GGHC Hardware: From Idea – To Prototype – To Final Product
During the brainstorming session, we conceived an idea of doing “The Story Box”. It’s a device with a button and an LCD display. When a user press the button, a random word is displayed on the LCD display. Simple.
Knowing that the competition requires us to use microcontroller and portable power source, we have decided to use an Arduino, powered by any 9V battery.
There are 2 options available to us:
1) Making a full blown Arduino Story Box, OR
2) Making an Arduino Shield.
We choose the latter, since Arduino of some sort are easily available. We just need a shield that can be plugged on top of an Arduino to do the job. This will also make the solution cheaper.
This translate into the following hardware specification:
16×2 Character LCD: displaying the random word.
Momentary button: the only button for user interaction.
Buzzer: acknowledging that the user has pressed the button.
I2C EEPROM: storing a list of word.
Preset 1: adjusting brightness of the LCD backlit.
Preset 2: adjusting contrast of the LCD display.
Prototype: Where the Hardwork Begins
We are divided into 3 teams: the hardware team, software team and the documentation team.
For starter, the hardware team gave the software team an LCD shield to kick start the programming effort. At the same time, the hardware teams did a quick prototyping on a breadboard.
After we were convinced that the prototype is working, we did another round of prototyping on a Protoshield.
All is well, we then started to lay out the PCB in the EAGLE Layout Editor. After a few iterations, this was what we get. Finally.
Final Product (for GGHC): By No Mean The End
Here is how The Story Box evolved: from idea, to prototype, and finally to final product for the contest.
We will not stop at here. Some members have indicated their interest in taking this further. We are very keen to see how others will use The Story Box. We very much welcome any suggestion to make this The Story Box a useful educational device.