Kuan Liu - Mon 4 May 2020, 2:07 am
Modified: Mon 4 May 2020, 2:07 am

Studio report back:

Theme: Digital sensation and creative learning. Aiming to teach elementary children about environmental protection and sustainability. I want to use the smoke effect to show the output.

What is the one BIG question you have about the Prototype deliverable?

I don’t have any at this moment.

What is your one key aim for your prototype (or part of the prototype)? This is the main thing that you want to have worked or completed or figured out for your prototype.

Making the smoke effect is the main thing that I want to have it working.

What concerns or needs do you have for getting it done?

The main concern I have is that I need to figure out the right amount of the length of the nichrome wire so that the internal resistance of the battery will allow the current to flow and the voltage of the battery will not be pulled down. Or the temperature of the wire rise, causing the resistance to increase, lowering the current even more.

Question for Workshop:

How could the class help you?

I got my parts yesterday (Thursday). I am going to start working on it today. So, I am good for now.

What are your main concerns about the prototype?

My main concern is figuring out the length of the wire so that the battery would allow the current to flow and the battery won’t be drawn out too fast.

What is working? What is not working?

At this moment I don’t have any but I will ask when I ran into a problem.

Individual Work

This week, my ordered parts came on Thursday except for one more sensor. I started working on it on Friday night. I started with nichrome wire and I found out that the wire I got was too thick (0.8mm). It means that the voltage I got 12v was not powerful enough to get the current flow since the ohm was not high enough it only for 2.63 ohms (resistance) in the length of 100cm. This means that the battery will run out before the wire gets hot. This was the exact worry I had before I received the wire. I had thought about the issue after I placed the order. I had zero understanding of electrical engineering. I don’t even know how to fix this problem. I only know that I would need to buy another size of the wire. However, I don’t have time to place another order since it would take another week, which I don’t have. I asked my dad for help. He told me that I can try the wires on the hairdryer first. There are 4 different sizes of wires and I would need to measure their ohms first. At this point, I am aiming to find the resistance of 40 ohms by using a multimeter. That said, I need to know how to use and read a multimeter with my dad’s help in teaching and explaining what each item means.

First, I started with measuring each wire from the wire’s start and end with positive (Red- it’s measuring current, voltage, and resistance) and negative (Black- COM stands for common and it is always connected to Ground) probes. The thinnest wire has the 40.3 ohms and it’s exactly what I needed. It was good news and I am glad that I had a wire from the hairdryer to be the backup materials I could use. Before I connected the wire to the battery, I first needed to know what caused the hairdryer to break. In that way, I would know if the connect wire that was connected to the nichrome wire could be used or not. After the testing with the multimeter I found out that the small transistor that connected to all the wire broke, but it’s okay that won’t affect the use I need for the testing.

Second, I took a hook-up wire from the hairdryer and soldered it to start off the nichrome wire and connected it to one of the battery wires. Used the wire that was connected at the end of the nichrome wire to a rocker switch I bought. And connected other battery wire to the same side of the rock switch pins that wire was connected earlier, so the current would flow.

I made a success by heating up the wire; however, it was not hot enough. It felt warm and I am afraid it was not going to be hot enough to make the smoke. This is another challenge I am facing right now. I am still trying to use different voltages or testing on different nichrome wires on the hairdryer. I hope I will get a good result I want soon.

YouTube - Need the video id from the URL - the bit after watch?v=

User Research

At Friday's workshop session, Eddie, Kasey, and I decided to conduct an initial inquiry next week. This could cover our user research area that would need for the team-based process and result. Eddie proposed that he could help to do the interview with primary students since he had too little sister. It helps us to solve the issue of finding primary students during this time when it was hard to get any access. We also thought about ethical issues when conducting an interview with minors but as I remember if the parents are okay with it. It would not be a problem, but we would confirm with the teaching team again.

In our discussion session, we briefly talked about some questionnaires together on what we want to cover in the interview. I personally think that this first interview would be simple to understand how much primary children know about global warming. With the document Kasey set up for gathering interview questions, we had 20 questions. Jay also volunteered that he could also interview his little sister as well. It was good we could get as many as interviewees as possible with the help of our teammates. It was good that we had so many questions, but I felt it was too much for children to handle. The questions were mainly focused on recycling which was more about the individual concept that the rest of my teammates were doing in their own project. I don’t know how much it would help the team concept at all, maybe we would need to have some more general questions and how much it would help me in my user research. I only contribute to five questions because as I said early, at this stage, I am only looking to find out how much primary students understand global warming. If they know or do any sustainable steps in their daily life.

These were the questions that I came up with. I know some of the words that might be hard for children to understand: environmental protection and sustainability. I will refine it more tomorrow.

Question for interview

  1. Do you know what global warming is? And what does it mean to you?
  2. What do you think you can do to help improve environmental protection?
  3. In your daily life, what do you think you can help with sustainability?
  4. Why should we conserve water and energy?
  5. What are the effects of not saving water and energy in our environment? What will it do to the world we are living right now?

The next thing I need to do is find some more research about how to teach children about sustainability and environmental protection? Most importantly find out what are the other terms that I could use that make it easier for primary students to understand.