Experimenting with Arduino

Video of the Arduino displaying temperature, warning, and buzzing until the temperature drops below threshold.
Here is the back of my LCD screen with a freshly soldered backpack.

The Process

My very first time using Arduino I merely played with getting LED lights to light up. Once I had mastered that, I wanted to move on to a more complex project with a user in mind. I love to cook and decided I wanted to make a device for a kitchen that would be universally accessible to anyone who cooks: children, adults, college kids, those with hearing or seeing impairments, and more. This product would monitor heat on the stove and warn the cook when something on the stove went past the temperature threshold with an LCD displaying “HOT!”, a buzzer, and an LED (video above). I decided to add these three components to the alarm system so that it would be evident to everyone using the product that their food was getting too hot. A blind user could benefit from the buzzer and a deaf user could utilize the LED and warning display. As my breadboard began to fill up, I decided to solder a backpack onto my LCD screen to make my prototype sleeker and easier to use (pictured above). This was my first time soldering, but I was able to make a clean connection with every pin I soldered. Once this was done, my prototype was complete and clean looking.

Reflection

Pursuing my love for prototyping by teaching myself to use Arduino was a gratifying experience. Being able to turn my ideas into a physical working prototype was something rather new to me and was exciting each step of the way. Every time something I coded popped up on my LCD screen, I immediately felt a rush of excitement and a desire to keep iterating on my ideas to make a more complex prototype. Including features in my design that improved its accessibility was exciting as well because I am committed to accessibility and hope to include features like these in all my future designs.

Now What

I found physical prototyping with Arduino to be as fun as it was educational and I hope to take HCDE physical computing courses in my future at UW. In these courses I hope to learn more coding skills so I can make more complex designs. I believe I gave myself a good foundation in my independent study to thrive in prototyping classes in the future. I could also see prototyping as a future career because I love being able to make ideas on paper turn into something physical to test with a user and iterate on.

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