After I built the tiny balancing robot using an IR sensor for stabilization, there was a comment on the youtube video about how it would be a good thing for kids to build and learn about PID controls. I thought that was a great idea, the only problem was that that tiny robot was the simplest of balancing robots. It was just an on off switch for telling the motor which way to move. There was no actual PID implementation in that system. So that got me thinking about how it would have been really cool if in one of my classes where I was learning about control theory I had a robot that actually let you see the changes in a PID system in real time. I decided to take it upon myself to create such a robot.
I built this quick rig last year using a pre-made camera slider, some plastic I had laying around, and some electronic components. I wanted something simple where I could just put in the amount of time delay and set the camera for the same delay so that it would take a picture when the stepper wasn’t moving; simple yet effective. Read on to check out the movie I made last year using it.
The other night there was a power outage in our area, so naturally all of the flashlights are brought out so everyone is able to see. There have been these crank flashlight hanging around for years, and I actually cannot remember the last time they held a charge. They would light up when you crank them, but the batteries were long gone, or so I thought.
Had all the materials laying around and had a bit of time so I decided to make an 3x3x3 LED cube. Its something I have been meaning to do for a while. Eventually I will move up to 8x8x8 or something huge and more time consuming. For now this is good enough.
The basic idea for this ring was to take a piece of a aluminum to make the ring out of, design it to fit the PCB and peltier, and create a heatsink that mounts on the other side of the peltier unit. Originally I had planed to make this a single finger ring but somewhere along the way my brain had fallen for a 2 finger design; It was much more practical, and surprisingly the PCB I made was the perfect size to fit across two fingers, leaving the heat sink on the side. Oddly enough I have a few ring sizing tools hanging around (thanks to my Grandpa having lots of random tools) so I measured the two fingers it would go on and away I went with a design.
The moment I discovered Peltier units I was amazed. First it was at the fact of how cold something could get just by applying a current. As I extended my research, my focus turned to the other effect – or SeeBeck Effect – as it’s called, which is the process or generating a current or voltage through temperature differentials. I know this technology has been used for some time, but the average person is not aware of what electricity, or energy for that matter, really is. Every time I show someone what the peltier unit is able to do just by putting my hand on it, they are amazed. I wanted to design something that would be able to find wasted heat energy from my body and transform it into usable electrical energy. A very simple proof of concept.