Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Full Effect

Yesterday we did a full test of the whole Halloween system and SUCCESS! The motors are moving, the pistons are firing, and all the little switches are lighting up like they are supposed to. It was amazing to see how months of work on code and mechanics translated into a full-fledged system with a lot of extras we never even thought we would/could do when this project started.

One of the cool things we were able to do was add lighting effects to most of the props. We just happened to have some extra space on the board to add them so we thought it would be a cool addition. Now, when a moving prop goes off, a light will shine on it just during its action. That way people won't anticipate props based on light positions. It also will give the whole production a little more quality.

We also have two props that have sound associated with them. The issue here was how to let the sound system know what, when and where to play the sound.

The first thing that had to be done was to create a program that could play media through different speakers depending on the prop activated. Thanks to Adam, we have just that! The program receives a command through USB, determines whether the prop needs sound, and then sends that sound to the appropriate speaker.

So now you get the full show. Phone > Server > Prop with sound and lights. The system handles all these commands almost simultaneously!

The last thing is the PSI sensor. There is a chip that is attached to a pressure hose. The amount of air pressure that pushes against the chip changes the amount of electricity that flows through it. We then measure that and convert to PSI. This value then gets sent to the phone AND a LCD screen inside so people can see what is activated and how much air-pressure we currently have.

We have  all the controls mounted, tested and ready to go. I can't wait to see everyone at Halloween and show off our cool new system! I will try to post videos of any more tests. Enjoy the pictures and videos we have below. Happy Halloween!!!