Team: Ashwath Anand, Utsav Parasrampuria
My role: Primary - Programming and circuit layout and building. Secondary - Design and construction of mechanism and Vending machine, Physical interface.
We set out to create a platform that will serve as a physical touchpoint for students to experiment with as well as a representation of the nature of projects being carried out by students of Interaction Design at SCAD's School of Design.
The class was split into three teams: physical design, human factors and mechatronics.
My primary role was to investigate how the individual electronic components worked, make them work with each other
and the best way to incorporate them with the vending machine and its physical interface.
At this stage, it was crucial to work with the interface and mechanism teams so the electronics
would work well when its eventually in place. So the process of developing the machine was done
in an iterative process. We prototyped repeatedly, tested them, got feedback, made improvements
and fed it back to the design.
For me this was an amazing experience of being part of a big project with multiple teams working towards a common goal.
The next stages involved us bringing together all these components and make sure they worked with each others.
These were some of the challenges we faced during this stage:
Making work arounds for the coin acceptor when it did not give the expected serial commands.
Getting rid of LEDs as they took up too many ports.
Instead of an expensive 3D printed worm gear but we realised we could use a 5$ rubber belt through prototyping.(This was a big achievement in this project.)
While trying to incorporate NeoPixels into the circuit we faced problems so we ended up using 2 arduinos.
This was also the first time I uploaded code on GitHub. This is part of our plan to set it up for students part of future classes who will work on VENDOBOT. This was also the first time I had a professor really get into the field with us to get his feet dirty. He helped us at every point in the project, especially me when I faced challenges in the code.