Saturday, December 10, 2011

Direction for Project

We made a lot of progress on our project, as far as actually knowing what we're doing. While we were initially thinking of using Phidgets and even went so far as to order a sensor, we ended up decideding that would be bad idea for a couple of different reasons. First of all, from our research it looks as though Phidgets have to be connected to a computer to work, or use a complicated wifi set-up, which would add a whole other layer of work to our project. Second of all, Phidgets has a somewhat limited selection of sensors. Especially since we were planning on using a heart sensor, it seemed like Arduino might be a better choice. Arduino is much more flexible, as far connecting to a wide range of sensors goes, and can be programmed to function without a computer.

After deciding to use Arduino, Ruth and I did quite a bit of research about the Arduino Lilypad. What we eventually decided however, after consulting with Consuelo and Orit, was that the Lilypad, though beautiful and easy to disguise within fabric, is not really powerful enough for our project. There isn't enough input/output options, the power will be limited, and the connections between different elements will be unstable. Instead we are using the a normal Arduino board, of which the lab has two.

Making this decision allowed us to start thinking about specifics as far as our project goes. We looked into different sensors and figured out which ones would work for our project. The task we've been charged with tackling first is the water drinking task, since it will probably be the hardest to implement. While we were working with the Phidgets, we thought that measuring the changing weight of the water bottle might be a good way to record how much water someone is drinking, but there are a lot of ways this could easily become complicated. What if the weight of the water bottle isn't on the weight sensor? How do we build a structure that includes the weight sensor in a body suit? We were basically all a little nervous about how this would work.

When we decided to switch to Arduino, we actually found out that there is a liquid level sensor available for the Arduino. It gives input in a range from around 150 to 1000, which relate where the top of the water is hitting the sensor. Installing this within a water bottle will allow us to record the exact level of water that in the water bottle at any given moment. We can then program for when the water level decreases or increases, and what that means for someone's water intake throughout the day.

The next step for us, then, is to install the sensor within a bottle, book it up to the Arduino board and begin programming for it!

No comments:

Post a Comment