Click below to see what students in CmSc 150 programmed after only three weeks of class! All images are created using Python code to draw them.
The Arduino microcontroller has finally made robotics work fun. I’ve worked with other microcontrollers such as RoBoard, Freescale, Parallax, and found them to be more frustrating than fun. The Arduino has changed all that in my case. This shows what I’ve been able to do with just a few evenings.
In the first evening, I was able to get an Arduino board to drive some LEDs within just a few minutes.
A little more work, and I have motors and servos working. By the third evening, I had my first autonomous robot using one ultrasonic sensor for obstacle avoidance:
I made version 2.0 of my robot, so that I could have more breadboard space, giving me an LCD display and two ultrasonic sensors:
The ultrasonic sensors had to be polled separately so they did not confuse each other. A bigger issue was that the robot no longer turned well. The front wheel does not turn, and the robot was now heavy enough that the front wheel no longer easily skidded sideways, like it did in version 1.0 of my robot.
Yesterday in the mail I got a different wheel I ordered that solves this problem, by having small rollers on the wheel allowing it to slide sideways. So here is version 2.1 of my robot:
I’ll be adding a magnetic compass soon, and eventually starting version 3.0 of my robot.
The Nixie Tube [link] from DFRobot.com was ordered Monday night. It was shipped Tuesday from Shanghai, China and arrived here in Iowa two days later on Thursday!!!
Opening the package revealed a DFRobot package.
Looks nicely packed with foam. Also included a pre-drilled plexiglass board for the four tubes I ordered. Cool, didn’t ask or expect that.
I downloaded the sample code and looked at the Wiki. Managed to hook up one module to power and do hit the test button with no issues. I hit the test button with a stick since it cautions the on-board voltage can be up to 170 volts.
Hooked it up to the Arduino and ran the breathSample from the code examples and got:
My plan is to create a steam-punk style alarm clock with these as a personal art project.
I finally got an Arduino I could dedicate towards my steampunk clock project. I have an LCD display and Nixie Tubes to pair up. Here’s a video of what I have working as of tonight:
You can see that on the lower left are my four Nixie Tubes showing minutes and seconds. Eventually it will just be minutes and hours, but that doesn’t make for a good demo video. On the right is the Arduino and LCD shield hooked up to a Chronodot. The Chronodot also has a thermometer.
In the background is the power supply. The project is pulling 0.38 amps at 12.1 volts.
I like the LCD shield from Adafruit. I had to solder the LCD shield together, which I wasn’t big on, but I like the ability to change colors and the integrated buttons:
The circuit layout is pretty simple, courtesy of Fritzing:
Interested in making money? Get into technology with your degree: Moneywatch ranks Computer Systems Engineering as the #2 best paying degree.
Storm Radio KSTM joins in College Radio Day, which is an event that takes place over multiple continents to support all things college radio. This event started in 2011 in New Jersey. It is an event to promote and create a greater, international awareness of college radio. The organizers of College Radio Day believe that college radio is one of the last remaining bastions of creative radio programming, free from the constrictions of having to be commercially viable, and a place where those involved in its programming believe passionately in its mission. College radio is the only free live medium brave enough to play unsigned, local, and independent artists on a regular basis.
KSTM will be broadcasting their normal on-air schedule, with a special documentary about College Radio Day at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. This event will feature folk guitarist, Ryne Doughty, at 8 p.m. in Holy Grounds Coffee Shop. KSTM station manager, Jesse Stewart, encourages people to “be sure to listen to KSTM all day and check out Ryne Doughty tonight. College Radio Day is a great event to encourage college students like myself to get involved in the radio industry.”
Want more information? Contact one of our faculty members.
KSTM, the student radio station, is under the direction of senior Jesse Stewart. Jesse is a senior from Marble Rock, Iowa majoring in multimedia journalism with a minor in music. He has been the station manager for two years. Jesse has a passion for the music industry.
The station has many new additions this year. KSTM has picked up new student programming including news at the top of the hour and weather reports twice an hour. The station is working towards a structure that allows students to experience the atmosphere of a real radio station. Students are able to do what they want in terms of their show and the music they choose to play. This year there are approximately 20 student DJs on air from 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Another new addition this year is syndicated programming. KSTM will feature many talk radio shows from national leaders in radio.
KSTM will be taking part in College Radio Day on October 2, 2012. The radio station will feature many contests, a concert in the evening, and many other exciting happenings that day. Another big project this year is the involvement of more promotions. With the assistance of Director of Marketing, Kelsey Hagelberg, KSTM and The Simpsonian will be moving to a 24 hour media collaboration. There will be breaking news always available across campus.
Other students leaders for the radio include Zach James, program director and sports manager, and Sylvia Koss, news director.
Words before bullets.
With God anything’s possible.
Aquaman > Batman.
They did so by penning their thoughts on giant boards referred to as a “Free Speech Wall” in the middle of campus.
Some of the writings were profound, some profane, but all were designed to encourage the Simpson community to reflect on the 225th anniversary of the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
“It’s a celebration of freedom that most Americans take for granted – the freedom to express yourself as part of a community of responsible and engaged citizens,” said Brian Steffen, professor of communication and media studies.
Simpson Student Media sponsored the wall, which will was reassembled and placed in the Great Hall for Tuesday’s Constitution Day lecture.
Jeffrey Rosen of George Washington University, a noted constitutional scholar, spoke at 7 p.m. in Great Hall. Get more information on the Constitution Day Lecture
Simpson College helps students get great internships in their majors. Tara Maurer, a senior from Delhi, Iowa, majoring in multimedia journalism with minors in philosophy and women and gender studies, spent this summer as development and communications intern with the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Tara was able to use her studies at Simpson College to help her complete tasks for her internship. She was able to use her editing and design course as a framework to help her design handouts for the organization. As a past staff writer and photographer for The Simpsonian, Tara was able to complete tasks such as copy editing and writing grant letters, and some stock photography projects. Many of the communications department professors incorporate the use of social media into their courses. This allowed Tara to make a greater impact for ICADV via Twitter and Facebook. Tara was also in charge of calling to request for donations, as well as heading the donations for an auction.
One of Tara’s main tasks while working for ICADV was developing multiple videos. Her work as a staff videographer for the athletic department gave her a great start in her future career. Through her internship, she made a video about the Skylark Project within AmeriCorps that was entered into a national contest and gave the organization national recognition. Tara’s other major project from the summer was a general video about ICADV and their staff. This will act as great promotional material as ICADV continues to grow.