[IAEP] SugarCamp Sensor Summary

Caryl Bigenho cbigenho at hotmail.com
Sun Oct 28 16:20:34 EDT 2012

Hi Folks,

I thought it would be a good idea to take a few minutes out to recap what we did in the Sensor Workshop on the first day of Sugar Camp in San Francisco. It was a good way for the non-programmers at the SF Community Summit to have a reason to stay over for Sugar Camp and have a chance to relax, visit, and get to know each other a little better while learning more about things that you can do with XOs.

We had about a dozen folks interested in making sensors so we pushed tables together so we could work collaboratively. Everyone had a bag of parts and materials to make 3 types of sensors: a light sensor, a temperature sensor, that needs to draw power from the XO via a usb cable, and a generic sensor cable with alligator clips that can be used for a variety of things.

We began with the light sensor, and by lunch time almost everyone had a working model and was testing it with the Measure Activity on their XOs. We tried a variety of solutions for putting them together, and, in a few days, I'll put some of them on one of the wikis along with parts lists, sources for parts, and basic instructions. If you have more photos of our project... send them to me in an email and I'll add them to the wiki.

To solder or not to solder was the big question of the day. Ed Bigenho was able to help some of the folks learn to solder their parts together. Others decided to just rely on electrical tape. We covered the connections with heat-shrink tubing that we "shrank" with a small travel hair dryer. 

It was a noisy fun group… and we all accomplished something… a perfect example of project based, collaborative learning in action!

After lunch we tackled the temperature sensor, which is a much more complex project. We had two different, conflicting, sets of instructions… one from the wiki and one from the XO Explosion kit Mike Lee brought. Finally, we found a third one, in Spanish, by Plan Ceibal, also on the wiki. It was a lot easier to understand and the photos were very clear. Someone needs to translate this one. We did get some reaction from the sensor, but it obviously wasn't working right. This one needs more exploration!

We didn't get to the generic sensor (out of time), but it is pretty easy and straightforward so anyone who made a light sensor should be able to make the generic as well.

In the next week or two I will put a list of parts and instructions for all three sensors on either the OLPC wiki or the Sugar Labs wiki with links from one to the other. I'll send a link when it is done, and I invite everyone who joined in the activity (or didn't but has worked with sensors before) to contribute to the discussion there.

If you were part of this fun group and have a little time to spare, you might play around with the temperature sensor and see if you can make it work. Also, try the generic with some of the copper wire in your kit and an ungalvanized nail to make a lemon battery. We will have a discussion place on the wiki where you can report your activities and how they worked… or didn't (failures are important too if they are documented so we can learn from them).

What's up for next year's Sugar Camp? Several ideas were tossed around. If you have any suggestions for fun, preferably hands-on, things we can try with the XOs, speak up!

Links to Photos: 

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