Dining Band @ NY Tech Meetup = internet fame

Zainab, Omar, Youssef and Matthew did an amazing job presenting the MOUSE Corps Legacy Project: Dining Band at NY Tech Meetup on Tuesday – in front of 500+ tech innovators.   Their demo totally inspired the NYTM community:

Watch their demo here: http://bit.ly/158V6Fa

Thank you to NY Tech Meetup for inviting us – and we can’t wait to show you our student’s new assistive/adaptive tech prototypes in partnership with United Cerebral Palsy!


Women’s workshop at Clear

I learnt a lot for the workshop with the female workers at Clear. It was interesting because I got to found out the secrets of how a company that works a lot behind the scenes, but is never given credit in front of the audiences work. Clear goes through a long chain of process, with each different group working together. I find that very interesting because that long process is only one tiny step to a product for a company to be sold to the audiences that likes the advertisement. However, one thing I was wondering about during the workshop was what do they do if they’ve finished gathering a final idea for company A’s new product and Company A doesn’t reply back. I was thinking they might just go on with another idea for Company B and wait for Company A to reply on their idea.

During this workshop, we had each had a chance of talking to the female workers at Clear about our Legacy projects. I was talking to a lady named Hayley and she said her brother was color-blind and he was in college. She said he sometimes had so much trouble with deciding what to wear because of his disability and because of that he would even send her pictures of himself wear the clothing and askign her opinion on how it is. From this conversation, I got a strong feeling that if the Fashionator were to be finished and finalized, many people would be able to benefit from it and the original goal, to help the blind and the visually-impaired, would be reached to the greatest extend.

I’m so glad I was able to go to this meeting. I learned a lot of useful information and I’m glad I can finally be able to decide what my major(s) are and what can I do for my future as well as the world.

MOUSE Corps Legacy Projects win at the Emoti-Con Festival!

Big congrats to the Dining Band Legacy Project team for winning the top prize at this year’s Emoti-Con Festival!

article from MOUSE.org:

MOUSE, a national nonprofit organization that empowers and inspires underserved youth, is pleased to announce its students being recognized for their innovative projects at the 4th Annual Emoti-Con! 2012 Digital Media and Technology Challenge! Emoti-Con! brings together middle and high school students from across New York City to share their passions in technology, present their digital creations, and network with peers and industry professionals.

“Emoti-Con! is an extremely unique opportunity to showcase the work of a new generation of innovators and thinkers, who are passionate about sharing their perspectives and making a positive change in the world through digital media and technology,” said Marc Lesser, Education Director, MOUSE.

More than 150 students presented their technology projects at Emoti-Con! 2012, through their involvement with other NYC-based nonprofit organizations including DreamYard, The Museum for African Art, The Parsons Scholars Program, Girls Write Now, Global Kids, WNYC Radio Rookies, MOUSE, New York Public Library, and Institute of Play.

Sixty students and educators attended from MOUSE, presenting a wide range of technology and digital media projects involving 3D printing and design, anti-bullying games and videos, and technology to assist the visually impaired or those with special needs.

Youth projects were judged in the following categories: Best Pitch, Most Innovative, Most Potential for Social Impact, Most Entertaining and Favorite Project. Students from MOUSE were honored to be recognized with three of these five awards. Judged by their peers, the Emoti-Con! 2012 winning projects were:

  • Best Pitch and Favorite Project: The Dining Band, designed and developed by MOUSE high school students, this project provides a location and temperature sensor wrist band to assist the blind or visually impaired while eating
  • Most Innovative: T.A.P. Project, created by the P256Q MOUSE Squad, includes a series of assistive technology inventions that offer easy solutions to everyday tasks involving fine motor skills
  • Most Potential for Social Impact: A multimedia documentary about “stop and frisk” produced by a high school student through his participation in WNYC Radio Rookies
  • Most Entertaining: A space-themed video game built on Scratch and Arduino, designed and programmed by a 6th grader during an after school program with Institute of Play

Emoti-Con! is designed, organized and led by youth that are guided by a steering committee of educators and youth professionals from Global Kids, MOUSE, New York Public Library and Parsons The New School for Design. These organizations, as well as those that brought youth to present projects, are all members of Hive Learning Network NYC, a network of 39 nonprofit organizations dedicated to creating new digital learning opportunities for youth.

“Emoti-Con! illustrates what’s possible when organizations and youth from across the city come together to celebrate their passion for creating, building, making and learning using digital media and technology,” said Chris Lawrence, Director of Hive Learning Network NYC. “The entire process – from developing their projects to meeting with successful media and technology professionals – offers youth a transformative learning and entrepreneurial experience and reveals real pathways towards college and career readiness.”

MOUSE empowers underserved youth to learn, lead and create with technology, preparing them with skills essential for their academic and career success. Founded in New York City in 1997, MOUSE is a dynamic nonprofit organization having a positive and lasting impact on students in more than 350 locations in the United States, including in New York, California, Chicago and Texas, as well as a global presence in more than 50 countries. To learn more about MOUSE, visit http://www.mouse.org.

About Hive Learning Network
NYC: Hive Learning Network NYC is a Mozilla project that was founded through The MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media & Learning initiative to fuel collaborations between cultural organizations and create new learning pathways and innovative education practices together. Hive NYC is comprised of thirty-nine nonprofit organizations—museums, libraries, media and other youth-facing organizations—that create opportunities for youth to explore their intellectual and skill-based interests using digital media and other technologies. Network members have access to funding to support this work through The Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in The New York Community Trust. For more information please visit http://www.explorecreateshare.org. Also visit http://www.facebook.com/EmotiConNYC ¬or Twitter @EmotiCon_NYC.

Extra Tech Mentor Meeting w/ Joe

-We began the meeting with soldering the battery to the switch
-We learned more about how the arduino code works from Joe
*boolean- Can only be one or two states i.e. true or false, on or off, yes or no
-3 Short Pulses: On
-1 Long Pulse: Off

  • 5 Short Pulses: Close
  • The distance sensor numbers jumped around a lot so we are now join to sample 30 numbers and average them to get a more accurate and reliable sensor.

-We are trying and modifying different enclosures for the final product
-We have made our enclosures and finished our final patches of code
-The Dining Band Prototype is COMPLETE!!!

3rd Mentor Meeting w. Joe (Final Prototype)

-We previously ordered a temperature sensor from China and it had arrived
-Joe worked on the vibration motor and he edited the code
-We are attaching the pin via soldering to the mini arduino so that we can program it
-We are attaching two female header pins to the mini arduino
-We are using a protoboard to hold the circuit
-We are attaching two male header pins to the protoboard
-We are going to need to control the vibration motor through a transistor on an arduino
-We are going to convert USB to FTDI
-We are assembling our final circuit
-We are going to connect the middle pin of the transistor to a digital pin (d4) to control the vibration motor
-We are going to attach the vibration motor to the VCC (Positive)
-We are going to connect the distance sensor to the circuit
Red-Digital Pin
-Solder Analog Distance sensor to A0

  • We are going to check if the distance sensor is programmable

-The On/Off button is attached to a digital pin (d7)
-We are going add an LED to the On/Off button so as to debug it and for us to know if the prototype is on eating mode or not
-10 ohm resistors (for the button)
-We are connecting the LED to a digital pin (d11)
-We created an enclosure for the prototype
-We are now connecting the distance sensor
-We are going to code so that arduino can be programmed to test the temperature sensor
testing. mission completed.
-We are going to attach the temperature sensor to the circuit
-Solder temperature sensor to A2
-We are to use hot glue to insulate the back of the sensors
-The sensor calculates temperature in Celsius

  • We are going to put the circuit in the enclosure (FINAL STEP)

Prototyping the SmartChair

If you guys want to check out more of the pictures we have of the development of the SmartChair feel free to check them out at http://www.flickr.com/photos/chase_0704/sets/72157629841017393. There are tons of pictures from the hardware to the field tests.


Today we are currently making adjustments to the way the wires are placed on the SmartChair and I am working on fixing up the code, I want to be able to have the SmartChair say a command but prevent the command from being constantly repeated, if we have time today hopefully we will also re-record the audio files to sound more natural and friendlier.

Prototyping the SmartChair

We didn’t know what the problem was before Joe arrived, we couldn’t get the wave shield to access the SD card, but when Joe told us that we didn’t read the instructions correctly, it was a very upsetting roadblock. We forgot to solder four wires, now that it works we came across another problem with some files not playing, which was quickly fixed by shortening the file names of the files. Another problem that arose was a software error, the code had an extra portion of the code that told the wave shield to skip a file, that was quickly fixed by removing about 3 lines of code. We are also going to instead of soldering the wires onto the circuit we are going to add female headers just in case we want to rearrange the wires at a later time. For the LV-MaxSonar- EZ1, we want to give multiple warnings so when the sensor outputs around 210 it will give the first warning and when it outputs 160 it will give a second warning. We also tested the Prototype outside, the sensors worked outside, people parted their way for the person on the wheelchair, which made testing the sensors so much easier. Our prototype is starting to come together however we still have the data values correct because we don’t want the same sound reiterating constantly

Here’s our code for the project, including all drafts and test Arduino sketches! Don’t forget that you need to install the WaveHC library from Adafruit before you try to run this code.

Awesome job today!!