Sunday, May 1, 2011

Refresh Rate Teacher

Currently I am working on a project for a group that is making a "museum without walls". The idea is to create mobile exhibits that can rotate around several elementary schools and educate students in science. My school is designing and building three of theses exhibits. Each exhibit has a unique theme and the exhibit I am working on is physics and engineering. There are several people involved in this exhibit and each one of us are working on a specific part to it. The idea is that a teacher will have a variety of activities they can show ranging from experiments to demos. Currently, the ideas for the things inside the exhibit are a kit to build a basic motor, a setup to demonstrate the mechanical advantages of pulleys, a setup to teach binary, and modules to demonstrate the refresh rate. I am in charge of the last project and will document in the blog my progress on it.

The idea of the project is to teach students how their TV's and computer screens work. The idea is to allow students to upload a design they make on a programming station to a module they can take to their desk. At their desk, they can adjust the refresh rate with a potentiometer and see how the display scrolls line by line and as it speeds up it looks like their image due to persistence of vision.

Currently, I am designing the modules that they take to their desks and will design the programmer in the near future. The modules are based on the Arduino and display on an 8 x 8 LED matrix. I am currently in the prototyping phase and will post my designs and pictures soon. For the programmer, I am planning to use a dual-color 8 x 8 LED so the user can highlight the LEDs and select the ones they want to turn on. The new design is uploaded to the modules using a serial connection and is loaded into its EEPROM so it can be remembered if it is reset or turned off.

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