Sunday, 2 February 2014

Back in the Worm

It is about this time of year where I start to feel really crap that I haven’t achieved anything this year. I have just been having time off from blogging and virtually everything else except computer games.

It is time to start doing something again. I have to get back in the worm (4:37).

There are a couple things that we achieved over the Christmas period. My brother and my stepdad designed and made a button box. This is a box with four easy to press buttons that connects to my computer. Due to my disability it is difficult to me to push buttons on a keyboard. This device can have any keyboard key assigned to one of the four buttons.

It uses an Arduino Leonardo which has the great ability to mimic the signals of a keyboard or a mouse. My brother, Nick, modified a simple program that we uploaded to the Leonardo. I have also made my own modifications to the program to get rid of some bugs. I also wrote a program that allows me to use the “scroll wheel” on a mouse as a game, Stardrive, that I play requires players to frequently zoom in and out, but the makers never assigned a key for the zoom.

As you know, late last year I bought a solar panel. My stepdad, Peter, worked out a way to get useful power out of it. The output from the solar panel varies between 20 volts and 33 depending on how much sun is hitting the surface. Peter worked out that we could use the inverter from an old uninterruptible power supply, UPS, that didn’t have any batteries. This worked okay, but the UPS would stop every time the sun went behind a cloud. A better solution was to get a battery charger that is designed to work with a solar panel to charge two old wheelchair batteries that we could then connect to the UPS to get continuous power output.

In the immediate future I plan to write a more detailed article about my button box and the solar panel project. I would also like for us to design and build a wind turbine. My personal project will be to make my own quadcopter drone. I would like to start a hacker group and encourage disabled people to be a part of the maker movement. Hopefully 2014 will be a great year.

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