Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kan Jam Tournament Success

The Kan Jam tournament, which raised money for our EDD project fund, was a huge success. With around 40 participants, the tournament raised well over $200! Everybody there had a great time.

There will likely be similar events in the future.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Kan Jam Tournament!

The Saratoga InvenTeam will be holding a Kan Jam Tournament this Tuesday, December 20th. We are hoping to have a lot of students come and play! It's only $10 dollars per team of two and there will be free pizza for the players! It should be a good time so make sure you sign up and come play!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cupcake CNC under construction

This week, we will continue assembly of our new 3D-printer. This printer will be used to make specialty parts for our class's 3D printer and used as a benchmark against our custom made 3D printer. These 3d printers will benefit our school for several years, as some students will be able to bring their 3D models to life.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

From Drawing Board to Workbench: SCC's parts have arrived!

Last week, the Self-Contained Cooling group received most of the parts necessary to build a prototype. Now with a pump, a radiator, tubing, coolant, and a competing product against which to test, we are ready to send our base designs out to be manufactured. While we wait for our part to be printed, we will work on assembling all other parts to fit standard computer cases.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

EDD Giving Back to the Community

Recently, all of the EDD students have been greatly helping out the community; with an emphasis on aiding the younger PLTW students in their engineering problems. Volunteering is not only a great way to say thanks to the community for their support, but also lets the EDD students communicate with the younger PLTW students, bringing the whole program together. There is a deadline for each student to have 5 hours of volunteer work completed by Friday. Not only is everyone on track to reach this goal, but some students have far surpassed the requirement. For example, Brad Collyer has already completed 18 hours!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Puzzled, Inc.

In addition to the other fundraising activities we are currently working on, a new one is in progress. Yesterday, after school a couple of students met and discussed this new project with Mr. Gallagher. The idea is to order small wooden puzzles like the one shown above from the company Puzzled, Inc. After we receive the puzzles we plan to reverse engineer them on AutoDesk Inventor and sell the pieces of the puzzles to other schools around the country who are not able to print out their own pieces on laser printers. With these pieces, schools will then be able to modify the puzzles and create their own on Inventor. We also plan to create a website on where we can market our products and sell them to other participating project lead the way schools.

Individual Progress Report Soon

In the upcoming weeks, EDD students will be presenting their work to Mr. Gallagher. This work includes all the research that they have done, any drawings or model's they've made, and what they have made for presentations. This information should be kept in the student's engineering notebook, which will be examined during the meeting. Students will also have a list of goals that they want to complete by the next progress meeting. These meetings will be one-on-one with Mr.Gallagher, and scheduled by the students.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Presentation to Bechtel

On Tuesday November 22, Allie Lehane, Aaron Batker Pritzker, Sam Hyatt, and Casey Kerr presented the purpose of Project Lead the Way, our school's past achievements, our current projects, and our contribution to the community of Saratoga Springs to a group of four engineers from Bechtel Corporation. Part of an effort to raise money for the class, the presentation prompted many questions from the audience about our design process, what we have learned, and where we plan to go from here. A tremendous success, this experience gave us a taste of professional fundraising presentations, and a generous investment of $500 from Bechtel as well.

Friday, November 18, 2011


This past week, we gave presentations in class addressing the estimated final costs of our projects. Based on what was presented, we need to continue to raise money so we have sufficient funds to complete everything by the end of the year.

The EDD Class recently recieved a grant from Youth2 for $500. We also held a bake sale in school yesterday where we were able to raise $134.60. In addition, we are holding a Kan-Jam tournament in December. We hope to accumulate donations from local businesses and use this tournament as a fundraiser to bring in more money for our class.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Former EDD student meeting with current EDD students

Tom Corona, the lead programmer in the campus security project 2 years ago, is meeting with the current students working of the campus security project, over the upcoming break. Tom will help the students understand how the code works, and help them organize it. Tom, being a self taught programmer, will also share some of his experience and advice to further inform this year's EDD students.

Monday, November 14, 2011

MakerBot Versus Reprap

The 3-D printer group gave a presentation in class about the positives and negatives of buying a complete kit or starting from scratch. The decision was narrowed down in deciding between the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic and the Reprap Mendel.
A second presentation will be given next class in further detail of each model's printing specifications, tolerance and quality of printing, and of consumer reviews.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

An Update on Computer Cooling

When last you heard about the Self-Contained Submersion Cooling project, it was a fantasy existing only in my own mind. Now two months into the class, team leader Joshua Nixon and members Aaron Batker Pritzker, Alex Gailor, John Howe, and George Kaplan are making that dream a reality. With two main objectives in mind, to minimize turbulence in the flowing liquid and to maximize the area of contact between the processor and coolant, we created two sketches of possible base designs. We used information on the physics of fluid flow, obtained from textbooks, high school teachers, and a professor from Harvey Mudd College, to create a model in Inventor. This model, pictured below, is a basic template for a system that will accept standardized input and output tubes, fit over all modern processor heat spreaders, and guide liquid with minimal turbulence. Several dimensions including tube diameters, overall part length and widths, and the angle at which the tubes enter the block were left flexible to accommodate changes in the design.

In addition, we have a design for a system to mount the block onto a computer's motherboard and a gasket to prevent leakage underway. The next step in our design process is to generate a list of parts to purchase for a complete system, such as tubes, a pump, a radiator, and coolant. Our team has split into smaller groups to research these challenges in parallel, and we look forward to prototyping and testing our designs in the months ahead.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Students Present to PLTW Representatives

Today, a group of representatives from Project Lead The Way came in for an overview of what we've been working on over the past two months. A small group of students; composed of Allie Lehane, Aaron Batker Pritzker, Sam Hyatt, and Casey Kerr, presented to them. They showed a PowerPoint which summarized some our school's past EDD projects, our current projects, and what extra things our group is planning on doing to help the community.

The presentation was carried out very nicely, and was followed up by questions.

Lastly, the representatives stayed for a while to observe our class in work, and to speak with some students individually about their projects.

Monday, November 7, 2011


With the final group members picked for each project, everyone is excited to start working with their new teams! As a class we decided to narrow down our projects to just three. The three projects we chose are the 3D printer, the computer cooling and the campus security app formerly known as "Aegis."

Today, we were proud to come up with the official name for the campus security app. It will now be called, "Ally Campus Security." While it would seem an easy task to rename the app, it proved to be a nuisance of a task. With many good ideas taken for other security products, our team spent a few classes coming up with the new name.

Also, myself and three other classmates fine-tuned and presented a powerpoint to our class. This presentation will be given to board members from project lead the way on Wednesday, November 9th. With groups chosen and great progress being made, it is very easy to tell we will have great success this year

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Future of Printing

Yesterday, we were presented with a new and fresh idea in class. The idea would be to create our own 3D printer. After researching and finding out what is already out there on the market, we found all kinds of 3D printers ranging from highly intricate designs at $20,000 to basic DIY 3D printers at $1,500.

One specific 3D printer, on the more affordable side, that interested us was called the MakerBot. It is essentially a machine that can produce a tangible exact replica of something from a digital image on a computer. If you would like to learn more on the MakerBot, go to

I don't know about you, but I would love to have one of these to play with!

Bake Sale Soon

On November 17, 2011, 14 days away as of
posting, there will be a bake sale. All proceeds will fund this year’s EDD
projects, including the computer cooling project, and the campus security project.
All items, including cookies, brownies, and muffins, will be baked and donated
by members of the EDD class for a reasonable price.

Monday, October 31, 2011

New Name, New Look

Our Blue Light Security group is brainstorming new names for their system, Aegis. The logo depicted above is the original design created by Nick Florin and Chad Baker, members of the 2009 EDD class. Other security systems have since used the term Aegis and we are looking to make our system unique. Some of the new names being considered include: Secure U, Safe U, and Alert U. Vote for your favorite as well as suggest new names.

Also in the spirit of change, we have worked on updating the appearance of our blog. We are very excited about the new look, as well as many more upcoming posts!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


After refurbishing the powerpoint for Bechtel, our 4 presenters practiced their routine in front of the class one more time. Following were a few side comments from the class. Their final presentation is next week.

Our groups for our 4 different projects assembled at the end of the presentation, moving towards our class goals.


Monday, October 24, 2011


During today's class, 4 of our peers practiced a powerpoint for next week. The powerpoint is intended to be presented in front of professional engineering firms, such as Bechtel, requesting funding for our projects. The presentation was critically evalutated and is going to be re-done next class.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

EDD Class 2011-12

10/18/2011 Class

Dear Reader,
Each of our four groups created powerpoints over the past week and today we presented them in front of the class. This took a good hour and we still ran out of time! Everyone was involved in the class discussions and I feel as if we got a lot accomplished; learning more about each topic and individually we were constantly weeding out ideas and keeping track of the good ones. These discussions about which final projects to implement will continue next class. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Update 10-12-11

Dear Reader,

The first few weeks of class we have been brainstorming, where as a class,
we cut down our ideas into the four described below.

Originally, we each started with our own ideas that we pitched to the PLTW
teachers during the last school year. Over the summer, each individual
posted their ideas on the blog that are also included below. As this school
year started, we each explained our ideas to the class so we could
understand the problem statements better.

To help develop these ideas, each student did further research on one of the
given problems (not their own) and gave another presentation to the class.
Since we already knew all of the problems given, the research in each
project included more detailed information, like what is currently out there
and who the market is.

Once we decided our top choices based an open discussion and a class vote,
we split into groups, tackling each of the four ideas. Currently, we are
coming up with possible solutions and are going to pitch them to the class
within the next week.

Some other discussions going on with our class are about foundraising. In
order for us to work on our ideas, we need to have a money bank where we
can buy all of the parts needed. Foundraising is very important because
each project requires a large amount of money since we are basically
starting from scratch. Any ideas for foundraising are welcome. You can
either post them directly to the website or you can email me @

As of now, no ideas are set in stone, and we are still open for different
problems and different solutions. Our limit on projects is a minimum of 2
and a maximum of 5, maybe 6. I will keep everyone updated on all of our
future work and where we stand.


Top 4 Projects (No Order)

- Redesign of Crutches
-Task: Reduce or completely remove irritation of underarms from use.
-Other designs: Wheel chair, knee scooter, spring-loaded armpit rest, cane.
-Needs to be cheap and easy to use.

- Submersive Cooling System
-Market: For computer users at home that pay more for increased processor speed.
-Ex. Photographer, Web designer, programmer, ect.
-Non-conductive fluid where the computer is completely submerged.
-Could be a consumer's option or could be included in the system.
-Gets rid of copper from existing systems, reducing the production price.

- Third World Countries
- Solving problems for people who spend less than a dollar a day.
-UN campaigned on human development stating that 50% of the world lives under a dollar a day...
- Bacteria infested water, spreading diseases.
- Cheaper/more effective mosquito repellent due to high risk of malaria.
- Efficient ways to transport food and water.
- Recycling plastic used in water bottles to produce cheap shoes.

- Blue Light Security
- College campuses have security, but it's hard to access.
- Phone application that allows mobile access to blue light security.
- Continuation of project started a few years back.
- All coding for program and website was complete. (75% of project).
- Need to market idea and catch up with how the program works.

Monday, June 20, 2011

EDD proposal

My idea for my EDD proposal actually came about during my research for another class. My problem is, A more efficient way to power cell phones or emergency devices while in remote winter environment through a jacket.

Surveillance Cameras

In recent years bullying has become more prevalent and a wide spread concern. Specifically, bullying in schools has gained national attention. I have recently been a witness to bullying in our school cafeteria. Surveillance cameras are set up in schools to assist in capturing activity. The cameras in the majority of schools are scanning cameras that move at a predetermined rate. In the incident I witnessed, the camera was scanned away as the bullying occurred and did not capture the incident. If the incident is recorded, it still can be tedious to find the recording of the incident if the exact time of the activity is unknown. Surveillance technology needs to be improved to make it is easier to find recorded activity and so cameras capture all bullying activity.These improvements will help combat the rising amount of bullying.

Efficient Gardening

Especially this time of year, gardening can been seen as a hassle to most, if not all people. First, one must create holes in the ground where they would like the plant to go. Then one must actually plant the plant, get the hose or the watering can to water the plant, cover the plant back up again, and all of these steps aren't even including the optional step of fertilizing the plant. All of this is essentially inefficient, because one must be bending over for the majority of the time, possibly injuring their backs or injuring other muscles after a long period of time. So, why not have an innovation that allows the user to have everything with them, and efficiently plant the plant without having to bend over?

Remembering Your Pills & Prescription

Many elderly people develop health problems as they grow older and luckily doctors and specialists have developed pills to help ease the pain and make some of their symptoms go away. The average senior citizen takes at least 7 pills a day, if not more and must take them to function pain free on a daily basis. However, along with old age comes forgetfulness and therefore it becomes difficult to remember when to take their pills, what pill to take, and how often to take them. They could forget and then be in pain or take too many and it could be detrimental to their health as oppose to help it like it is suppose to. Another issue is timing; while they may remember they have to take some that day, many require specific times so they do not interfere with the other medication they're taking. My grandmother spends countless hours telling my grandfather to take his pills, having to remember his and her own comes to be quite a challenge. Remembering to get their prescriptions filled is another task in itself for if they forget they’re without medicine for maybe a day or two until they can go get it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

SMART Board Problem

Many Schools and business are equipped with SMART board and interactive white board technologies. Such Technologies are very large, on average of 12 sguare feet, and take up much wall space. They can cover wall, chalk board, white board, bulletin board, or even in some cases window space. The space could be used if the board wasn't a hindrance and could move. Sense they are built stationary and cannot move, the also have a narrowed view angle.

Lack of proper stimuli in alarm clocks

Today most all alarm clocks use only sound to wake somebody up, and those that do use light do it ineffectively. Many people wake up well to strong light, and the clcoks that do exist are far too dim.
note: after I proposed a solution to this google@home was announced at Google IO and it looks like it will basically solve this eventually using the android platform and api, so I would rather solve this problem, or another. Many electronics today use electricity even when they are are not functioning, you can fix this by using a power strip and turning the power off manually, but an automatic solution would be much better.

Cost-Efficient Handicapped Swing

Everyday physically impaired children are faced with limitations in their lives. Particularly in playground settings where you do not see many handicapped accessible items and if you do, these items can sometimes be expensive or hard to install. My idea would be to provide children with a handicapped accessible, durable, safe and most importantly cost efficient swing for children to ride.

Portable Memory Shortfalls

In today's portable devices, memory storage is often an issue and almost always a central feature. The main problems with our current memory systems are excessive use of power, lack of capacity, ease of use, and speed. There are already several methods by which portable memory is stored, but none of them fulfill all of these criteria to a satisfactory degree.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Car Alarms: A Noise Polluting Nuisance

One of the main problems with the car key fob, I believe, is the panic button. The panic button is used to activate the car's alarm when you are in a crisis situation. On almost all key fobs the panic button is a red button with word "panic" written on it. It works by simply transmitting a radio frequency to a receiver in the car. Once the radio signal is received, the car alarm is triggered. It is a pretty straightforward system, but it has a major problem. It is just too easy to accidentally trigger. And since it is safe to say that most car owners will never have a need to use the panic button, the annoyance of trying to avoid pressing it outweighs the fact that it is there for safety reasons. If the fob is held the wrong way, rubs against a coin in your pocket, or a small child just wants to press the "big red button", an extreme annoyance, which many would consider noise pollution, ensues. These accidental button pressings also lead to a bigger problem; the ignoring of car alarms. If car alarms are almost always triggered by accident, why should anyone pay attention to them? As a society, especially in urban areas, people have become immune to car alarms to a point where they no longer serve a purpose, even when someone is actually in trouble.
A second problem that goes hand in hand with the issue of an easily triggered car alarm arises when the car alarm is in fact triggered. If the car alarm is set off by accident or there is a thief breaking into it, how are you supposed to know that it is your car beeping? If you are in a crowded restaurant or at a little league baseball game there are so many cars in the parking lot that it could be anyone's car going off. By the time someone actually takes the initiative to see whose car is making the ear piercing noise, the car has already made an extreme ruckus and any potential robbers would have stolen and gotten away with what they wanted out of your car. And therein lies the problem. There should be a way for a car owner to know if their car is potentially being broken into.

Washing Machine Hose Ruptures

The average American neglects to turn off their water supply valves after doing their laundry. By leaving the water supply open, the washing machine hoses are subject to a constant pressure of 80 pounds per inch. This much pressure can easily rupture the hose, especially if its an older model. A rupture can lead to 60 gallons of water on your floor in one hour, and upwards of $5,000 in damages. This increases if your machine isn't on the basement level, as water will damage the ceiling and walls below.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Quagmire that is Modern Computer Cooling: Low Performance, High Heat, No Way Out

Heat is a computer’s worst enemy. In every component, buildup of heat causes the kind of excess noise, unreliability, and performance bottlenecks that have plagued the personal and enterprise computing industries for years. The devastating effect of heat on computer components can be most easily felt when a part fails from overheating. According to researchers at Intel, “increasing HDD [hard disk drive] temperature by 5°C has the same effect on reliability as switching from 10 percent to 100 percent HDD workload” ( /215800830?pgno=3). Overheating of the processor, memory, or graphics card is also notorious for causing seemingly random shutdowns and freezes. In particularly severe cases such as the infamous Xbox 360 “Red Ring of Death” problem, overheating can cause permanent damage costing hundreds of dollars.

A slightly less obvious effect of inadequate cooling in computer components comes in the form of performance slowdowns. Since heat increases more or less linearly with processor clock speed, modern processors scale down to lower speeds when temperatures get too high. Also, the only reason that no consumer processor has shipped with a clock speed above 3.6GHz is that neither Intel’s nor AMD’s air coolers can dissipate the heat produced by faster-clocked processors. When NVidia’s GTX 480 graphics card came out in March of 2010, it had to ship with more than 6% of its processing units disabled because even top of the line air coolers couldn’t handle the full heat of the card. It’s worth noting that for the most part, these problems only affect users of high-performance equipment, such as gamers, scientific and mathematical modelers, and engineers. While this fact might limit the potential market share of a high-performance cooling product, manufacturers such as Corsair and Asetek have partnered with companies like Acer, Alienware, and HP to provide cooling directly to the makers of powerful gaming computers and workstations.

With new components that produce more heat than ever and cooling technology at the same level of sophistication as it was 20 years ago, traditional air cooling has also become louder and more expensive. Massive copper heat pipes increase the prices of high-end coolers, and increasingly more numerous and powerful fans have become loud annoyances to consumers trying to get some work –or play– done at a quiet computer.

The Result: Heat distortion on a poorly-cooled Mac

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Street Lamp Problem

In all communities street lamps waste incredible amounts of energy when no one is on the street to benefit from the expended light. Street lamps are essential for safety and many states and countries have laws requiring minimum amounts of light. The major problem is protecting not only the people affected by street lamps but the environments and resources affected as well.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


When driving a nice new car there is a good chance there is some sort of touchscreen or big display in the dash providing you entertainment. It can play music, check weather, get sport scores or give directions. Now lets shift the train of thought. If you buy even a top of the line motorboat there isn't an option for anything like this. The closest you get is a nice radio that might be able to play your ipod. It takes a lot less focus to drive a boat then a car so it makes sense to me to have a nice interactive way to provide the same kind of entertainment like the one you find in a car.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My problem:

Radio stations aren’t ideal. Everybody that has ever listened to the radio knows the frustration of not being able to find a station, song, or artist that they want to listen to. Also, when you travel out of the area, all of the radio stations are different than what you are used to. This makes it impossible to listen to the stations that you generally listen to.

The Pedal Flusher

Final Presentation

I attended the current EDD class's final presention last thursday.

Thoughts on the Final Presentation

Last Thursday, the 2011 EDD class gave a series of presentations of the year’s work to a panel of local engineers. I attended this event to get a better understanding of the class, as well as to see what is in store for me next year.

Overall, I thought the presentations were very professional. All three groups were clear in their explanations of their individual design processes from idea to finished product, and they answered most of the panel’s questions without a hitch. I especially enjoyed the demonstration of the ICCI, as well as viewing the multitude of prototypes for the dehumidifier. It was a shame that the golf cart mister’s demonstration did not work, but I got a good enough idea of how the product functioned from the presentation. I do have a few criticisms; namely that the mister group’s presentation may have gotten a bit long-winded in describing all the challenges they faced in the design process instead of focusing on the product itself, and that the dehumidifier group didn’t seem to know how their product actually worked when asked about the store-bought dehumidifier inside.

It is not my job to criticize the groups or to shower them with complements however. What I took away from the experience was that this class seems to provide a reasonably realistic picture of a career in engineering. The EDD program provides students with a chance to identify a real world problem and to go through all the steps of solving it, including the actual engineering work, but also fund raising, gathering feedback from the community, and presenting finished products to potential buyers or investors. I was disappointed that students didn’t seem to have enough time in the year to finalize and market their designs, but I suppose that’s inevitable given the short school year and the substantial amount of work that goes in to realizing even a simple idea.

In the end, this series of presentations gave me a great look at what next year will be like. After seeing the specific types of work that an EDD class does, as well as the challenges they face along the way, I can only come to one conclusion: I couldn’t be more excited for the coming year.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Final Presentation

Thursday, June 9, 2011

EDD Presentation

I attended the EDD presentation last night, and I was very impressed by what I saw and what I heard. Everything that the students said last night were organized and well planned. It was obvious to me that these students knew their subject material well. As the various engineers that came last night asked the students detailed questions about their projects, I feel that they answered the questions thoroughly

I was especially impressed with the ICCI group, as they explained the various ways that they did the testing of the materials to really prove that their prototype would be durable enough for a young child to play with. The use of the Wii remote to sense the infrared lights so that the child would actually be able to play a game that wasn't on an actual computer screen or a television was an excellent idea. According to my observations, I would definitely agree that this would be a fantastic innovation for children so that they can still have fun, but not break valuable and expensive equipment. I feel that this innovation would do well in today's market, with how quickly technology is advancing.

The Mister group's innovation was also an innovation that I feel would do well in today's market, especially now that summer is quickly approaching. It's human nature to enjoy doing various activities outside, but sometimes the heat can be unbearable. I wasn't able to see their prototype last night because from my angle where I was sitting I wasn't able to see it, and we needed to move on to the other presentation. However, based on what I was hearing from the engineers that were here, their prototype contained elements that made it very successful. One thing that I could even see deriving from this innovation, is a more portable mister that could be used not only on golf carts, but perhaps on bikes while someone is going on a bike ride, or on other things as well. The Mister was an excellent idea.

The Dehumidifier group had an excellent idea as well. In today's market I think that it would do fairly well, however there are certain aspects that still need to be addressed, as the group stated last night, such as security when the window is open allowing for the excess water from the aquamat to drain outside, and another aspect that needs to be addressed is the prevention of the consequences of "water near wires." Perhaps one thing that would draw more attention from the public, make this innovation more customizable, such as the color of the acrylic plastic surrounding the dehumidified. Having various colors of this innovation could be a selling point, as the colors could add decoration and interest to a room in a house. They are pretty interesting to look at, and the group who presented last night was correct in their statement that this would be a great item to have for someone who has a summer home that they can't be at all the time. This could even be used for someone who doesn't have summer home, and just wants to have this innovation in their house.

Out of all the groups, I think that the ICCI would do the best in today's market, just because of the American mindset of technology. However, the mister and the dehumidifier would do well also, because both of these prototypes are "environmentally friendly" as the groups stated.

Everybody did a very nice job last night. They should be proud of themselves, and the amount of work and creativity that they put into their projects this year. We have some big shoes to fill for next year :)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Last Skype Meeting

Yesterday during class we had our last Skype meeting with Ellen Dickenson. We presented her with a PowerPoint presentation about the progress we have made throughout this month. Afterward we demoed our prototypes to give her a visual of what we've accomplished. We concluded the meeting with her feedback. Moving forward, we are preparing for our final presentations that should take place in front of local engineers in the beginning of June. As the year is coming to an end we are working hard to accomplish our final goals to hopefully find success!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Skidmore Meeting & Demo

Wednesday afternoon we went to the Greenberg Child Care Center at Skidmore College to test our prototype. This was the first time we observed how children interact with our product. We had a very successful demonstration using a game called Backyard Baseball. The kids really enjoyed using the puck. They played with the system for about two hours and the puck proved to be durable and functional. We plan to make another visit within the next few weeks. After this visit we have discovered some improvements that can be made. For instance, we plan on mounting speakers in the tent allowing the children to hear the sound effects within the game they are playing.

Monday, April 25, 2011

New ICCI Tech

After returning from our spring break, we have returned with new and exciting technology. Sean has assembled our new PCB. It condenses our previous board into a new one that is only four square inches. It contains all we need in our interface device. Below you can see our old board compared to our new one. Also included is our new and updated interface device with LEDs that light up when the device is clicked.

Moving forward, Sean will be posting a more in-depth update on the circuit itself.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Elevator Pitches & Prototypes

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Prototype 3 Progress

Our third prototype of the interface device (the puck) is almost complete. It will be glued together tomorrow. It has many improvements over the previous devices including bright white plastic that allows you to better see the cursor and projected image and many colored LED's that flash when the device is "clicked." These LED's around the edge of the puck will make the device more interactive and allow children or anyone who is using the device to see when it is clicked. 

Sean assembling the device

Monday, March 21, 2011

Beginning of Week Update

Last week, we received our aluminum tubing and connectors that we ordered to build our projector mounting system. We are using push-lock connectors to attach the 6 foot tubes. We had to cut and drill holes to make the tubing fit together. The system is 6'x6'x6 with a beam across the top to mount the projector and WiiMote on.  Sean and Issac are also working on completing a third interface prototype using the new bright white acrylic. Issac is working on building in colored LED's that flash whenever the button is pressed.
Below is a rendering CAD drawing of the mounting system we are building:
Our Mounting System
The system we built

The ComfortMist group has been working on integrating the petal switch and seat switch into the system. They are using a reed switch to turn off the misting when the user is driving the golf cart. They are building a mock up petal out of wood to test it.

Ian has been working on desiging and cutting a window mounting plant box for the dehumidifier to mount in. The group has also been working on creating a box for the dehumidifier for prototype two. They designed and cut a acrylic casing for the dehumidifier to fit in. They hope to begin testing at the end of the week.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Yesterday's Events

Yesterday during our class period, Ellen Dickenson from the Lemelson-MIT Foundation visited our school. We presented her our projects, volunteer work, and fundraising progress beginning from the start of our year to what we wish to accomplish by school year's end. In addition to Ellen, we also had Mr. Piccirillo there to observe the presentation. Mr. Piccirillo is the Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education for our school district. The presentation went extremely well, as we have accomplished a great deal over the last few weeks. 

Last night, we also had the privilege and opportunity to observe the Lemelson-RPI Student Prize being awarded at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 
"The student prize is awarded annually to an MIT senior or graduate student who has created or improved a product or process, applied a technology in a new way, redesigned a system or in other ways displayed a portfolio of inventiveness. Award winners gain invaluable exposure to the science, business and investment communities through national press around this award.
The Lemelson-MIT Program funds three additional $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prizes at Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and California Institute of Technology. (1)"

"The $30,000 Student Prize is awarded to a Rensselaer senior or graduate student who has created or improved a product or process, applied a technology in a new way, redesigned a system or in other ways demonstrated remarkable inventiveness. Award winners gain invaluable exposure to the science, business and investment communities through national press around this award. (2)"

You can see the ceremony video and more about the prize here:

We were very excited about both of these opportunities, and truly believe that they were extremely beneficial to our InvenTeam members. We hope to use these experiences to further progress not only our current projects but our academic careers as well. 


Monday, February 28, 2011

Sean Greenslade's Progress

Here is a small report on the different parts of all the projects I've been working on since December.

This is my main group, and I've done several things for it. My main achievement is puck circuit 2.0. Using what I learned from building the previous circuit, I improved the design of the 2.0 circuit. The circuit itself is more compact, allowing an extra battery to be included. Along with moving the heat spreader, the circuit had some small layout changes to improve the design.
On the software side, I modified the mouse control application to accept calibration directly from the puck. This makes having an extra "calibration pen" unnecessary.

For this group, I built a two-part system. One part is a relay-controlled AC outlet. This allows a low-power circuit to control a wall power appliance, like a dehumidifier, without risking electrocution. The other part is the circuit itself. This circuit monitors the humidity of the room with a digital sensor and controls the dehumidifier based on the measured value. It has expansion capabilites, so it can be modified to read soil moisture and control a water pump.

Misting System
For this group, I have been an electrical advisor. I have aided them in designing the power systems for their pumps, helping them keep it safe and effective.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Elevator Pitches

Prior to the InvenTeam going on Winter Recess this coming week, we decided to create and present an initial elevator pitch for each project. An elevator pitch is a short explanation or description of a project or invention, usually focusing on its market value or advantage over current products. The idea is that the project can be explained in under two minutes (the average time of an elevator ride). Elevator pitches are often used by entrepreneurs to explain an idea to investors in order to receive funding.

Following is an elevator pitch for each of our three projects:

Monday, February 14, 2011

ICCI Product Development

On Friday Jill, Sean, and I met with Nancy Wheeler from the Greenberg Child Care Center at Skidmore College. We presented our project to her in hopes of testing our system prototype there. She told us what she thought of our project and gave us ideas and suggestions on how to improve it. She also told us about how they currently use computers and showed us around the facility. 
She was very interested in having us test our system there and we hope to set up a date within the next few weeks. We are very excited about this opportunity and await further feedback about our system. 

The Greenberg Child Center
Where we would set up our system.

The computer they currently use.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mid-Year Meeting

On Thursday, we had our Mid-Year skype conference with Ellen Dickenson. We gave her a PowerPoint presentation on our current progress, goals, and community service progress. She gave us comments and suggestions on our projects and business proposals.
We also found out that Ellen and others from the Lemelson-MIT Foundation will be visiting our school on March 9th. We will be doing a presentation for them and attending a Lemelson-MIT Foundation scholarship presentation that night at RPI as well. We plan to accomplish a lot in the next month as we are nearing the final stages of our project.

The link to the scholarship ceremony:

ICCI Demo with Computer Game

This video shows how this system can be used with computer games that currently exist. In the video you can see Joey playing Backyard Baseball, a computer game from 1997. Of course in our system the puck will be used on the ground not help up in the air, but for visibility purposes we chose to present it this way.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

System Prototype

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Updated Dehumidifier Prototype

Over the past couple weeks we have been working on finishing our prototype consisting of four plants, a dehumidifier, and a distribution system. It uses gravity to move the collected water from the dehumidifier to the four surrounding plants. Our end goal is to supply the plants with water drawn from the air through use of a dehumidifier and channel any excess water away from the system. Our next step in the process is to purchase the three other plants we are currently missing for the prototype and begin testing our overall system to make changes.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Finished Prototype

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mid-Course Correction

Throughout the last several months our group has gone through various transitions with respect to the market which our project will be applied. Starting off strictly as a boat misting system, our project has now evolved into accommodating several applications, as we are now marketing ourselves as a portable misting system. With this concept in mind we have brainstormed a few general applications, deciding for now to focus specifically on golf carts. We feel golf carts have a much deeper market potential as golf seasons are often cut short by uncomfortable heat. To customize our project for the consumer and separate it from existing systems, we plan to implement not only the adjustable flow rate circuit, but also a master switch and a pressure sensor which will automatically turn the system on when the golf cart seat is occupied. (This allows our system to conserve water, as the pump will only be running when the players are sitting.) With these additions the user will have complete control of the system, allowing them to adjust it to their individual preference.

Working with the golf cart idea, we recognized the potential for building a custom solar panel to fit the roof of the cart. This will not only supply our battery with more power than our current panel, but it will give us the opportunity to build something none of us have built before, a concept which remains an exciting and fresh component to this course.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Interface Prototype

The InvenTeam is now back from holiday vacation, and have been making significant progress on our projects. The Intelligent Child Computer Interface Device group is near completion on the interface device, and the other groups are continuing to progress in their prototyping.
Here Isaac and Sean give an overview of the ICCI group's interface device.

The Prototype

Sean working on the Prototype