the brim-ring to the first piece of felt. He says that this ring is what determines the hat’s size, and its diameter is equal to the hat’s owner’s head circumference plus ⅝-inch. The extra space accounts for the felt’s thickness, as well as the sweat band that will be placed inside later.

 

 

Work continued on the top hat’s construction in update four with David working on the structure of the hat’s side band. Instead of wooden forms like we saw in the example photos that were shared in update two, David uses several different forms that he hand carved from blue taxidermist foam using hand saws, rasps, and sandpaper. The foam form is then covered in aluminum foil, and then wrapped in the AltraForm material, which is then heat set to shape in a bath of extremely hot water.

 

 

David’s next two updates continued down the path of hat completion, with update five focusing on the design aspect of the hat’s “flair.” He decided that the magnetometer would have to be placed in the hat’s top so that it would remain parallel with the ground during use, while the Adafruit Gemma Adafruit Gemma will be featured externally at the center of an organza ribbon. Update number six centered around getting the fiber-optic feather designed and tested.

 

 

The Coachman’s top hat really began taking shape in the project’s seventh update, and to say it’s quite impressive is an understatement. After working to dry fit the electronics and feather into place, David began wrapping the hat in felt, and sewing in the pocket that will hold the battery that powers everything. Moving on to update eight, we saw the hat’s brim get some snazzy ribbed faille fabric added to its underside, so make sure you head over the full post to watch the demo video.

 

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Update nine was where all of the magic began to happen. David switched over from hat construction, to getting the code written that would control the hat’s light show. He mentions that while he is a competent hat maker, his coding skills are much less polished, and that he is approaching the coding process for this project in several different steps akin to how a patchwork quilt is made. Using a mock-up, David was able to determine the magnetometer’s min and max values for the X, Y, and Z axis, and wrote some code that allowed him to map the data to a specific NeoPixelNeoPixel on the hat’s exterior. This post is full of source code, and would be very helpful for someone who is trying to understand how to work your way through the coding process one step at a time.

 

 

Work resumed on the top hat in update ten with David teaching us how to properly swirl the fibers on a textured synthetic velvet piece of fabric. This swirl is designed to accent the top of the hat, and provides a cool visual effect when viewed at different angles. This post also included an update to the code that we saw in the previous update. With the code working, David began sewing the NeoPixelNeoPixel into place in update eleven.

 

 

Update number twelve was a major milestone for the project, and saw David finish up the hats brim as well as him selecting a translucent white opal jewel to cover each of the NeoPixels with. With the jewels sorted out, david placed the hat onto a hat stretcher and sized it to perfectly fit his head, before using heat to set the hat to its permanent size. I have actually seen this process in person at a western hat store before, and it’s quite interesting at how the felt really locks into place once it has cooled down.

 

 

With the top hat set to its final size, David was eager to finish up the rest of the hat. In update thirteen he added in the elements that truly transform an already impressive project, to being a work of art. After sewing the organza ribbon into shape, and attaching the Adafruit GemmaAdafruit Gemma to its center, he added the fiber-optic feather to the hats side-band. If that was not enough, David topped off the hat’s flair with a wide hat band made out of reflective ribbon in a custom weaved pattern to finish off this second to last update.

 

 

The top hat was finalized in update number fourteen, with David permanently sewing the crown to the brim, and then powering everything up. Unfortunately the through-hole NeoPixelsthrough-hole NeoPixels that David used on the fiber-optics did not turn on when the power was connected. He suspects that it may be a power issue, but was not totally sure. He said that he was out of time, and that he would have to fix this issue after the challenge wraps up. Nonetheless, the project turned out amazing, and for his hard work, David was awarded an honorable mention from the challenge’s judges. I must say that I was beyond impressed with this project, and I hope to see David return to a future design challenge.


That is going to conclude this summary. If you want to reread this project from its beginning, head over to David’s own project summary for a listing of each blog post, and a short recap video. I want to know what some of your favorite projects here at Element14 were. Leave a comment below with a link to some of your favorite Design Challenge Projects, or any project from the past that was posted here at Element14, and you might see one of them in an upcoming summary post! Thanks for taking the time to read this post, and I will see you next week with a new Design Challenge Project Summary, until then, remember to hack the world and make awesome!

 

Welcome to a new series I am calling The Design Challenge Project Summaries: My Favorites. Over the next few weeks I will be reviewing some of my favorite projects from Design Challenges of the past. The article format will be slightly different than my traditional project summary post, and will not follow a strict chronological recap of the projects I feature here. Instead, I will highlight several of the best post from that project, and will offer my commentary on why I felt that the article’s featured project was so good. Some of these projects may be challenge winners, while some might not have even completely finished. I simply want to highlight some of the past work by our amazing community members, and hope that this series will help spark innovation in someone’s future project.

 

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The subject of this week's focus is Project: QuadCOP by Joey Thompson  (screamingtiger) from the Sci Fi Your Pi Design Challenge. This was was the second Design Challenge that I covered in my then new Weekly Design Challenge Summary series, and it officially kicked off in April of 2015. It’s funny how the Design Challenge series here at Element14 manages to stay relevant to my life during each challenge. During this challenge I was also writing for another website who had commissioned me to build an open source quad-copter that would rival a commercial quad in both price and performance. Unlike Joey my quad copter ultimately failed after several days of successful flights, and fell to earth from several hundred feet up after its battery came disconnected mid-flight. Note that this summary will not cover every single update, but will skip a few here and there as I hope to encourage everyone to go back and read through the entire project!

 

 

“I will build an automated security guard quad-copter called a QuadCop that will allow one to manually fly the quad-copter and record way-point macros for play them back later.  The way-point macros are a series of GPS coordinates and other information that is recorded while manually flying the QuadCop.  This will allows the QuadCop to fly around obstacles in a small area and perform security checks using a variety of sensors.  Sensors include motion detectors, sound recorders, and flame detectors,” Joey Said. “The QuadCop will be able to land and will be on a timer to go perform security checks at regular intervals.  The QuadCop will have the ability to record photos and send text messages or emails upon certain events.  Bright LEDs will be used to scare intruders away as well as pre-recorded sound bytes.”

 

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Joey kicked off the project by showing off the nice pre-made quad-copter body that he purchased to use as a prototype before moving to a body more suited to this project’s specific needs. The body was an off-the-shelf unit from HobbyKing.com, and was made from a durable, yet flexible foam called EPP which is made from polypropylene. While this foam may be very crash friendly, it does require some rigidity be provided by extra hardware, but that was included in the kit as well. He also talked about the challenger kit arriving, and mentioned that it was missing the GPS module, something he had specifically planned on when making his project proposal.

 

 

Over the next few updates, Joey walked us through his test with the ChipKit PIChipKit PI board, assembling the quad-copters flight hardware, and finally demonstrated some functions that the ChipKit Pi will handle on the quad’s operation. One of these functions is called the “Control Switch,” which allows Joey to switch from manually controlled flight, to autonomous flight. “So what this entails at a high level is that I can control the QuadCop Manually, and then I can tell it to start flying in auto-mode.  This means that my manual control must be overridden.  Further, I can take back control at any time.  This requires the reading of PWM signals, and the generation of PWM signals,” Joey said.

 

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The project’s fifth update continued down the ChipKit Pi path, with Joey detailing some of the issues he has experienced with the add-on board. He mentions that the board takes considerable innovation, and some creative workarounds to get it up and running. I continue to find issues with the ChiKit Pi and work around them as I can,” he said. “My goal is to show our Hosts the amount of innovation it takes to use the ChipKit Pi and to also help others who may choose to use it.” I definitely can relate to Joey’s concerns with this board. I have been a fan of the ChipKit line for many years, and was one of the first makers / journalist on the planet with the original ChipKit board, and spent many hours modifying libraries from the Arduino ecosystem to work with it. Digilent is a wonderful company, and I love their products, but I do wish they had a little more support than they do.

 

 

The project took a huge leap forward in update number six, when Joey took the Raspberry Pi and Pi Camera for their first flight on the new quad. Instead of having the camera record all of the time, he wrote a Python script that looks for a high reading on a GPIO pin, which is triggered by the push of a button, which turns on the camera, and begins recording video footage to a new file. Pushing the button a second time turns the camera off, and saves the file. Pushing it again will turn the camera back on, and a new recording will be saved to a new file. I have seen similar techniques used on purpose built quad-copter boards, and Arduino based flight controllers before, but I think this blog post was the first time I had seen it done with a Raspberry Pi and Pi Camera. I remember modifying Joey’s code to create a DIY action camera that I mounted to one of my RC Trucks, and it worked great.

 

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Updates seven and eight were focused on the on-board GPS system that Joey’s project would need for autonomous flight. The first post covered the code needed to get the TinyGPS module working with the ChipKit Pi, and Raspberry Pi, while the second post was focused more on the housing for the GPS antenna, and showing off some awesome OLED goodness. Joey finished up the month of July with a brief update post on the custom Autopilot functions that he has been building into the quad. These days with quads like the DJI Phantom 4, some of his features seem like old hat technology, but trust me when I say that they were pretty mind-blowing at the time.

 

 

Update number ten was another brief update, and we learned that Joey had finally found a magnetic sensor that he was able to get working. After the fiasco that was the original MEMS sensor board, this development was a welcome one for Joey and those following the project. With that sorted, he was able to move on to working out the GPS coordinates and navigation system in update eleven. “I am working on is testing the Raspberry Pi Flight System (RPFS) and I need to give you more information on how this works.  I have to demonstrate the actual functionality of the QuadCOP and it is time to do that,” he said. “I currently have about 2000 lines of original code between the systems not counting the TinyGPS++ library I used.  While not a lot, for an embedded system it's not small!”

 

 

With much of the physical hardware sorted out, Joey wanted to make some headway on the quad’s final look. Being a fan of Star Wars, and considering the quad’s large round dome, a BB8 Droid theme was the natural choice. This meant preparing the quad’s frame and shell for paint, and adding a few servos to control the quad’s domes independently. Update twelve continued the bodywork to make the quad resemble the BB8 droid from Star Wars. The pi camera was connected to the quad’s bottom dome, and a protective lens was then affixed into place.

 

 

Update thirteen saw the completion of the quad’s construction, and I have to give Joey a lot of respect for how well it turned out. The paint scheme fit the shape of the quad very well, and the bottom dome’s rotation really adds a “Star Wars Droid” feel to the quad. I was a bit worried early on when the camera was mounted to the dome. I had concerns about the DSI cable flexing too much if the Raspberry Pi was mounted to the quad’s frame, but those fears were relieved when I read this update and saw that Joey had decided to mount it to the lower dome itself. He does mention that this caused a bit of a balancing issue, but it could be easily fixed with a small counter weight.

 

Updated 11/3/2016:

 

SOftware+Flow.jpeg

 

In the project’s fourteenth update, Joey prepared the quad for its first flight in full trim, saying that despite some issues with the Magnetometer he will be able to navigate with just the N, S, E, W headings. The plan is for the quad to autonomously fly in a square by flying north for twenty feet, turn right, fly east for twenty feet, turn right, fly south for 20 feet etc. He also posted two videos that explain the quad’s control system, and finished thing up by further explaining the control system using the flow chart that you can see above this paragraph.

 

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With just two weeks to go before the original deadline, Joey’s flight controller board let the magic smoke out. This meant that the planned test flight would have tobe put off until the new KK2.1 Hard Case flight controller that he ordered arrived. I can personally attest to how sensitive the KK2 flight controllers are, as I have burnt out several of them in my DIY quad adventures. At one point, the running joke in my circle of maker friends was how many KK2 boards did I have to order the past week.

 

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The next two post covered the quad’s sensor array that would be used for object avoidance, and environmental data collection, as well as a nice breakdown of the Chipkit Pi and the custom Block Protocol that Joey had to write to get I2C working. The post is a bit technical, and includes two examples of source code. This is one of the post from this challenge that taught me something I had been wanting to experiment with for a long time, and anyone interested in the ChipKit PI and I2C should give it a read.

 

 

Update eighteen brought good news and informed us that the new flight controller had arrived, and Joey would be able to make a test flight with just a few hours left before the competition was over.  In QuadCop’s nineteenth update, the quad finally took flight, and Joey was able to successfully complete a hover and loiter test flight. “I was very nervous.  I turned the loiter on for just a second and it held then started dropping, the ground sensor caught it,” he said. “Because my controls are being passed through the chipkit pi, there is some  resolution lost so it's a bit touchy for a hover.”

 

 

Over the next few updates, Joey posted a listing of all of the source code used in this project, the flow diagrams that detail how the control system functions, a final summary and full flight test video, and wrapped the project up with a final code update post about a month later on September 21, 2015. I thoroughly enjoyed this project, and as I mentioned earlier, I find it so amusing that every Design Challenge somehow hosts a project that is similar, or almost identical to a project I am working on at the time as well. These days I have hung up my DIY quad copter adventures, and have invested in a couple premium consumer quads from DJI, but I must say that my experience building a few from scratch, definitely help me appreciate the work that went into this project.

 

 

That is going to conclude this summary. If you want to reread this project from its beginning, head over to this project's blog page for a listing of all of its updates. I want to know what some of your favorite projects here at Element14 were. Leave a comment below with a link to some of your favorite Design Challenge Projects, or any project from the past that was posted here at Element14, and you might see one of them in an upcoming summary post! Thanks for taking the time to read this post, and I will see you next week with a new Design Challenge Project Summary, until then, remember to hack the world and make awesome!

Welcome to a new series I am calling The Design Challenge Project Summaries: My Favorites. Over the next few weeks I will be reviewing some of my favorite projects from Design Challenges of the past. The article format will be slightly different than my traditional project summary post, and will not follow a strict chronological recap of the projects I feature here. Instead, I will highlight several of the best post from that project, and will offer my commentary on why I felt that the article’s featured project was so good. Some of these projects may be challenge winners, while some might not have even completely finished. I simply want to highlight some of the past work by our amazing community members, and hope that this series will help spark innovation in someone’s future project.

 

The subject of this week's focus is Project: Energy Efficient Victorian Home by Jay Morreale  (p-brane) from the Forget Me Not Design Challenge. This challenge kicked off in July of 2014, and is absolutely packed full of useful information. This was one of the first Design Challenges that I followed on a regular basis, and I have spent the last week looking back over all of the wonderful projects that were part of it. One of the things that I love about the Design Challenge’s here at Element14 is how diverse each challenge can be despite each project trying to achieve a very similar goal. Nowhere else on the internet can one find several different solutions to the same problem, and this is what drives innovation, and growth in the community!

 

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The inspiration for Jay’s project came from his 100+ year old home, which he has been improving upon over the last two decades. The biggest upgrade to the home has been his custom integration of smart systems to the home, and was the major focus of this project. In his first project update, Jay details several different systems in the home that he would like better digital control over including door locks, soldering iron power, cat feeding, and plant watering. He outlines the basics of how he will tackle each of these task and list out a bill of materials of the hardware that will be used in each of these sub-projects.

 

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The project’s second post was all about the EnOcean Pi kit that had recently arrived for this project. Jay walks his readers through a nice unboxing and overview of each component in the system, and the major sub-components of each of the sensor nodes. This post was pretty standard with a typical unboxing, but what made it so interesting for me was the reference listing at the bottom of the post. Jay took the time to list out each reference that he used to understand how the EnOcean PiEnOcean Pi system works. I spent well over an hour reading through the reference links, and learned a good bit from it.

 

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Things really began to heat up in update number three, with Jay getting the Raspberry PiRaspberry Pi and EnOcean Pi Sensor kitEnOcean Pi Sensor kit up and running. He kicked off the post with a short tutorial on how to install Raspbian on to an SD card, but what was more interesting was his failures with a few other SD cards he had on hand. Many of you might remember the incompatible card  issues that plagued SD card manufacturers a few years back, and it looks like Jay was right in the thick of it.

 

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With the SD card issues out of the way Jay moved on to setting up Raspbian and installing all of the required libraries for the EnOcean Pi suite, and the Friendly Home automation and Energy Measurement (FHEM) server. This post was an all around great update that walked its readers through the whole process, from burning the OS image to the SD Card, all the way to getting the EnOcean Pi running and sending data back to the server. This was the first time I heard of FHEM, and I am going to have to do some more research after publishing this article.

 

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In the project’s fourth update, Jay showed off his new Tektronix TBS1052B-EDUTektronix TBS1052B-EDU Oscilloscope a 50Mhz scope that is designed for instructors and students He showcases several of the scope’s features including the PC Course-ware software that allows teachers to build instructional courses based around the scope which can then be used to teach students on individual  TBS1052B-EDUTBS1052B-EDU scopes how to measure different things such as how to measure the audio output from the Raspberry Pi to building a function generator using the Raspberry Pi

 

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Update number five was all about the EnOcean EOP-350 Universal Programmer Board, and was one of the more technical Design Challenge post I have ever read. Using the EOP350 UPB, Jay wanted to learn more about the EOP350, the EnOcean sensors, and how the sensors behave when they power up. To figure all of this out, he spent the rest of the post running several test that helped him debug the Built-In-Self-Test error reported by the TCM320U transceiver module, and to learn more about the STM332U sensor module. Head over to the post to check out everything in more detail, because it is honestly a little bit over my head at the moment.

 

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PCB Design is one of my many guilty pleasures in this world, and that is what the focus of the project’s sixth update was based on. Using Eagle Cad, Jay was able to design the schematics of the different sensors that he needs to build for the project, and I must say that he did an excellent job at doing so. He even manages to work up a basic tutorial on how to use Eagle Cad for small projects. Jay even includes an image of a 3D Model of one of the custom designed PCB’s including all of the components. The 3D model was generated in a ULP plugin for Eagle called EagleUp, and then exported to Sketchup, and the final result can be seen by visiting this post.

 

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Update number seven focused on the Door Lock Monitor sub-project, and did quite a good job at blowing my mind when I first read it back in 2014. During the build of the door lock monitoring system, Jay used a sheet of magnetic field viewing film, and I has somehow never heard of such a thing. I remember it so vividly because I actually stopped reading this post and jumped on Ebay and ordered several sheets of the stuff much to the dismay of my wallet. The rest of the post was pretty much spot on in terms of documenting the full process of how Jay created the magnetically sensitive door lock monitoring system, and I must say that his solution using the bolt and magnetic spring were simply brilliant.

 

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Update number eight was something that I think many of us would find interesting, if not handy. Jay used a 10k Ohm NTC Thermistor and a 10k Ohm resistor connected together to form a resistor divider, which was then connected to a piece of copper wire that was formed in such a way it would heat up when he placed his soldering iron inside of its stand. This allows him to send data back to FHEM, which can be viewed from his smartphone and used to determine of the soldering station was left turned on. I have thought of building something conceptually similar in my own lab, which would also be connected to a WiFi enabled outlet, which would allow me to turn the soldering station off remotely if I needed to.

 

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With the door lock monitor, and the soldering station monitor built, it was time for Jay to move on to the soil moisture monitor for his system. Instead of going solely with a conductivity based system like many projects use, Jay came up with an entirely new way of determining soil moisture levels. Using the STM-332U Temperature Sensor Module, he developed a system that is placed at the top of a tube that has been perforated below the surface. The idea being that the moisture in the soil would seep into the tube, evaporate, and raise the humidity levels inside the electronics housing at the top of the tube. This method looks like it may be totally viable after his initial test results, but I do wonder if this system actually dries out the soil faster than a traditional “2 nail” setup.

 

In his final update, Jay built the final sub-project to his system, and it was actually portion of the entire project that earned him second place in this challenge. The Cat Feed Monitor was designed to help Jay determine if his pet cat had been fed or not, and utilized a combination of force sensors to measure the weight of the food bowl, as well as a capacitive touch sensor to determine if the cat is touching the bowl, indicating if it is currently feeding. This is another one of those Design Challenge projects that I feel is quite innovative. We have several pets in my home, and with my significant other and I having different schedules, it is often hard to tell which animals have been fed, and which have not. A system like this would make both of our lives a lot easier, so maybe I will try to build something similar soon.

 

 

That is going to conclude this summary. If you want to reread this project from its beginning, head over to Jay’s summary of the project to get a list of links to all of the project’s updates. I want to know what some of your favorite projects here at Element14 were. Leave a comment below with a link to some of your favorite Design Challenge Projects, or any project from the past that was posted here at Element14, and you might see one of them in an upcoming summary post! Thanks for taking the time to read this post, and I will see you next week with a new Design Challenge Project Summary, until then, remember to hack the world and make awesome!

SAM_0049.JPG

 

Welcome to a new series I am calling The Design Challenge Project Summaries: My Favorites. Over the next few weeks I will be reviewing some of my favorite projects from Design Challenges of the past. The article format will be slightly different than my traditional project summary post, and will not follow a strict chronological recap of the projects I feature here. Instead, I will highlight several of the best post from that project, and will offer my commentary on why I felt that the article’s featured project was so good. Some of these projects may be challenge winners, while some might not have even completely finished. I simply want to highlight some of the past work by our amazing community members, and hope that this series will help spark innovation in someone’s future project.

 

The subject of this weeks focus is Project: Iron Man Helmet by Jordan Cowley (malakai) (his dads account) from the Hats Off Challenge which was sponsored by Adafruit. This challenge kicked off in August of 2014, and it was one of the first Design Challenges that caught my attention. I remember thinking about how fun of a challenge it must be for the competitors. At the time, I was big into the Hack-A-Thon scene, and I kind of looked at this challenge as a long hack-a-thon that took place on a global scale. It was not long after that, that I found myself checking back daily for updates on all of the projects.

 

The one project that really caught my eye was the Iron Man Helmet that Jordan was building. This project really stood out to be because I had spent the last few months designing, 3D printing, and wiring up a realistic prop arc reactor with the goal to go as Iron Man to a Super Hero themed party that I had been invited to. Unlike Jordan’s project, mine was derailed when I found myself founding a startup with some friends, and all of my free time disappeared. I did manage to cut my goatee short, and finish the arc reactor. I wore it under a grey t-shirt, spiked my hair with some gel and attended the party as a slightly overweight Tony Stark.

 

 

Jordan kicked off the build with a fairly long video where he discussed the helmet, and how he plans to implement many of the features that you can see in the movie. The basic shape of the helmet had already been built before this video was filmed, and Jordan used Pepakura to print out the helmet's pieces on paper, and then use cardboard shapes cut from the printed templates to form the helmets shape. As I mentioned earlier, at the time, I was designing my own Iron Man costume, and had trying to model an Iron Man helmet for my 3D printer for weeks. When I learned about Pepakura from this project, I pumped the brakes on my design, and started building my folded paper helmet.

 

“Who needs laser cutters when you have your hands and a ruler?”

 

What I really appreciated about this project was the videos that Jordan made. The 18-minute video in this first post was very informative even though it was a bit rough. Jordan covered a lot of info about where he will be placing the Gemma hardware, as well as LEDs, and other components that will help bring the helmet to life. He went on to talk about sections of the helmet that he would need to modify to make it fit onto his head easily while still retaining the proper look. I especially appreciated Jordan's attention to detail when it came to matching the helmet’s features to the suit used in the movies. For example, he mentions that he will add NeoPixel LEDsNeoPixel LEDs to the inside of the helmet to add a blue ambient glow to his face much like you see on Tony Stark’s face when you see him inside the suit using its user interface.

 

 

One of my favorite aspects of the Design Challenges is watching the physical build process. This is true for both hardware and other physical building parts of the project. Watching people solder components to a protot board, hot gluing some foam core together, or even creating a hard fiberglass shell around an Iron Man helmet is just one of the things that I like to do when I need to relax. I am not sure if this is because I enjoy watching other people’s techniques, or if I just enjoy watching people build things in general. I have a strong suspicion that it is a bit of both combined to tell the truth.

 

 

Watching Jordan lay the fiberglass layer onto the helmet was a real treat, and as I re-watched the video in preparation for this post, I could not help but reminisce back to when I was a teenager working with fiberglass for the first time while helping my grandfather repair his boat. These days we really take the hard work, and nice production values that professional YouTubers put into their videos for granted, and I found both of the videos from this second post very refreshing. Jordan covers the fiber-glassing process very well, and his unrehearsed style adds a real sense of a true DIY project to the video. He even covers all of the safety measures that needed to be taken when working with volatile, toxic chemicals such as polyester resin.

 

 

In update number three, Jordan showed us his plans for the electronic components that will be packed into the helmet. As you can see from the video above, he starts out by showing off the Adafruit Gemma and the rest of the starter kit that he was given for the project. Utilizing some source code from Adafruit’s own Arc Reactor project, he was able to demonstrate the Gemma running a blue pulse animation on a neopixel. Just a few days before this post, I too had used this code to test the NeoPixel ring that was encased in resin on my 3D printed arc reactor.

 

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Jordan also provided a wiring schematic that showed how he will be wiring up the NeoPixel LEDs, the on/off switch, a lithium-ion battery, and the Adafruit Gemma. As you can see, the circuit is fairly simple, with the three NeoPixels being connected to a single pin on the Gemma, and the switch breaking the 3v line from the battery to the Gemma. He finished off the video by detailing where the Gemma will be placed, and how he plans to add foam to the inside of the helmet to improve comfort, as well as fit. This was about the point that I started rebuilding my own helmet, and had decided to use a Gemma, and a similar sized battery so that I could hide both of them inside the ear piece on mine as well. I had also considered using the support system from a construction hard hat, but this post made me reconsider that in lieu of foam just due to it being a much simpler solution.

 

 

The next update came a little later than Jordan would have liked, but as we all know, life does get in the way from time to time. Nonetheless, he pushed through, and spent a lot of time refining the helmet’s shape, and prepping everything for a final fiber-glassing session. He was able to straighten out the helmet using sing several pieces of plastic that he glued to different section. That was actually a very clever way to handle that situation. In my own project I actually used layers of foam core to straighten things out, and then carved away the excess, a process that turned out to be time consuming, and added unnecessary bulk to my helmet. He also clued us in on where he got the clear thin plastic used for the helmet’s eyes. The secret is to up-cycle the thin clear plastic from something like a retail box from a pair of headphones. I used the lenses from a pair of safety glasses on my helmet, but this idea would work great if you did not want to ruin a good pair of glasses.

 

 

I mentioned earlier that I had never heard of Pepakura until I began following this project, and that is one of the major things I love about the Design Challenge series here at Element14. I have been doing the “maker” thing professionally for almost a decade now, and I still learn new tips, tricks and methods with almost every project that I follow. In his fifth update, Jordan walked us through the process of using Pepakura to select components of a design to print out. What is so cool about this program is the fact that you can build some very complex 3D projects using nothing but regular printer paper and a little glue. I must say that some of the tips that Jordan shared on the best way to assemble the flat 2D pieces into 3D objects really had me feeling like an idiot. I printed out my helmet’s parts about 10 different times due to a combination of me not really reading a tutorial on how to assemble the shapes, and just dumb mistakes. This video would have saved me several hours, and a lot of printer ink!

 

 

Jordan included two videos in this update, with the second covering the resin coating process for the newly created ears for the helmet. This was again one of those videos that I wish I would have watched before I began coating the parts on my own helmet. I layed down a layer of resin and fiberglass instead of just resin by itself. This was a bad thing for me because I spent way too much time trying to cut the fiberglass mat exactly perfect, and the weight of the resin, and fiberglass cloth was too much for some pieces. He finished out the video by showing us some of the bondo-ing process on the helmet.

Update: Oct 19, 2016

 

 

In the next update, Jordan worked on building the project’s electronics housing by up-cycling a piece of clear plastic from an old Tupperware dish.  He did admit to making a small mistake on the housing, but he says things will still work out as he wanted, so he decided to keep moving forward instead of starting over. He even made the earpiece fit inside the plastic dish so that it would be easily removable to make servicing the electronics easier once the helmet is complete.

 

 

With the earpiece all finished up, Jordan was able to move on to cutting out the back of the helmet so that it would be easy to put on as well as remove from his head. The cut was made using a battery powered Dremel rotary tool, and as always, Jordan left a thorough safety warning in both the post as well as the video. Back when I first watched this video, the full length cutting shot was a little long-in-the-tooth for me, but after watching (and making) time lapsed cut-scenes where actual work is being done in modern DIY videos, this real-time portion of the video was actually quite refreshing.

 

 

Bondo was the subject of the next post, and in true Jordan fashion, he starts off the video talking about the safety process that should be adopted when working with bondo. While I personally feel that bondo is a little safer than he makes it out to be, it is a material that should be used with the proper safety precautions. Once the actual bondo-ing process got started, Jordan explained how to use the bondo to smooth out and shape the helmets surface. Unfortunately he had to cut this video short because of a pending trip with his family. Overall, if you have never used bondo before, this is a decent video to watch, as it has a few tips and tricks that may help you along in your project.

 

 

Everyone’s favorite part of a project that involves bondo is sanding things smooth right? As someone who has done his share of custom bodywork on cars, and who builds a lot of woodworking projects, I can attest to how laborious, and annoying the sanding process can be. After his trip, Jordan returned to the project and began sanding down the bondo that he applied to the helmet in the last update. The one redeeming thing about the long process of sanding things down is that as you work the sandpaper, you begin to see the final shape of your project begin to take shape, and as the video progresses, you can see the mask’s hard lines begin to become more defined, and the Iron Man look begin to take shape. Jordan spent a lot of time sanding the bondo down because he got it a little too thick in spots, and he mentioned that applying thin layers, and sanding between each layer would have been a better idea. A tip I can offer is that if you must lay on the bondo thick, a surform rasp can be used to thin and shape the thick clumps of bondo when it reaches its “rubber-like” stage just before it hardens, which is a trick Iearned from a master car audio installer back in my youth.

 

 

The project’s next update was all about finishing the helmet’s surface and getting everything painted. Jordan says that it took him about a week of straight sanding to get the fit and finish that he wanted, and he was not worried about pinholes and small imperfections, as some spot putty and primer would take care of them. This was another video that I thoroughly enjoyed watching, as Jordan covered the whole process from primer to spot putty to painting. There was a small goof-up with the wrong color gold, but he found a color that was close enough to work after a few days break. The one big lesson that he learned was to always spray very light coats of paint to avoid bubbles, drips, and poor surface finish in general. Jordan originally painted a single heavy coat on the face portion of the mask, and had to spend a lot of time sanding it back down.

 

 

With the helmet painted, it was time to install the magnets that hold the helmet together when it’s being worn. Jordan used some magnetic tape to hold the face onto the helmet, and it seemed to work fairly well. Personally I would have used rare earth magnets, but this method works just fine, and the end result does not look bad at all. He included a second video that details his process for securing the back-plate to the helmet after it has been placed on the head. Instead of magnets this time, Jordan used some straps and buckles to hold things in place. Personally I would have used magnets for this as well, but I never made it to this part of my own project. However, this method seemed to work fine, but Jordan does state that it is quite hard to get off and on, and that a friend may be required to remove it if your head is larger than his.

 

 

My favorite part of any build is the final steps to completion, and this usually includes the final electronic components being installed and that is what Jordan’s next update was all about. This was a rather long video, but Jordan covered everything from snaking the wiring through the helmet, installing the NeoPixel LEDsNeoPixel LEDs, and fitting in the GemmaGemma. In the end, this process took more than three hours to complete, and he ended the video so that he could focus on finishing up the soldering process.

 

 

In his final update, Jordan debuted the final Iron Man helmet. He says that the project took him almost a year and a half to complete, and its bill of materials totaled a few hundred dollars. The end result was quite impressive to say the least for someone who had built this in their garage with little to no previous experience, tools, or help. The video above speaks volumes as to how cool this helmet turned out, and I can not be more proud of Jordan for finishing it up. I feel that many of us forget where we started in this hobby, or even our career, and this project has definitely reminded me of my  humble beginnings. I am not sure if I will ever revisit my own Iron Man helmet project, but revisiting this project has really sparked a desire in me to create something with Pepakura again.

 

That is going to conclude my summary of project Iron Man Helmet. If you want to reread this project from its beginning, head over to Jordan’s content page to read all of his updates and to watch all of the videos. I want to know what some of your favorite projects here at Element14 were. Leave a comment below with a link to some of your favorite Design Challenge Projects, or any project from the past that was posted here at Element14, and you might see one of them in an upcoming summary post! Thanks for taking the time to read this post, and I will see you next week with a new Design Challenge Project Summary, until then, remember to hack the world and make awesome!

The Challenge

 

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Before I get into the rest of this update, let's take a moment and talk about what this challenge was all about. The Pi IoT Smarter Spaces Design Challenge was the second official design challenge of 2016, and challenges its contestants, and anyone else who wished to participate to create a command center to control all the IoT devices in their favorite space - their entire home, a work-space, a media room or even an outdoor space.

 

Fifteen projects were chosen to participate, with their creators receiving an official challenger kit that contains the sponsored hardware that must be used to create their projects. The challenge was not limited to these thirteen people though, and anyone can enter their project into the challenge, but they will need to use a Raspberry Pi 3Raspberry Pi 3 in the design along with some of the other sponsored items that are included in the official challenger kit. More information about the kit can be found in this post outlining all of the hardware the challengers receive. Additionally, the challenge’s terms and conditions which can be found here.

 

 

The challengers were competing to win an awesome assortment of prizes, including a CEL - Robox 3D Printer, and an assortment of tools from Duratool. More information on the prizes can be found here.

 

 

The Challengers and Their Projects

 

 

The Winners

Pi IoT 3rd Place Winner3rd Place - Project Plant Health Smart Camera by Gerrit Polder (gpolder).

 

 

Taking home the third place trophy is Gerrit Polder with his project Plant Health Smart Camera, one of the most innovative agriculture-based IoT projects I have seen in a long time. The utilization of OpenCV, and comparisons of images taken in different spectrum's of light truly amazed me. I could see Gerrit teaming up with one of the challengers from last year’s Vertical Farming Design Challenge, to create a truly automated vertical farm, and maybe we will see some inspiration from this project make its way into a future smart farming project. Much like the other two top projects, Gerrit was masterful at documenting the progress of this project, and I felt that it was easy to follow along with at home. If you would like to read more of this project, please head over to its main blog page!

 

 

Pi IoT Second Place Winner2nd Place - Project Thuis by Robin Eggenkamp (rhe123).

 

 

Thius by Robin Eggenkamp is one of those projects that you simply fall in love with as an engineer. Its clean execution, excellent documentation, and ability to be easily replicated at home makes it the trifecta of perfection. Robin did an amazing job of bringing his original concept to life, and I commend him on such an excellent execution.  As I mentioned in my opening paragraphs, I was inspired by many of the projects in this challenge, and Thius was full of inspiration for me. It even helped me work out an issue with MQTT I had been puzzled with for a few weeks, even though we are using two different “back-ends,” Open HAB and Thuis. Head over to the project’s main blog page to read it from the beginning.

 

Pi IoT Grand Prize Winner1st Place - Project IoT Alarm Clock by Frederick Vandenbosch(fvan).

 

 

Frederick’s IoT Alarm Clock  is one of the most polished projects I have seen posted to any of the Design Challenges since I started covering them last year. The clean lines of the wood enclosure, combined with the feature rich interface that he built to control his smart home was simply second to none. Each of Frederick’s update blogs were clean, consistent, and very informative for both engineers and hobbyists. Furthermore, his ability to document every aspect of the project made things very simple for those at home to follow along for themselves. To top all of this off, Frederick actually moved to a new home mid-way through his project’s build, making the end result even more impressive. To read through the entire project, head over to its blog page.

 

 

My Other Top Projects

 

As you can guess, I picked IoT Alarm Clock, Thuis, and Plant Health Camera as my top three projects, but I wanted to showcase a few more that I felt were exceptional in their concept and execution. I am not listing these in any particular order, but I would like to emphasize that the projects I list below were great projects, that with a little refinement may have entered into the top three ranks.

 

 

Smart Competition Home by Caterina Lazaro (clazarom)

 

 

I really enjoyed this project, and it’s fresh approach to making a smart home even smarter. Innovation is very hard to come by in the smart home world, as everyone is chomping at the bit to become the most refined version of whatever aspect of the smart home they are working on. When I first read Caterina’s proposal I knew this project had massive potential and the concept of integrating a fitness competition into the daily lives of those residing in the home was one of the most innovative ideas in recent design challenge history. I can honestly say that I looked forward to each and every update that Caterina made to this project. Head over to its main blog page to read through the entire project.

 

 

Project DomPi by Sergio Martinez (mg.sergio)

 

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When I talk about gaining inspiration to create my own smart home interface because of this challenge. Over the years I have written many tutorials on acquiring environment data using Arduinos, Beagle Bones, Raspberry Pis and almost every other mainstream development board you can name, but the one thing that I never got around to doing was gathering that data remotely and aggregating it to a single user interface. Sergio’s sensor integration using arduino’s and MQTT in the beginning of the challenge was what started the gears in my head turning. I really enjoyed watching this project progress over the last few months, and I will be incorporating many of its aspects into my own smart home. If you too have been inspired to create your own Smarter Space, please read through the project by visiting its blog page.

 

 

Project Henrietta LCARS by Douglas Wong (dougw)

 

 

While he was not one of the chosen fifteen sponsored challengers, Douglas Wong is no stranger to the hallowed halls of design challenge fame. Doug took the initiative to continue forward with his project even though his proposal was not accepted to become sponsored, and what developed can only be described by two words , EPIC  AWESOMENESS!  Designed around a Star Trek theme, project Star Trek IoT Alcove is packed full of graphical beauty, and some functionality. Doug knew that he would not finish the project by the challenge’s deadline, but it was never about finishing, or even competing to win, but rather to show off this awesome idea that he had came up with. I must say that the GUI that Doug has created for this project really takes things to a new level, and I really hope to continue to see progress on this project over the next couple of months. Head over to the project's main blog page to check out all of the cool Star Trek Themed user interfaces!

 

 

The Stats

    • Total Applications Submitted: 151
    • Total Sponsored Projects: 15
    • Total Independent Projects: 1
    • Total Projects Completed: 8
    • Total Projects Abandoned: 2
    • Total Blog Post Updates: 203
    • Total Videos Posted: 40
    • Project with the most updates: The MuZIEum project with 24 total Updates
    • Project with the least updates: Project GeriTrakPi IoT with 0 updates.

 

The Links

 

Below are links to each piece of content I wrote that pertained to this challenge.

 

Weekly Summaries

 

Project Summaries

 

Announcements

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

 

As I mentioned in the Pi IoT Smarter Spaces Winners Announcement, this challenge was one of the best that I have had the pleasure of covering, and I am still blown away at the amount of participation that occurred. Part of my brain wants to attribute some of this challenge’s success to the ease of use that a Raspberry Pi provides, but in all honesty, I think that the challengers are the reason for such a constant and steady flow of updates being posted each week. Each participant in this challenge was passionate about creating the ultimate smart space, and when you combine passion with the right hardware, the result is exactly what we saw here. Additionally, the amount of comradery between challengers was astonishing, and I followed each comment, and side posting that was made, and that is what makes Element14 the best engineering community on the internet. Instead of fighting, bickering, or participating in drama, everyone here gets along, helps each other out, and is always there to provide advice based on experience or theory.

 

Over the course of the past fifteen weeks, I have felt like I was watching a family grow, and it honestly feels like I know each of the competitors personally. I even befriended a few of the challengers after asking them for advice on my own home automation project. That is what makes these challenges so great, and the fact that we can all share advice, only makes us stronger as engineers, makers, and hobbyist, and I am proud to be apart of such an awesome community.

 

The best thing about this challenge is that the projects can continue on for years to come, with new control systems being integrated, software revisions being coded, and more and more household items getting connected to the Internet of Things. I am sure that, like me, everyone enjoys the quick, one-off, projects that once finished either collect dust, or get recycled into new projects, but for me the real satisfaction comes from those projects I can use for years to come, and the projects in this challenge will serve each contestant for many years going forward.

 

Congratulations to Frederick, Gerrit, and Robin for their top place finishes. I want to thank everyone who took the time out of their busy schedules to be a part of this challenge, and for creating so much inspiration. The tutorials, examples, and concepts that were generated during the past fifteen weeks will inspire others for many years to come, and I am sure we are all excited to see what the future holds for both the connected home, as well as the Internet of Things. That is going to wrap up my coverage of the Pi IoT Smarter Spaces Design Challenge. The next challenge will be announced very soon, and I can not wait to see what is in store for our next set of challengers! Thanks again for taking the time to read this post, and please leave a comment below about your favorite moment from this challenge. I will be back in just a few days with another Design Challenge Project Summary, so until then, Hack The World and Make Awesome! Pi IoT Smarter Spaces Winners Announcement!

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Welcome to week 35 of the 2016 Design Challenge series here at Element14! I want to start off by apologizing for this posting being so tardy, but I wanted to wait until the Pi IoT Smarter Spaces Design Challenge was officially closed before posting. This was the most productive week ever of all of the Design Challenges that have taken place here at Element14, and It has taken me quite a long time to read through them all. I would like to take a moment and thank everyone who participated in the challenge, and would like to congratulate everyone who was able to finish their project on time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pi IoT Smarter Spaces

 

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Before I get into this week's updates, let's take a moment and talk about what this new challenge is all about. The Pi IoT Smarter Spaces Design Challenge is the second official design challenge of 2016, and challenges its contestants, and anyone else who wishes to participate to Create a command center to control all the IoT devices in your favorite space - your entire home, a workspace, a media room or even an outdoor space. More information can be found at the challenge's official Terms and Conditions page.

 

Fifteen projects were chosen to participate, with their creators receiving an official challenger kit that contains the sponsored hardware that must be used to create their projects. The challenge is not limited to these thirteen people though, and anyone can enter their project into the challenge, but you will need to use a Raspberry Pi 3Raspberry Pi 3 in your design along with some of the other sponsored items that are included in the official challenger kit. More information can be found on the kit in this post outlining all of the hardware the challengers receive.

 

 

The challengers are competing to win an awesome assortment of prizes, including a CEL - Robox 3D Printer CEL - Robox 3D Printer, and an assortment of tools from Duratool. More information on the prizes can be found here.

 

 

This Week's Updates

 

In the past eight days (August 22 - August 29) we have seen a total of fifty updates made to thirteen out of the fourteen projects. Every project but one had regular updates throughout the competition, making this one of the most active challenges we have seen so far. Below is a listing of the projects that were updated with a link to their main blog page.

 

 

 

This Week’s Top Updates

 

As I mentioned earlier, I am completely humbled by the amount of activity that this challenge saw over the course of the last few months. I will admit that I was a little let down by the lack of participation in the the last two design challenges, but the challengers of the Pi IoT Smarter Spaces challenge have completely restored my love for these challenges. As mentioned above, we had a total of fifty updates in the past seven days, so with so many projects being updated, I have chose to feature five of my favorite updates this week. I urge everyone to head over to the challenge’s content page, and check out all of the updates from this week!

 

 

Project Smart Competition Home #5: Central Node Upgrade

 

 

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In previous post, Caterina Lazaro (clazarom) has completed most of the components of her Smart Competition home, but still needs to start the development of the competition system. This means that she needs to upgrade the systems central node to improve the GUI as well as get things set up to begin development of the competition system. Using Python, and a cloud-based dashboard called Plotly, Caterina was able to get a simple solution working. She did have some issues with the program crashing out after a length of time, only to find out that the free version of Plotly limits the number of API calls that one can make per day. When her system had exhausted her daily quota, the system would simply quit working. She says that “I want to refresh the GUI in a regular basis, and, even if I can regulate and minimize the number of request, I would prefer finding another solution. For now, though, I will keep the static temperature image in the GUI (until I design a better solution!).” The post goes on to detail how she set up a webserver on the Raspberry Pi 3 using PHP and MySQL.

 

Project Thuis #12: Installing a Z-Wave dimmer

 

 

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In project Thuis’ twelfth update, Robin Eggenkamp (rhe123) pens a nice tutorial on how to install a fully controllable light dimmer switch into his home. Utilizing some off the shelf Z-Wave components, he built a nice bedroom light that he can control with Thuis using Z-Way and MQTT to talk between the switch and the control hardware. I chose to feature this post because I recently (just last week) had my first experience with Z-Wave devices, and installed two similar systems in my bedroom and home office to control with OpenHAB. This is a great tutorial if you would like to install your own smart-light switch that can dim both traditional, and LED light bulbs.

 

Project Simone - #4 - Power consumption statistics and control

 

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Taking our third spot this week is project Simone by Cosmin Glodean (bosc), and in this installment, we learn how energy monitoring and control over circuits that may be using more electricity than desired. Using a current sensing breakout board, Cosmin was able to get some data on how much energy a specific circuit was consuming in the home, but we will have to wait until later to see how this information is integrated into Simone.

 

Project Internet of Your Things: Internet of Music Players

 

 

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Ever since the Raspberry Pi 3Raspberry Pi 3 was released, we have seen dozens of DIY portable Bluetooth speaker, and internet radio projects being created, and Vishnu Raj (vish), has brought his own version of the DIY internet radio to his project. In installment number seven of Internet of Your Things, Vishnu utilizes Mpoidy, a Rapsberry Pi 3, and a pair of small speakers to build a great music player. “Mopidy is much more than a normal music player. I makes your music device accessible from web and also enables it to stream content from web like spotify, Google Play Music etc,” he said. “The best part - you can access your music player from your smartphone or tab or from PC.”

 

 

Project Alarm Clock #19: Kiosk

 

 

 

With most of his project finished, Frederick Vandenbosch (fvan) has moved on to refining the UI experience for his Alarm Clock. With the Raspberry Pi 7-Inch Touch ScreenRaspberry Pi 7-Inch Touch Screen having a native resolution of just 800x480 pixels, every millimeter of space counts, so the decision was made to use the Chromium browser as the host for the UI due to its Kiosk feature. Just like so many of his other post, Frederick walks us through the process of installing Chromium, and then how to set it to run in Kiosk mode. I have used this mode in the past on a project where I had to design a simply survey kiosk for a client, and it works great if you have a touch screen interface. Head over to the link above to read more on how to get Kiosk mode working on your project!

 

 

That is going to wrap things up for this installment of the Design Challenge Weekly Summary here at Element14.  This entire challenge was one for the record books. I do not recall when I saw so much work from almost all of the challengers on a weekly basis! I am simply humbled by the amount of amazing projects that were created over the last three months. Remember to head over to the challenge’s main blog page to view each of the updates from this week. As always, I will be back next week with more project summaries, and will return to covering the Design Challenges when they resume, until then remember to Hack The World, and Make Awesome!

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Welcome to week 34 of the 2016 Design Challenge series here at Element14! With just over a week left in the Pi IoT Smarter Spaces Design Challenge, the challengers have posted what has to be a record for the most updates in a single seven-day period. This challenge is one of the most active that we have had in awhile, with more than ten project updates being posted per week for the last several weeks. That means that   we have a lot of updates to cover this week, but before we jump into this week's featured updates, we have some news to share from the Make Life Accessible Design Challenge.

 

Make Life Accessible

 

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This week the winners of the Make Life Accessible Challenge were announced. Douglas Wong (dougw) took home the grand prize with his project Clear Walk. This means that Doug’s project will be featured on an episode of The Ben Heck Show, in addition to winning a sweet VR setup from Oculus, and a GoPro Hero 4! Scott Coppersmith (rsc) finished second with his project ELapShelf, and takes home a VR package from Oculus as well. Ambrogio Galbusera (amgalbu) was awarded third place for his and his project, EyePrints, and takes home a GoPro Hero Session.

 

I would like to thank everyone who participated in this challenge, and hope to see all of its participants in future Design Challenges. As everyone knows, I follow the Design Challenges religiously, and read every word of every update that is posted to each project, and I was very impressed by all three of the winners. This is true for all of the other challengers who worked hard to create so many awesome accessibility devices. If you would like to revisit this challenge, head over to its main blog page! Alternatively, you can quickly catch up with all three of the winning projects by visiting their respective project summary at the links below.

 

 

 

 

Pi IoT Smarter Spaces

 

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Before I get into this week's updates, let's take a moment and talk about what this new challenge is all about. The Pi IoT Smarter Spaces Design Challenge is the second official design challenge of 2016, and challenges its contestants, and anyone else who wishes to participate to Create a command center to control all the IoT devices in your favorite space - your entire home, a workspace, a media room or even an outdoor space. More information can be found at the challenge's official Terms and Conditions page.

 

Fifteen projects were chosen to participate, with their creators receiving an official challenger kit that contains the sponsored hardware that must be used to create their projects. The challenge is not limited to these thirteen people though, and anyone can enter their project into the challenge, but you will need to use a Raspberry Pi 3 in your design along with some of the other sponsored items that are included in the official challenger kit. More information can be found on the kit in this post outlining all of the hardware the challengers receive.

 

 

The challengers are competing to win an awesome assortment of prizes, including a CEL - Robox 3D Printer, and an assortment of tools from Duratool. More information on the prizes can be found here.

 

 

This Week's Updates

 

In the past seven days (August 15 - August 21) we have seen a total of eighteen updates made to a total of nine projects. Below is a listing of those projects with a link to their main blog page.

 

This Week’s Top Updates

 

As I mentioned earlier, I am blown away by the number of updates that were posted this week! I am very happy to see so much participation in this challenge, and can not wait to see all of the finished projects! Usually, by this point, I can pretty much guess the top three projects, but with so many good projects, it is anyone’s guess who will come out on top!

 

With so many projects being updated, I have chosen to feature three of my favorite updates this week, and I tossed an honorable mention in for good measure. I urge everyone to head over to the challenge’s content page, and check out all of the updates from this week!

 

Project Simone - #1 - Light Controller

 

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It’s not often that we see a Design Challenge project publish its first update with just over two weeks to go, much less its first three post so close to the end, but that is exactly what happened this week. Project Simone, by Cosmin Goldean (bosc), hit the ground running at full speed this week, and coincidentally it’s first update post was my top pick for this week. While I am a little disappointed that this project is getting started with such little time left in the challenge, I am impressed with the inclusion of circuit schematics in the first post. All too often we chose pre-made modules, development boards, and all-in-one chips to speed up the hardware portion of a project, and when I see someone designing their own circuits it really makes me smile. Cosmin showed off the circuit designs for a relay board, lighting controller, and ammeter that will be used in the project, and to top things off, the eagle design files are posted at the bottom of this update for everyone to download!

 

Pi Control Hub: Setting up Home Assistant+Controlling  Philips hue

 

 

Carmelito Andrade (carmelito) is back on our list this week with his project Pi Control Hub. With the three main “spokes” of his hub complete, he Carmelito moved on to making everything communicate together using Home-Assistant.io. He walks us through the steps to gather data from Yahoo’s weather API, the exchange rate of Bitcoins, lighting automation via a trigger when your phone is detected via Bluetooth, and a few more awesome features. Much like many of Carmelito’s other project updates, this one is packed full of helpful commands, source code, and information rich images, so head over to the link above to read the full update.

 

 

Project Thuis #11: Final implementation UI design

 

 

My final top update for this week is project Thuis by Robin Eggenkamp (rhe123). This week we got treated to the final UI design implementation, and as you can see in the video above, it actually pretty features rich. “In the demo you can see the different screens on both an iPad and an iPhone. At the bottom you can see the MQTT messages being send and received. Notice that when clicking a button a message is send to the set-topic (for example Thuis/device/living/moodTop/set) by the iOS app. Then a message is received on the status topic for that device (Thuis/device/living/moodTop), which is sent by Zway,” Robin said. “When a scene is triggered (in this case Mood, which are the mood lights in the living room) you see the Core sends a message for each device in that scene. The status is also reflected on the iPhone. The slider for the main light in the dining sends out messages every time when you pause for a tenth of a second.”

 

 

Project Pi Control Hub:Spoke3: Keyless Door entry

 

 

Carmelito also gains my honorable mention for this update in which he showcases the keyless door entry system that was worked on in a previous update. Along with the video above, Carmelito posted the .STL files that he used to 3D Print the housing for the Raspberry Pi 3 and servo. He even went as far as listing out the settings he used in Slic3r to print the parts on his Flashforge Creator Pro. Be sure to watch the video above, and then head over to the blog post to check out how the printed parts turned out.

 

 

That is going to wrap things up for this installment of the Design Challenge Weekly Summary here at Element14.  This week was full of very well written updates, and as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I am very impressed with the quality of the updates in this challenge.  Massive respect goes out to everyone who has worked so hard at this challenge to make it one of the most active Design Challenges in quite some time. Remember to head over to the challenge’s main blog page to view each of the updates from this week. As always, I will be back next week with another installment, until then remember to Hack The World, and Make Awesome!

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Welcome to week 33 of the 2016 Design Challenge series here at Element14! With just a few weeks left in the Pi IoT Smarter Spaces Design Challenge, the challengers have shifted into high gear in an effort to complete their projects on time. This challenge is one of the most active that we have had in awhile, with more than ten project updates being posted per week for the last few weeks. That means that this week we have a lot of updates to cover, so let's jump right in and get started.

 

Pi IoT Smarter Spaces

 

39a145b1044781662d081e2d3c637f02_XL.jpg

 

Before I get into this week's updates, let's take a moment and talk about what this new challenge is all about. The Pi IoT Smarter Spaces Design Challenge is the second official design challenge of 2016, and challenges its contestants, and anyone else who wishes to participate to Create a command center to control all the IoT devices in your favorite space - your entire home, a workspace, a media room or even an outdoor space. More information can be found at the challenge's official Terms and Conditions page.

 

Fifteen projects were chosen to participate, with their creators receiving an official challenger kit that contains the sponsored hardware that must be used to create their projects. The challenge is not limited to these thirteen people though, and anyone can enter their project into the challenge, but you will need to use a Raspberry Pi 3Raspberry Pi 3 in your design along with some of the other sponsored items that are included in the official challenger kit. More information can be found on the kit in this post outlining all of the hardware the challengers receive.

 

 

The challengers are competing to win an awesome assortment of prizes, including a CEL - Robox 3D Printer, and an assortment of tools from Duratool. More information on the prizes can be found here.

 

 

This Week's Updates

 

In the past seven days (August 8 - August 14) we have seen a total of thirteen updates made to a total of nine projects. Below is a listing of those projects with a link to their main blog page.

 

 

This Week’s Top Updates

 

 

We had a lot of updates this week, and may have even set a record for the most individual projects updated in one week. With so many projects being updated, I have chosen to feature three of my favorite updates this week, and I tossed an honorable mention in for good measure. I am very impressed with the progress the projects are making, and urge everyone to head over to the challenge’s content page, and check out all of the updates!

 

Project DomPi 11: Ready to use. Garage node (master & slave)

 

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Project DomPi pushed forward this week with Sergio Martinez (mg.sergio) continuing work on the project’s Garage Node in update number eleven. Much of this update centered around figuring out a workaround with the issues he experienced in update number 10 with the TFT screen. “Due to some incompatibilities of my TFT LCD with the SPI protocol - very probably it is not releasing the bus when the device is not addressed by the chip -, the RF24 board was not working properly. Both devices, the screen, and the RF, are key components of the Garage node and hence, I could not sacrifice any,” he said. “I have not found any potential solution rather than the workaround to separate the TFT and the RF24, connecting them to two different Arduinos and interconnecting the Arduinos with I2C.”

 

 

Project Smarter Spaces #4 - Remote Horse Feeder System

 

 

Jon Morss (jomoenginer ) is back after almost a month-long a new update to project Remote Horse Feeder System. In this update he covers the process he used to hack a iLumi Br30 bluetooth low energy LED light and how he is controlling it from OpenHAB via BlueZ and the EnOcean Rocker switch included in his challenger kit. He covered the entire process except for the installation of BlueZ as it has been covered thoroughly in the past here at Element14. In the event you have not seen one of these earlier tutorials, you can find one here.

 

 

Project Alarm Clock #14: Front Panel

 

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My third featured update is yet another post from Frederick Vandenbosch (fvan) and his project, Alarm Clock. Utilizing his ShapeOko2 Desktop CNC machine, he milled out a faceplace for his intelligent alarm clock from a solid block of wood. Using Inventable’s software, Easel, he was able to easily design the faceplate and then mill the design out on the CNC. I use Easel with my X-Carve CNC, and it is perfect for something like this. If the faceplate would have been much more complex, Frederick would have had to design the faceplate in a program like Adobe Illustrator, or Inkscape. To see how the faceplate turned out, and pictures of the milling process, head over to the update at the link above.

 

 

Project Plant Health Camera #7 - Synchronizing the cameras

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I wanted to give an honorable mention to Gerrit Polder (gpolder)this week for his continuing updates to project Plant Health Camera. Gerrit has been traveling over the last few weeks, but he is not letting that stop him from working on the project. This week he posted a short tutorial on how he plans to synchronize the two cameras used in his system. He wrote some Python code that will run on the slave Raspberry Pi which causes the Pi to wait for a trigger pulse on GPIO Pin 23 that signifies that the master Pi took a photo. This  will, in turn, trigger the camera on the slave Pi to take a photo as well. Head over to the post to check out the source code!

 

 

That is going to wrap things up for this installment of the Design Challenge Weekly Summary here at Element14. This week was full of very well written updates, and as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I am very impressed with the quality of the updates in this challenge.  Massive respect goes out to everyone who has worked so hard at this challenge to make it one of the most active Design Challenges in quite some time. Remember to head over to the challenge’s main blog page to view each of the updates from this week. As always, I will be back next week with another installment, until then remember to Hack The World, and Make Awesome!