Title: Interactive Toy Louie the Lovebug
Type: Hardwar, Programming, Arduino
Date: Fall 2020
As part of IAT 267, Introduction to Technology Systems, students took an already existing children’s toy and made it interactive. For this project I created Louie the Lovebug, with the goal of making children feel welcomed and loved, especially during tough times
How it Works: The Circuitry
Louie is constructed by the use of a simple circuit and electrical comments. The breadboard serves as the base for all the wiring and directly contains the LEDs and buttons on it. The LEDs are attached with resistors in series (to avoid short-circuiting the LEDs) to pins 7 and 8 so that their behaviour can be controlled by the computer. The push-button has three different connections: pin 4, 5v (power), and 0v (ground). The push-button contains a 10k ohm resistor connect in series to the ground so that it will not short circuit since there is a complete loop without any load. Also, the connection to pin 4 allows the computer to control the behaviour, therefore trigger outputs when it is pushed. Similarly, the servomotor also has three connections: pin 9, 5v (power), and 0v (ground) which allows the behaviour to be controlled by the computer as well as being powered and grounded.
How it Works: The Program
To make Louie the Lovebug functional there is a program that manages the behaviour of the circuitry. Using the Arduino platform to detect the inputs and trigger outputs, we can control Louie’s behaviour. Essentially the program works in a large if/else statement controlled by the button state. Since the button has only two possible states on/off,
If the button state is high, meaning that the button has been pressed, then it will execute the code that turns on the LEDs, moves the servo motor to a set position, and triggers a unique byte to the serial monitor. If the button is low, meaning the button is not pressed, then it will tell the LEDs to remain off.
Putting it All Together: The Construction
Once the circuitry was set up and the interaction was working the breadboard was placed inside Louie’s head so that the LEDs could poke out of a slit in the heart-shaped eye-sockets, as well as having the button line up with the nose. The servo motor was placed inside Louie’s back with a small slit at the top for the wings to attach. The wings were sewn to a plastic connecter that snaps onto the servo motor through the slit Louie’s body. The Arduino board was placed underneath the servo motor inside the body, except for a small opening for the USB to plug in and connect to the computer.