Finally we are done. We call our project Smart Room Jr.
< start abstract >
Smart Room Jr is and educational tool which uses a smart home as a setting to give kids a fun and easy introduction to electronics. It consists of a set of modules, each performing discrete and clearly defined functions. The modules can be plugged together in various combinations to illustrate how a desired outcome can be broken down into simple actions. Some simple lessons are suggested. These are meant to be illustrative to parents and educators who can fine tune them to their own purposes.
Goals for GGHSC:
- Satisfy requirements for the challenge, eg. microcontroller, portable power etc.
- Complete basic modules needed to demonstrate the concept
- Publish a website to be used for the competition and beyond
- Overcome the initial intimidation factor of electronics
- Inspire curiousity and encourage independent learning
- Show in direct and immediate way how learning skills can impact life for the better. Compare this with endless hours spent playing mindless video games.
- Be simple as possible. This applies all, including the PCB layout and the casing design. We have tried to avoid large pics and video for the website where possible.
- Reproducible with the simplest means. Possible to make everything except the basic components. The PCB and casing can be home brewed. The most complex piece piece of equipment used is a printer.
- Open source. For maximum reach, we have made our design open source. The software we have based our work on is also open source.
- Selection of the most widely available economical components. We want this to reach as far as possible, so we have selected the most easily availble and economical elements. For example we use 434 Mhz transmitter / receiver pairs instead of Xbees. Simple male and female pin sockets are used instead of specialised connectors.
- Modularity of all components. Both the firmware and hardware is modular, lending itself to working with new modules which we will want to continually add.
- Safety. We have kept 5V max for the internals, and used relays to control appliances of 12V max.
For the future:
- Outreach to educators, parents and of course children for further development
- Collaboration with other tinkerers on other modules and platforms (including PIC)
- Cottage production by disadvantaged communities
See the Smart Room Jr website
< end abstract >