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Dr Lucy Rogers's Blog

16 posts
  The Firecrackers (blog here and video here) that I made for Robin Hill Country Park on the Isle of Wight were good, but after I'd tried them out in real life on site, I knew there were some improvements I could make. These included stringing the lights in one line, rather than going over the top of the path, improving the sound and increasing the amount of smoke.   Stringing the lights in one line is simple, and one I can leave to the Robin Hill staff when they next need the fi ...
After breaking my wrist and decorating my cast as a Buzz Lightyear Cuff using sugru and 3doodler (Blog here), I needed further surgery and a new cast.   Seems my first step is always eyes ... But it was December. And cheerlights were beginning to flash across my twitter stream.   A tweet controlled Christmas Tree with lights was required.   I bought an Adafruit Flora, Bluefruit and Neopixels.   I sketched the design on my cast.   I transfered the design onto carboard ...
I broke my wrist (being chased by animatronic dinosaurs, or something similar).   So obviously I wanted to decorate my cast ... Although fun, the eyes were a little uncomfortable.   And I like space.   So a Buzz Lightyear cuff seemed the right thing to do ...   I used a 3doodler to do the intricate bits     And sugru for the buttons and covers     I used sellotape to mask out the buttons.   Some worked better than others.      ...
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Giant Test Tubes

Posted by drlucyrogers Sep 25, 2015
"Can you make an interactive variable colour bubble tube - two foot wide and ten foot tall?" I am not very good at saying "no" to challenges like this - especially when it's a client that asks. As with most challenges, my first step is to make a prototype. Here's a video of the prototype in action, plus some explanation of what went into it: .   The rest of this blog shows some of the making involved.   I used 50mm External Diameter, 44mm Internal Diameter 2000mm long clear acry ...
In parts 1 and 2 of this series of blog posts, I shared how I design PCB's using CadSoftusa's Eagle PCB Design Software.   Having the design on screen is one thing, but holding an actual PCB in my hot little hands is quite another.       Although some PCB manufacturer's will take the .brd and .sch files, most prefer the gerber files. (This is a standardised format, in a similar way that pdf's are for documents).   For my previous boards, I have followed a tutorial I ...
In Part 1 of this series of blog posts, I explained how I got from a hand sketch of a circuit to a schematic in Eagle, CadSoftusa 's PCB Design Software.   This blog takes the randomly placed components onto a board, to the final layout.     This symbol on the top toolbar of Eagle switches from schematic to board view. If a board has not been generated from the schematic already, it asks if you'd like to do this.   First item is to run an Electrical Rule Check (ERC) t ...
Eeek - how do I get started?   For this series of blog posts, I'll be sharing how I make this circuit into a PCB:   The circuit will turn on an LED when it gets dark I am going to make it with a 3V  CR2032 battery so the finished PCB can be put in a jam-jar and left outside to mark a path or a tentpeg or put in a pumpkin at halloween or used as a nightlight Or anything else where you want a light to come on when it is dark   I prototyped it on a breadboard to make sure ever ...
CadSoftusa Eagle PCB design software already has a lot of Farnell Element 14 components in its libraries - and more you can add from here. But what happens if there is something you want to use that isn't there?   Recently I wanted to attach a CR2033 3V battery to a PCB. The battery holder I chose, the Renata Hu2032-LF, did not already have a Eagle device associated with it.   This blog post will explain how I adapted an Eagle library device (LI Battery Varta CR2032H) (below)   ...
What do you do when you want to make your first PCB?   This is what I did:   Ask around to see who else has made one and how they did it. See what free / inexpensive PCB design software is available - I may hate it and only ever make one. Download some software and have a play.   I have found that the "having a play" is great - up to a point. It is something like an adventure game "There are three options - which do you chose?" (Chose the wrong one and you'll only find it was ...
    Thingatrons (blog post here) - the open collector driver boards that I (Lucy Rogers) made to control outputs from the GPIO pins on a Raspberry Pi - were great, but I realised I also needed to use various inputs to trigger the outputs.   And because I want my *things* to work out in the real world, and not just on my workbench, I use inputs that trigger on 12V, such as a motion detector or PIR.   If there's any kind of fault on the wiring or in the input, I could easily ...
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Robotic Dinosaurs

Posted by drlucyrogers Jun 9, 2015
Blackgang Chine Theme Park on the Isle of Wight has always been a place of wonder and imagination.   Their robotic dinosaurs are no exception - here's a video of some of the things we've been up to with them ...   ...
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Firecrackers1

Posted by drlucyrogers Jun 7, 2015
Chinese New Year  Traditions vary, but a reunion dinner, red coloured decorations and firecrackers are all high on the Chinese New Year celebrations list. While dinner and decorations are available globally, firecrackers cause thousands of injuries every year and have therefore been banned in many countries, including the UK.   Robin Hill Country Park on the Isle of Wight hold a "Spirit of the Orient" -  a stunning spectacle of Oriental themed light, sound and colour to m ...
  "I want to connect my *thing* to the internet" First question:- Why?   For me, Lucy Rogers, it's mainly for fun. I want my toy dinosaur to nod anytime someone tweets #wakedino. But also sometimes for a purpose - I want to be able to turn some lights on in my home from somewhere else. There are as many reasons as there are ideas and people with them.   I went to Lancaster University to study mechatronics - I wanted to play with robots and with "Spitting Image" type puppets ...
Dinosaur skeletons, dinosaurs being made and controlling dinosaurs ...   I, Lucy Rogers, was invited to visit an animatronic dinosaur factory in China - the factory that supplies the dinosaurs for Blackgang Chine Theme Park on the Isle of Wight.   The factory is in the "technology" commercial area of the city, which, from the car seemed very like technology commercial areas in the UK. However, not many factories in the UK have a full size apatosaurus (brontosaurus) style dinosaur loo ...
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#BlackgangPi 2

Posted by drlucyrogers Apr 27, 2015
“Come and hack the dinosaurs ..." (What happened after #BlackgangPi 1)  I (@DrLucyRogers) brought together a group of hackers / makers / electronic engineers and computer experts to help Blackgang Chine, a Theme Park on the Isle of Wight take control of their animatronic dinosaurs.   Currently the dinosaurs run a pre-programmed sequence of events – roar, tail wag, neck movement etc. However, the Park would like to change the order and duration of each event.   One o ...