PComp- Clapping Switch

I keep hearing that the best you’ll feel, in the beginning of PComp, is when you make the LED light up.

I’ll agree it felt pretty awesome and my initial reaction was to start clapping at the joy of learning something you’d never thought you’d be able to do in your life.

For this week’s lab, I wanted to create a circuit that expresses how I felt the first time the LED light lit up. I wanted to create a clapping switch.

In my brain it all made sense: fabricate a pair of gloves that use tin foil as a conductor. Here’s a rough sketch:

I wanted, first, to work with my new Arduino, practicing last week’s lab before setting up for my circuit.  I made sure to connect the wires to the 5v input and back to the ground. I also remembered to include a resistor so I wouldn’t burn out the LED.

The circuit was controlled by a potentiometer, a type of resistor, that increases and decreases the flow of energy to the LED:

Once I had my circuit in a good place, I went in search of materials to create my switch that would replace the potentiometer. After snooping around the kitchen and the shop, I scavenged some tin foil and a pair of surgical gloves. Here are my materials:

First, I traced my hands on the tin foil, 1st grade Thanksgiving turkey-style, cut them out, and affixed them to the inside of the gloves using Gorilla Glue:

I needed a reasonably secure way to attach the wire to the tin foil. I started with soldering, even after learning in Intro to Fab that the solder on the floor isn’t the strongest. A wise suggestion from another student working across from me inspired me to reinforce the connection with copper tape (still amazed how willingly helpful everyone is). Man, I wish I’d known about the copper tape last week when I was making that poorly constructed flashlight!

I was shocked (and delighted) when I touched the gloves to one another and the LED lit up. Part of me wondered if the concept in my head would translate into real life. I was so happy that I wanted to clap, and clapping just perpetuated the flashing of the LED, which led to more clapping (you get the idea!):


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