Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

project finished

Today was a long day....We made a latch, put casters, fixed the arm and much more, but we finished out project!!! If we had more time we definitely could've made our project a lot better by adding things that would make it easier to use but more complicated to make such as using gears and ratchets. As freshman in the engineering field, this was an interesting experience. We got to work with eachother design and build something that could help make things easier for people just as engineers do. It was a good experience because we learned how to do things on our own, of course we could ask questions but it was our work. When this project was assigned we all panicked because none of us had any experience with tools and building. It was fun for us to use our creativity and build something. It was definitely an experience that helped us as beginners with engineering because we learned how to use tools and experimented with them.

experience 3

We finally made our throwing arm out of PVC pipes but we decided to make it a little bigger so we could get the arm to release at the right angle. Before we changed the size of our throwing device, we tied the bungie cord tight and attatched it to the pully so we could experiment and find the angle we should have our throwing device at. We found out that the way we had our arm, was releasing the ball to late so the ball was being thrown to the ground. We decided that our platform wasn't working for us so we took it off and made it bigger so we could see at what lengths our throwing device would be best at. We figured if our length was too long we could cut it down more and more but if we had it too short we couldn't make it any longer.

experience 2

Today we wanted to change our throwing machine from wood to PVC pipes but we didn't have the PVC pipes and many other little things such as bolts that we needed so today was our shopping day. We went to HomeDepot, HSC and Lowes and went through each aisle to see what we needed and to see what there was so that we could come up with ideas of how to latch or release the throwing mechanism. Going through each aisle took a lot of time so we didn't get to work on our project today but we did get the PVC pipes and we also bought some casters to put our throwing machine on so it could easily be moved.

experience 1

We had a meeting yesterday and decided we were going to build a catapult. We started building our design out of wood, but we are thinking that we want to make it out of PVC pipess so it will be ighter and easier to move. We have not agreed on how to latch or release the throwing arm and ball. We still need to go shopping for more supplies that we need for this project.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Progress Report 2

Our group has adopted a catapult design throwing arm. We originally had two inch pvc tubes for the throwing arm combined with bungy cords to provide the necessary tension to launch a tennis ball. The bungy cord provided more than enough force using a pully (we may replace the bungy cords with surgical tubing), we were able to lower the friction on the bungy cord and increase energy to throw the ball. Our design is aproximately two and a half feet tall and two feet wide. As of now the design is too heavy and the throwing arm is too long. In the future design, we plan to implement a shorter throwing arm. Additionally, we plan to implement a reloading mechanism and develop a hooking mechanism to latch the throwing arm. One last item we plan to implement is the ball release mechanism.
Items that we have not developed yet is the logic system with sensors and the recocking of the throwing arm.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Progress Report

We are going to upgrade a ball throwing machine from Toys R Us. We are going to put it on a platform, paint in, and connect a wireless button to it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Our Delicious Account

Project Summary

After attending the sidekicks event I have come up with some modifications to the design I have for the project. Since the throwing device is designed for use by the members of sidekicks we have to cater to theirneeds. Specifically : the sounds that the throwing device makes, the color that the device is, the color of the buttons, the height of the device, whether it can be used by a left or right handed person, how farthe device throws the ball, the color of the balls it throws, whether the device can aim or not. All of these features are very important to the overall usability of the device. The objective I found is going to be tomeet the requirements as outlined in the class but to also encourage the user to enjoy interaction with his/her peers. If the user enjoys the device then it will be used and may facilitate learning as well. When the distance the device throws is concerned, I believe that there should be a low distance setting for individuals that would benefit for close peer interaction. Therefore maybe a setting that throws a ball only 5 feet would be preferable. As well you could adjust it to throw further.

The color of the device is important. Some color that is not “uncool” is nice, but I am concerned with the user who cannot readily distinguish objects. With this in mind we may want to design a device that is painted a mild, soft, more darker color. This would contrast nicely with a bright colored ball to be thrown. So along with a dark device should be brightly colored balls in order to provide contrast and visual interest in the ball when thrown. This device will throw small balls, anywhere from small squishy therapy balls down to tennis balls.

The user interface with the throwing device is very important. The user must be able o easily use the device. To accommodate a user with limited movement I think the device should have an activation interface that is moveable. This would accommodate someone in a wheel chair or someone who could not reach to the device directly. Such a moveable interface might be a keyboard type interface with a chord that goes to the device. One important aspect of this “keyboard” would be the buttons. The buttons’ color is a concern because users may be confused by too many buttons or options. I propose that the “keyboard” consist of only three buttons, two small buttons and a large button in between them. The color of the keyboard would be darker and the color of the two small buttons would be of similar darkness but a different color. The middle button would be in sharp contrast by being a bright, lighter color. This would provide the following benefit: a user who is easily frustrated by too many buttons can focus on only the large bright button in the middle, but a user who is able to recognize the other two smaller buttons could easily figure out their use through practice. The large center button being to fire the device and the two smaller buttons provide “aiming” capability.

The sounds that the device makes are of great importance. When the device is fired a sound should occur that is both amusing and exciting. This would encourage the user to try the device again and would spark interest. The most important issue is the enjoyment of the user and the continued use of the device.

The technical layout of the device will facilitate a catapult style throwing action. It will have a loading cylinder and a safety feature to not fire unless the loading area lid is shut. The throwing action is operated by an electric motor and the electric motor will run on a 9 or 12 volt battery. I plan to use mechanical advantage to lower the power use needed to throw the ball. I plan on having some switches and sensors to fire the device. Also I would like to have some type of stepping switch to increase volts to the motor at various parts of the catapult swing motion. This would possibly decrease power needed to throw the balls.