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2018 - Term One - Week Ten - VR, Sound and Programming Our Cube-Bots

Hi everybody!

Well here we are at the end of Term One!  I know it is a cliche to say time has flown but it does indeed appear to have travelled in an expedited fashion.  This week we had one group finishing off a major project while others spent time exploring Sound or the world of VR.  Where to begin?



Our first year groups all spent this weeks session learning about the fantastic world of Sound.  Having spent many years as a Sound Editor and Engineer this is a topic that is written into my DNA.  We started with a recap on how electromagnets can be used to move an object back and forward before discussing how an alternating current can be used to vibrate a diaphragm or speaker.  We experimented with how simply this can be achieved using nothing more than a coil of wire, an amplifier and a small magnet.

This is just one of several experiments we did, most of which I completely failed to get on camera...

Some that I did get on camera included an exercise that involved learning how frequency/hertz control the pitch of sound.  Here we have one of the groups relishing the idea that  young people are much better at hearing higher frequencies than us oldies:

We also talked about how sound travels through different mediums at different speeds, like water...

...and we pulled out the smoke machine to demonstrate how sound is transmitted using pressure waves.  No photo for this one - Doh!

Finally we went down to the school and measured the speed of sound using a video camera, a roller measure and a bit of mathematics.  These are some stills from some of the videos we shot:

A great session!



The Mega-Bots finished up their "Cube-Bots" this week.  Having already completed the assembly we got to spend all session programming the Arduino micro-controller to give the robots some personality.  The original challenge document said that the maker had to use the various lights, fans and speaker to build a range of emotion 'states'.  Then we used a randomising function to choose between these different states with gaps of random lengths in-between.

Lots of coding..

...but by the end of the session we had 3 amazing robots ready to go home!

This was a really challenging but fun project, and the great thing is that even though we won't be spending any more time with these creations at Stem Club, they can be re-programmed at home using software that is available online and completely free.



The Guinea-Pigs spent another session exploring the world of VR.  This time we took our 360 degree camera out into the world to see what it's like capturing VR footage.

We shot a small scene in some of the walking tracks nearby...

... as well as some of a football match, a stream and Luka going down a slide.

Once we had some good shots in the bag we headed back to MakeRoom and processed the files so that they could be viewed on our Gear VR system.  This involved taking the images from our camera and "stitching" them into a full 360 file.

 A few minutes of processing later and we were enjoying our videos in full VR.

Luka's slide video ended up looking something like this:

That's it for Term One.

It's been a great few weeks and we have lots more cool stuff planned for Term Two!


See you all in a fortnight.