Tuesday, December 25, 2012

It's the Time of Year to Work Harder

A few days ago in class we were finishing up the remainder of work before we went on our holiday vacation. Eric, Alex and Connor were finishing up the pinning the tote bags that we plan on selling. Over the break Eric and Connor plan to sew together at least three bags. Meanwhile, Seth and Tom continued with the inventor drawings and sketches. Soon there will be another prototype video of a backpack up on our YouTube channel. Brian went on working on the box design of the dragon puzzle. It came out looking great with all of our logos on the box. After and throughout vacation we plan on continuing work on the FirstWave backpack. Happy Holidays to everyone!

Surveymonkey Feedback Implementation

We have been using Survey Monkey responses to build the videos off of. Some responses have been specific and others very vague  We have taken a few general responses and made basic tutorial videos about that topic. For example one response said "edit pictures". We took this as an opportunity to create a video about editing pictures in general. The website designers and programmers of our group have used the survey as well to develop how to organize the information on our website.

Happy Holidays from the SSHS Inventeam!

In class the other day we picked up from where we left of with the fundraising for the new laser cutter. We now have key chain designs for PLTW, Skidmore, UAlbany, Syracuse, and our high school. We will continue developing them until we get the chance to cut them out. We also completed our December progress report, which included our accomplishments and challenges from the past month. Our logo design has been finalized and has been completed on Inventor. We also plan on meeting up some time over break to work on our Kickstarter, but also to continue prototyping. Until then, we wish everyone a healthy and happy holiday to help ring in the new year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

When I Say "Key" You Say "Chains" KEY! CHAINS!

With the recovery of the laser cutter starting through the help of Kickstarter, the PivoRest members have been designing more key chains.  With the intentions of selling these to profit EDD club, we have been making key chains that range from the PLTW logo to the Skidmore logo, a nearby college.  They will also be given out in return of donations to help replace our laser cutter.  As we quickly approach break, the team has been setting dates to get to the shop and finish our prototyping.  With the long amount of time we have, our arm rest and all the components with it will be finished early in the new year. As 2012 comes to a great end, 2013 will have a great beginning.

Making Progress

Computer2torials is continuing working hard as a team. Our website is looking better and better each day. We have a successful slideshow on our homepage and our tool bars are looking more professional. We are looking to finalize our website layout/design over the upcoming weeks. In addition to the website we are continuing to make videos; however it has slowed recently since a few members of our group are working on the Kickstarter video. For the Kickstarter video, members from our group are working on the video's script and presenting wooden dragon as well.

First Wave Holiday

Today in class the First Wave group worked on constructing the paper bags so we can get a better look at what the bags will look like. As Tom, Eric and Seth worked on putting the bags together, Alex cut out and pinned fabric templates for the gym bags we are going to sell in the near future. While the team was hard at work, group leader Brian and class treasurer Connor worked on the December progress reports. As the day came to a close, the team decided to get together and spread a little holiday cheer by making a Christmas card (as seen here). First Wave would like to wish all a happy holiday season and happy new year!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Narrowing It Down

These last few classes we have been designing templates for our backpack. With the templates we construct a model for visual and planning construction. We are coming up with 3 different designs and picking certain traits from each to use for our final design. We have also been sewing some tote bags for experience and fundraising. We will have 4 or more bags done by the end of the week.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Trudging Along

A couple of our group members are temporarily working on a class project to raise money for a new laser printer due to a recent accident. This however does not stop us from moving along on the website. Our goal is to have a full design of the website by Monday morning. We are putting a slide show on the homepage so that you get to see a variety of videos as soon as you get on our website. We keep filling gaps in our website so that nothing looks out of place

Rebuilding From The Ashes

This past Monday, there was a malfunction with our laser cutter while we were cutting out the last sheet of Shen key chains. The laser cutter caught on fire and is now out of commission. So today in class, three members of our team and a few other classmates met to discuss how we could raise the $6000 needed for a new one. We have decided to use Kickstarter, a website where people can pledge money in exchange for products, to generate enough funds.While we worked on fundraising, the remaining members of our group finalized our logo design and three more key chain designs. Over the weekend, we will continue to prototype our armrest design and will start fundraising for the new laser cutter.

New Focus

We've still continued to work on the box design dragon project despite the set back of losing the laser cutter. We focused in on a final design for the backpack, and are beginning to put it into inventor. A few of us are moving forward with the duffle bag production for our fundraising although we suffered a mixed set back in which we were able to make more bags with less fabric. However, we only had five zippers for our now ten duffle bags so we will need to order more. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Aesthetic Communication

We made another video to add to the large collection we will have when we launch the website, which is still undergoing construction. The programming team has explored some aesthetic details, such as gradient borders and menus that expand when clicked, and these will make the website as a whole not only easier to use, but also a more enjoyable experience. In addition to that, we have also finished a simplified, professional logo to use. With videos being routinely completed, the website approaching its user-friendly goal, and a logo finalized, each piece of Computer2torials.com is steadily getting ready to begin fitting together.

Showing Shen Support

The PivoRest group has been working on giving “Shen” key chains to support the students from Shenendehowa High School after the tragic car accident killing two of their peers.  We were able to create most of the key chains but problems with the laser cutter led to an end of the production.  The group is continuing to refine the design of the armrest and we are coming close to a final design.  Prototyping will be continued throughout the month.  We were also asked to create a new logo and we are progressing with an idea created by one of our members.

Tote Bag Production

Today our fabric from Jo-Anne's Fabrics came in so we got all the material to make our tote bags. Part of the group was cutting out templates for the tote bags while the other half was continuing to chug away on the inventor drawings for the backpacks. We will have those done by this Thursday along with the tote bags. Also we want to have the designs finalized by next class so we can start going into depth with our trouble shooting. We also sold $256 worth of wax ski scrappers to a local sports store. Overall we have made nice progress and we see some big things happening in the near future.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Logos, Licence Plates, and Other Lucrative Products

Today in class, our main focus was on two separate tasks. We split up into two "teams" if you will, one for coming up with measurements for the length/diameter of the arm rest, and one for continuing the design of our key chains and license plate cover. We will use those measurements to begin prototyping our first model as soon as Brian Casey is able to meet with us, which will be early next week. We are also using our progress reports from last month to make sure we have gotten everything done which we wanted to, by the end of next week. Our next task will definitely be completing our first whole prototype so we can begin analyzing it for pros and cons, as well as making a final decision on our logo design.

One Step Closer to Professionalism

Lately, we have been re-designing our logo by trying to simplify it as well as many advances. Advancement in our website has consisted of a new layout with categories. Now the user clicks either a mac or windows option, to then be directed further into the website. We have a working Google search bar on the website as well. The video production sub-section of the group has been consistently creating new videos with higher quality and more efficiency. We have also acquired a professional green screen with lighting. This has also been set up and now will help us further maximize the quality of our videos. 

Boxes, Designs and Fundraising

Friday in class half of the group was working on making final designs for the back pack and we are planning to put the new designs on inventor in sheet metal. The other half of the group was working on the box for the dragon 3D wooden puzzle we are planning to show to G. Willikers. We were making templates that we could use and cut out with the laser cutter. We also want to find clay-coated paperboard for the box so we can print a cool design on the front of the box. The sewing experts are also going to find a good project to start to get more sewing practice. We are thinking a simple one-pocket backpack would be a good next step. We are going to work on the backpack on inventor and the box over the next few classes. Some of our group members went to the Sports Page Ski Shop and sold $56 of wax scrappers and the owner there said he would buy 100 more scrappers in February from us.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Putting it Together, Piece by Piece

Today the group got together and decided that some of the original plans that were going to be put on the backpack needed to be modified. Ideas that we originally thought to be good needed to be changed. Through the teams discussion we went through the different aspects of the bag and tried to figure out how to make a part or section of the bag better. Some examples of these changes included the front and back panel’s width. Also another feature that was redesigned was the front pocket. Instead of having two bars to hold the roller skis, it was redesigned into just one large bar. These challenges that we have been faced with will need to be overcome so we can build the best backpack possible. Check out a video of one of our prototype models of the First Wave Pack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwqdA1pElcI&feature=g-upl

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sitting, Waiting, but Still Working!

S95959738.jpgAs the PivoRest group waits for more materials and time in the shop to finish prototyping, we have been making good progress on our fundraising projects. Within the next week or so, our first prototype of the armrest will be completed.  In the meantime, a cutout of the license plate cover was created with the laser cutter.  This is a good starting point for the project and will help us finalize dimensions.  Sketches for our key chains have been made in Inventor and will be cut out soon to see what improvements need to be made.

Chugging Along

We have been working very hard and making progress. We have collected several surveys and are in the process of taking all the information and putting it into one spreadsheet. We have also been producing more and more videos. We are trying to get them done more efficiently and expedite the process. Our programming team has been working on the menu bar of our website, trying to make it the most efficient and most professional looking. We have also been working on the wooden dragon for fundraising.  This is just about complete and ready to be sold.

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Time of Hard Work and Remembrance

Today the First Wave Pack was hard at work coming up with new designs for the backpack. As expected, many answers from the Kingston surveys brought up new things to keep in mind while designing the bag. Also, the team is starting to go with a sleek futuristic design that incorporates pockets that can hold a lot but are not big and bulky. One of the main problems we are running into is we can’t seem to cut down on the bag’s width, but after some intense brain storming, a solution is in the works. But more importantly, this past weekend a group of high school students from a nearby school were in a severe car accident when they were hit by a drunk driver. Two students unfortunately lost their lives that night and the First Wave Pack would like to send their condolences to their family and friends. Rest in peace Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers.

Additions, Adhesives, and Fundraising

In the past couple of days, the PivoRest team has made several advancements. Using the information gathered from the last nursing home, our inventor drawings have been modified to fit the new criteria. Also, we have completed the research of the adhesive to stick to the foam to the plastic. We purchased it, and tested it today to make sure it successfully adhered the two materials. Lastly, we have worked on making licence plate covers out of the plastic, to help raise money for the class budget. 


The Computer2torials group seem to have hit a road block on the programming side of things; trying to add new things to the website has broken it on multiple browsers. It feels like we are moving backwards at this point.  At least the production team has been steadily making videos but we haven't been able to view them on the website yet. We have a lot of surveys to review and have many ideas for videos.  Also, we are trying to get our hands on a computer that we could put Windows 8 onto so we could do tutorial videos for the new operating system.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Two Heads are Better than One

Today, our team broke into smaller groups. Two members researched adhesives that can bond acrylic and memory foam without causing deterioration. Another team member finished the revised Inventor drawing using the feedback we got from our visit at The Pines. We then emailed this design to a Wheelchair Movement Specialist in North Carolina to get her opinion of our armrest. The rest of the team worked on two fundraising ideas: a key chain and a license plate frame. We made Inventor drawings and plan on cutting them out with the laser cutter in the next few days.

Getting Down to Business

Today we did a lot of reviewing on the design of the bag.We brainstormed a lot about pockets and placement. We also placed an order for some fluorescent acrylic sheets for future fundraising projects. This weekend we plan to stop by Sports Page and pitch the finished scrapers to them.

Wooden Dragon Puzzle

We discussed fundraising ideas in class to see how we could use our engineering skills that we have learned to help fund the class. We are going to develop a wooden dragon puzzle that people can buy and assemble. The dragon will have the cut out wooden parts as well as instructions and a video on how to assemble it. The dragon puzzle will be pitched to a local company for sale. One member of our group has been working to revamp an older model of the dragon and other team members have been helping him with this task.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Increasing the Archive

We met in class with another video tutorial complete and another scheduled to be done after school. A few website layouts were presented to and discussed with the whole class. The user-friendly aspects of each layout we agreed on are something to work toward as the programmers learn their way through the different coding languages the website is being written in. Meanwhile, the video producers of the group are consistently continuing to meet and create tutorial videos to add to the site. The video-producing process is gradually becoming more efficient as more videos are created. The goal at this point is to maximize that efficiency and start implementing the layout we want into the website itself.

New Ideas

After a short Thanksgiving break, the PivoRest members got back to work and visited The Pines at Glens Falls Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation.  We met with a few physical and occupational therapists and the Therapy Program Manager there.  They all seemed very enthusiastic about our project.  They gave us their critiques on our current design and we received a lot of positive feedback.  We are already working on some possible ideas they have given us and we plan to keep building upon them.

Wax Scrapers, Templates, and Materials

Most recently we've been designing some new wax scrapers to sell at Sports Page. They've turned out pretty well so far but we had a few issues in the beginning with the laser cutter. Today in class we started pinning together our reverse engineering backpack template and it all fit together well which means we've started to get the hang of inventor templates. Lastly, all of our materials to start making more duffle bags have been ordered so those should be in within the next few days. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Reaching Out

Today in class we put in an order for more materials to make tote bags and drawstring bags that we could use for sewing practice and sell them for fundraising. Also in class today we made a plan to meet with a local company called Tough Travelers. Its a backpack company that makes heavy duty backpacks with canvas materials. We would like to meet with them to see if they could give us any constructive criticism and possibly point us in the right direction. Finally we came up with the idea to sell or wax ski scrapers at a local sports shop. For our last blog, we created a video blog from the Kingston races.  We are still working on posting it however due to technical difficulties.

Developing Expertise

Today in class, we decided to review our design process. Since our task involves so much thought and preparation, it's very overwhelming to look at the whole thing all at once. So, we have decided to break up into a few smaller groups to try to focus on smaller parts of the big picture. So far, this is working very well for us, since we have already come up with a few new solid designs that we plan to go with. Once we make our first rough prototype, it will be easier to critique the parts we like and refine the parts we don't, thus continuously improving our design until we get it to where we want it to be.

Bechtel Feedback

Our class met with three representatives from Bechtel to inform them of our progress so far this year. From the meeting, our group took away some very helpful ideas. They were impressed with our work and our drive to complete our project. Today, in class, we focused on creating more subject-like videos. Instead of creating random request videos, we plan to chose a topic and master every aspect of that topic, creating many tutorial videos in that subject. Once we have a plethora of videos on our website, we will take requests and help each person with a specific video. We also fixed the layout of the website, experimenting with new methods such as drop down menus and vertical tabs. Our new logo was also added to the website and has started to be integrated into the eight tutorial videos already created.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Oh the Possibilites!

As we approach Thanksgiving break, the PivoRest group has been focusing a more of our attention on fundraising.  Since we are working with plastic, we have generated a list of items that we could make out of plastic and sell.  This will improve our plastic working skills as well as generate money for our class.  Also, PivoRest is working on visiting more nursing facilities to generate more feedback. The more feedback we have, the better we can make our product.

Designing the Website

Today in class we worked on perfecting our elevator speeches and our PowerPoint making skills. We have also been working on layouts/designs for our website. We will make up 3 templates to show to the class and get their opinion on them. We have also gotten books on CSS, PHP, MySQL, and JavaScript. We are working through them and doing the activities to obtain a better knowledge in those languages. We are also continuing making tutorial videos to put on the site

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The More the Merrier

In the last couple of days, we have been working on several aspects of the product. We have been brainstorming logos for Pivorest, and trying to find the best one. Also, the group took another trip to the shop, to practice bending acrylic for our prototypes. Today specifically, we presented our progress to the class and discussed what we needed to improve and work on as a group. We also decided that in the next two weeks we were going to visit two more health care facilities,to get more information about patients needs and wants. We are also working on brainstorming ideas of what we could do with the plastic to sell to raise money for the class.

First Wave Ready for Race Day

Today we accomplished many things in preparation for the Kingston Roller Ski race this Sunday. The first task accomplished was the creation of our banner that we will take down with us to hang up at a booth. The second task that was accomplished was that we completed our survey to ask the many roller skiers that attend the race. As well, we have some more tote and drawstring bags completed that we would like to sell at the Roller Ski race.  Also we plan on having baked goods to sell at our booth. This race is guaranteed to be a huge stepping stone for the First Wave Pack.

Keeping up the Momentum

Today we gave our presentation on what we have done to the class. We received many tips about what to do next and we will consider what will actually be feasible and implement as many ideas as possible. We have been working on how we are going to receive requests from our users. Currently we have a box that our users can type into and then click a button to email us exactly what the user entered into the box. This is one of many different ways of receiving requests and we are still experimenting with the whole process to try and figure out which option would best benefit ourselves and the user. With our survey results we are going to record the most popular responses in hope to the help the people who took the survey.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Making Great Progress

Today the First Wave Pack gave their progress report. Looking back on what we have accomplished, we realize we are making great progress. After the report was given, the team worked on inventor drawings because the Kingston roller ski races are this weekend. We are trying to get a rendering of the bag done so people at the race can see what our bag will look like. In the coming weeks the group will divide an conquer, half the group will start working on making duffel and draw string bags to sell, and the other half will start working on the original backpack itself. The three non-Nordic skiers in the group have agreed to take part in the beginner race. So the races should be fun for both participants and spectators.

More Web Design and More Videos

Our website was redone so it will be easier to change by having all the essential parts of the website in its own file. These essential parts is then shown in the website. This makes the site easier to change because if you change the file you then change the logo.  For example, it is changed on every web page. We also have started to crack out the videos. We have 7 total at the moment with a large commitment of time into each one. We have posted the videos on the website and are playing around with different functions on the website.

Hard Work Pays Off

Today in class, our team got together and discussed the possible logo designs we are going to present to our class later this week. We also worked on what we are going to say during our presentation on what we have accomplished so far. After class, three members of our group met with Brian Casey again to work on bending plastic. They made a curve to work on what width, length, and diameter will work best for most arms. In addition to this, members of our group visited Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital to discuss our current designs and what we need to modify. In the next few days, we will finalize our logo design and go make more plastic mock-ups. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Steps to Success

After a successful Skype meeting with a Colorado board of administrators, the team quickly went back to work on the project.  We have made an appointment for tomorrow to meet with the nurses from Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital in Schenectady.  We hope to gather more information there, regarding comfort and mobility of the arm, and would like to see if they are interested in our project.  Our goal for next week is to have started a plastic prototype. On our down time, the team members are all coming up with different logo designs.  We will have our set logo by next week.

Assessment and Goals

Today we received our own Yeti Microphone and we were able to show Mr. Gallagher and our project manager Olivia the three videos that we have completed. The videos were approved, so we can continue making more videos like the previous three if not better. We had our biweekly assessment with Mr. Gallagher today and each group member was assigned a specific task and a deadline. A dragon, made by creating two-dimensional parts on a laser cutter and putting them together as pieces to a puzzle, that group members made outside of this class will be manufactured and sold for fundraising. Other tasks were also assigned. To get this project done by the end of the year we all need to work as hard as possible and continue creating deadlines that are possible and also push us to work harder.


We already have orders for our tote bags that we are sewing for fundraising. We have made progress sewing. I got through a big chunk of the catch-all bag, while Connor and Tom got work done on their drawstring bags. My goal is to be finished with this kick off project by the end of the weekend and to start on the tote bags. Today we gave ourselves the challenge to find all the materials needed to make a tote bag for less than the Llama tote bag kit price. This really makes us think about everything we need and the vast world we can choose from. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Success in Skype!

Today in class, we did several dry runs of our script that we would be using for our Skype call with Colorado.  This call was to inform a board of administrators as well as Leigh from MIT what our Engineering Design and Development class is all about.  Group members gave their elevator pitches,our treasurer spoke about finances and fundraisers, and our project manager helped lead one topic into the next.  Overall, the call went over very well and Colorado seemed very pleased with our work.  We will keep in touch with Leigh as we move deeper into our projects and the year.  

Friday, November 2, 2012

Creating the First Tutorials

To learn through experience how exactly to approach the development of tutorial videos, the video production team within our group worked to create three tutorials. The programming team in our group embedded the videos on the website from private links to YouTube where the videos were originally posted. The video-making process was significantly more time consuming than originally anticipated. An animated logo is also an emerging possibility as we solidify our standard format for each tutorial. In addition to video and web development done outside of class, we participated in a brief Skype practice session which brought to our attention the need to practice our elevator pitch and be prepared to represent our product. We’ll be working on that as well as the search engine for our website, more practice in making video tutorials, and refining the website in general. With the videos posted and parts of the website functioning correctly, it’s exciting to see the results of our work. 

Scripts, Sewing, and Elevator Pitches!

On Thursday, we made progress on our script for Monday's Skype conversation. Today we spent a large portion of class working on our elevator pitch, making it shorter and more concise. We also tested out everyone pitching it and even recorded some videos to see how we looked. Our inventor group worked more with the flange function of the sheet metal program. This lead to some cool angular backpack designs. Tom and Connor are close to completing their first sewing project and will have those done by next Wednesday.

Plastic Molding 101

Today we worked with Brian Casey after school, who is helping us with plastic molding. He is continuing to put in his input about our project, and has given us some great suggestions. For example, he gave us a ball-and-socket joint that we plan to reverse engineer next class, since it will most likely end up being the type of joint we will use for the PivoRest. We also received our foam today, and are beginning to accumulate the rest of our materials so that we can begin prototyping with plastic by next week. Over the weekend, a few of us are brainstorming ideas for a product logo, and are also continuing to get in contact with a few people regarding the attachment methods that we have been researching over the past few days.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Making Head Way

Our group has divided into smaller groups so that people can work on becoming experts in a certain field. For example, two of us have been working really hard on becoming experts at sewing, while other's have been working with the Autodesk Inventor program to create a model of our backpack. Also all of our materials have been arriving with the exception of what we ordered today which was samples of canvas and zippers. Overall our group is moving in the right direction and we will continue to keep up the good work.

Pickin up the Pace!

As work continues on our prototype armrest, more behind the scenes work has been completed.  We have ordered materials that will be used for the cushioning like memory foam, fabric, and elastics.  Half of the group has been focusing upon the actual arm rest while the other half has been sewing and playing around with ideas for the cushioning.  In the next few days, we will be meeting with someone who is going to help us mold plastic, more specifically acrylic.  Things are coming along well, but much more work still needs to be completed.

Learning PHP

We have began learning and implementing code from the PHP language. This will be useful and make it easier in web layout and design. PHP will also be used in coding the search function for the site. We have also started to write scripts and film videos for the website. In the next few days we will have videos up on the website and we will have learned the necessary PHP code. We are looking to have a functional website with good videos up in a month or so.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Next Steps

Pivorest is starting to conclude the larger portions of research, and is now moving onto some building. We have found the clamp we think we will use, and are getting a few to try out. Also, we placed an order for some of the materials we will need for the build, like the memory foam, to cushion the armrest. Finally, we have been working on a rough wooden prototype of the device, and sent several members of our group to start learning about injection molding. The next step for us is to finish the wooden prototype, and get more people into the workshop to learn about the molding process by the end of the week.