fabacademy

FAB ACADEMY 2017 / WIM LANZ

Final project


I named my final project "Cloudio" where Cloud stands for the levitation part and I/O for input and output. Its a weather station that gets real time weather data via a .json script and a Wifimodule and send it back to the cloud over a html coded homepage which gives my different light output depending on the forecast, temperature and humidity.

Design and Fabrication


I integrated the upper magnet and my PCB Board with a battery. Made the design in Rhino and printed it on the 3D printer. Also started to putting my electronics in it and looking how strong the lightoutput will be. And it also floats but loses some height so I decided to try making the design even lighter. The box where I store my components is made with moulding and casting and the top layer to close the box neatly is lasercutted out of 3mm plywood.

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Building my electronics


I made my PCB in Eagle which uses an ESP8266-01 as a microcontroller and decided after I tried it with my Neopixel Strip to use the much bigger and nicer Adafruit Neopixel Ring to give me the different light output I want. They will be a perfect fit for my upper magnet.

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Why I use a ESP8266-01 over a Attiny44 or similar?


At first I compared the two microcontrollers (yeah you read right u can use the internal microcontroller from the ESP8266-01 to programm it).
For that I made myself comfortable with the datasheets of the ESP-01 and the Attiny44.
After I read the sheets I realized that its making much more sense to use the ESP-01 over the Attiny44 microcontroller.

To compare them both:

The Esp-01 has 512kb of flash size memory where the Attiny44 only has 4kb flash size memory which makes it much better if I decide to run more complex and combined scripts.

The ESP-01 has two GPIO pins that are led out and can be used to control periphery (which in my case made sense because at the moment I am running one GPIO pin for my Adafruit Neopixel ring and in the future I want to include a DHT11 temperature sensor). Of course the Attiny44 have eight pinouts but I only need two because the Neopixel and the DHT11 Sensor are working both with only one pin each.

And with proper wiring and a serial-to-usb adapter you can also easily flash alternatives firmwares on it (nodemcu in my case). And by default it comes with one of the different versions of the AT firmware which allows you to use it in combination with an Arduino.

Last but not least the Esp-01 has already a Wifi integrated where at the Attiny44 I need to intergrate it separatly.

So at the end everything pointed me to the ESP-01 and if I am running out of memory I can still upgrade to the even more powerful ESP-12
(which has 4mb of flash size memory and even more pinouts).

Programming


I programmed my board already on May 17 in the "interface and application programming" week. First I flashed the ESP8266-01 with the nodemcu tool to use the internal microcontroller from the wifi module. I decided to go that route so my electronic components are as light and small as possible. Next I started to set up a Wifi Web Server to connect my ESP8266-01 to my Wifi Network. Then I included a json script form weather underground which gives me all the informations that I want (at the moment it is weather, humidity, observation time and a icon). After this step I decided to set up my Adafruit Neopixel that they give me a light output depending on which colors I define. Then to make everything looking nicer on my ip adress I decided to set up a small html code that I also integrated in my code. To power the whole thing up I used a eenstone battery with 3.7V and 500maH.

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Bill of Materials


My Materials will maximum cost what I set up here. Probably less because I have a couple of components that arent included at the moment.

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Links to any weeks that I worked on my final project:


Feb 01: computer-aided design
Apr 19: moulding and casting
May 10: networking and communications
May 17: interface and application programming
May 24: applications and implications
May 31: invention, intellectual property, and income

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Wrap Up and Maker Faire


I am super happy with the final outcome of the project! It teached me so much about programming, using different softwares, different materials and different technics. For further developing I want to integrate a DHT Sensor to also have a weather and humidity output for my interior temperature in my appartment. I am thinking also to put a motion sensor in it so it gives you a stormy or rainy output depending how far or close youre coming with your hand to the cloud. And to work a little bit on the design to make everything looking even nicer and smoother.

I also displayed my final project (now named "Cloudio") at the Maker Faire 2017 in Barcelona where the audience was really interested in my project and enjoyed it!

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Video




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