Experience Prototype: Coding the beast

Well it has been a red-letter week indeed.

After more prototyping than you could shake a big stick at; the final experience prototype was born.
Yet again I took this one from a flat pattern and heat bent it into a final shape with a few extra changes. This time the front had a “window” cut into it to allow for USB connections (I thought wired networking would be a little redundant). Also I decided to sandblast this one to give it a more frosted look – I felt it gave a better aesthetic for the device with the double edged sword of hiding my ridiculous soldering too.

With the patience of a million, billion saints I fitted the raspberry Pi into her new home

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Next I had to laser cut a template to hold the LED’s that would now serve as the indicators on the fascia then solder the header connections on that would allow it to connect straight into the Pi’s GPIO connector.

The next part was pretty easy – once the LED array had been glued into place and wired in, I made a simple program that would allow me to figure out which LED was assigned to which pin; this also gave me an opportunity to beta test the display and check that the hardware and software was up to scratch, so I left it doing a repetitive loop for the next 24 hours.

There is something very appealing about the diffusion of the LED’s through the sandblasted plastic.

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The next part of the project involved travelling to Glasgow so that I could work in tandem with my guide for all things software design Paul Aikman (@paulaik). This allowed us to finalise the working side of the app and to create the code on the Pi side to download the information, do some mathematical calculations and then display the information. There were so many cables it was probably a health and safety violation.

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Within a few hours we had went from a basic framework of the app to a more refined, working version, a few hours after that a beautifully working and accurate version. It’s amazing what you can do with  proper guidance.

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