Archive for the ‘Workshop Concepts’ Category

Light sensor

My next idea was to play around with the light sensor.

The idea of a practical use was following:
Most of the times I carry my mobile phone in my bag – so I have many missed calls, because I can’t hear it ringing (especially when listening to music). So I wanted to make something, that would notify my when the phone is ringing. Nowadays most mobile phones turn on their displays when you ring them – here the light sensor could be used. I’d create a small pocket for my phone in my bag, with the light sensor integrated and facing the display of the mobile phone. All I need then is a program, that would detect the light from the display and then turn the beeper on.

The program:
- monitor block – to see the values coming from the light sensor and thus to set the correct treshold value
- “if” block – to tell the board that if a certain value from the sensor is lower than a treshold (values rise as less ligt shines on sensor/more light means smaller number outputs – 1023 is the top value) to turn the beeper on
- “on” block next to the “if” block – simply to turn on the digital output (beeper in our case)
- “off” block to turn off the digital output when the value is less than the set treshold

int val= 0;
int compare=0;
int Pin7 = 7;
int Pin2 = 2;
void setup(){
pinMode(Pin2, INPUT);
pinMode(Pin7, OUTPUT);

void loop(){
int analogValue;
analogValue = analogRead(2);
val = analogRead(Pin2);
if (val > compare){
digitalWrite(Pin7, HIGH);
else {
digitalWrite(Pin7, LOW);


And it works!!!

I ahad several problems while working on this code:

- first of all, from reasons unknown to me the code has to be corrected after you switch from the block to the text view. the else statement in the condition looked originally like this:

else {

digitalWrite(Pin7, LOW);

The instruction to turn off the digital pin was out of curly brackets, so I had to move it in.

- I also don’t quite understand the if condition itself – it says, that if the value from the sensor is more that 900 (treshold value) it will turn the digital pin on, but it works the opposite way. I had to change the code itself after I turned it on for the first time and it did not worked as I wanted. I’m playing around with it right now and I see the values coming from the sensor – if they are above 900 the beeper is off and vice versa…strange to me…


Ok. So I started with very simple programs first to familiarize myself with the whole process of creating/compiling and uploading to the board.

One of the simplest that came into my mind was a program for flashing LED or beeping sound (can be later integrated to more difficult and complex programs…)

I have only connected the sound beeper to the board (digital output pin).

- drag an “on for” block and select your digital pin number
- drag a “variable” block next to it and set the variable – that will be the time delay (in miliseconds) between beeps/flashes (I chose 500 – 1/2 of a second)

The code looks like this:

int val= 0;
int compare=0;
int Variable31=500;
int Pin7 = 7;
void setup(){
pinMode(Pin7, OUTPUT);

void loop(){
digitalWrite(Pin7, HIGH);
digitalWrite(Pin7, LOW);


Ideas for Developing Materials & Designing Workshops

To develop an awareness among teachers and young people about what could be possible in the future and to stimulate discussion about smart textiles etc. I suggest using sections of this programme that has been developed by the Discovery channel.

This website which has been developed to discuss the theme 2057 could also be used


heart rate monitor built in to clothing
sensors which measure / keep track of certain movements
e.g. switches / touch sensors at side of garment which count number of star jumps as both have to be activated to count a correctly completed jump
similar approach with sensor in back of T-shirt for measuring sit-ups

keep track of distance covered in particular time period
measure pace – count steps (similar to a pedometer built into sock)
use Excel to graph the input / develop their own formulae for using input information e.g. length of pace x number of steps; distance covered each day, cumulative distance over a week etc.
keep track of this over a period of time / personal targets

Measure Heart rate / Recovery time (Can something be developed that could be integrated into clothing to capture these metrics?)

Track your physical activity over a given period of time

Posture – is there something that could be built into clothing to monitor this?

Messages that appear on your clothing – positive feedback about your physical well being / completion of targets set by child (regular exercise becoming part of their day / feedback/ motivation built into clothing; targets adjusted as time goes on).

Fabric that reacts to heat might be a possibility to use for this.

Fashion Accessories – Bracelets

As well as clothing we wear fabric could be used to design Bracelets / necklaces and other fashion accessories. These accessories are smaller and more versatile and within the capabilities of children to make. Children of this age would also be motivated to design quite a number of them if the materials allowed for a number of functions. The aesthetic qualities of the materials and the design of the accessory would also be important as children would be interested in creating something that was individualistic and “looked cool”.

e.g. Measuring pulse rate these could give feedback (lights light up according to particular targets being reached or fabric changes colour )

Circuit training – different activities which are monitored. The bracelet could have different sections which activate as each part of the circuit training is completed.
Or maybe different parts of the bracelet react to different environmental conditions.

Hats could be another accessory which could be designed (reacting to light conditions)

Espionage Theme

– secret messages / spies / undercover agents

Making Toys / Games

Designing Hand Puppets (the Glove could be used for this)
Characters in a story – that react to each other
Combine the characters in a particular way then something happens ( a tune is played / a light sequence occurs)
Or some switch or environmental conditions triggers the reaction (hot/cold; light or dark; switch is on /off).

The Glove could also be used for games which the children can invent (they will be much more creative than I am / rules of engagement as it were then are develop as the game develops)
e.g. during the game each child has to make contact with every other participant or a given number of participants in a particular order. Depending on the interaction then there is a particular reaction on the glove (colour change / light sequence / sound made etc). When the children get more experience they could perhaps design and program the glove for a particular reaction to happen when you interact with someone who has the necessary attribute to trigger the preset action. (e.g. If I have designed my glove with a fabric switch / touch sensor inside so that when it is turned on by someone shaking my hand a light is turned on. If pressure can be measured then maybe depending on the intensity of the handshake the response varies – more lights are turned on / sound that occurs is longer)

e.g. dance sequences could also be built up in the same way as games are developed.

Making fabric balls (roll – measure distance; if they collide there is a reaction)
Fabric skittles (tilt sensor – calculates scores when skittles are knocked over)

(by Deirdre)