The quest for a new actuator#

open source hardware

I. About#

This assignment was devoted to making a new actuator for my loom. Previously I have used off the shelf parts to create it, which was fine for a first prototype but I wanted to make a device that was smaller and more suited to be a wearable.

Production files#

Milled Neil’s board#

Modular accelerometer board#

III. Process#

i. First attempt#

My first point of reference was to produce a board similar to Neil’s hello accelerometer board. While the result was pleasing as a form factor, the piece was difficult to program. In Neil’s example I2C is instantiated in software. He bit bangs the information rather than using the hardware allotted pins.

ii. Second attempt#

For my second attempt I made a breakout board, based on the example Sparkfun manufactures. The advantage of making the board modular is having access to all of its pins. Not only can I gain access to SDA and SCL, but I can drive my mirco using a interrupt.

To protect the board I also put hot glue on its surface. I also have a header that will enable me to plug it into my breadboard.

To test it, I connected it to the Arduino and was able to get the X, Y, and Z values.

My next steps are to combine my first approach with Neil’s methodology. My goal is to use a bigger chip like the Atmega168 (used in this example), then scale down.

Using a breadboard allows me to quickly iterate through the set up. I’ve connected my I2C pins to my accelerometer breakout board which means no bit banging. The base code I’m using can be found in this book.