Final Crit: Children’s Fish Tank


For my final version of this project, I focused more on creating a cleaner final product than I had in past projects  — mainly, I wanted to hide all of the wires and mess.

**Also, I unfortunately couldn’t devise a way to bring my fish tank to campus without potentially killing my fish (which I’d rather not do), so I had to improvise with the vase and jello/Swedish Fish that you see above (this also really hindered me in creating the feeding-contraption, since the vase I used is rather narrow-necked).

gnolan Arduino code


Digital Fish Tank

Arduino Code

For this draft, I modified my initial concept a bit. Instead of having a “smart” fish tank that responds to texts/messages, I’ve decided to make a digital interface for a fish tank that is child-friendly. It will control the same elements as I planned, but possess different inputs.

The switches and buttons I’ve used in past projects are functional, but I’m not a huge fan of their form. While I could modify them/ work around that, instead I’ve chosen to make my own switches using conductive tape — ultimately they’re going to be tile-shaped, but they’re currently not much more than functional. Which leads me to…

Currently my project has about no form, but my end project will have the shape of a fish and more intuitive interactions. I also plan on adding in a water pump, but it’s not currently added to the project because the pump I plan on using is at home and I’m going to bring it back with me after break. Flow rate will be controlled by a row of sensors to measure speed (either hand-made like the switches (which would just be three switches in a row with one tile) or with capacitive touch sensors, if I can get them to work well and look good).

(^preliminary sketch)

(testing the tape)



Project Proposal: Fishies

Concept statement:

I plan on making an automatic fish feeder/ pump system that responds to texts (or emails, or some similar interaction) – certain key phrases will trigger specific responses in the system. I want to use this project to synthesize a more human interaction between people and their fish — while texting isn’t the most intimate form of communication, it’s such a casual means of talking to other people that I think it will be useful in creating an artificial sense of intimacy.

Hardware: some sort of feeding mechanism (motor-based?), submersible pump (small), lights (LEDs), fish tank, fish (I already have the last two, don’t worry)…. I’m not sure what I’d need to connect w/ an arduino via sms or through wifi

Software: I’ll need software to make the arduino respond to texting (or something similar),  and then perform fairly straightforward mechanical outputs

Order of constructing and testing: first I need to get the arduino response down pretty well, since the project largely hinges on that, then creating a feeding mechanism will be the next priority… everything after that will largely be “frills”/things that aren’t crucial to the project. As I add components, I’ll need to figure out how to display them non-ratchetly. I’m also definitely going to need constant reminders to document my process.

Assignment 5: Nosy Housemates

How do you feel when you see a package at your door that isn’t for you? Personally, I get a little sad, and then I’m just curious about what’s inside. What could my housemate possibly be ordering?

I designed my project to scare/annoy anyone that lets their curiosity get the better of them and decides to be nosy — the package freaks out whenever you try to open it. (You can’t quite tell in the video, but the box vibrates slightly every 2 seconds when closed, mostly to add an extra little touch of annoyance to its presence).

Mechanics: photoresistor, speaker, LEDs, haptic feedback/vibrator




Leaving the Nest

For this project, I attempted to depict a bird leaving its nest for the first time and learning to fly.

I faced a couple issues with this project. With the first motor I used, analogWrite didn’t really seem to be working – my guess is that any time I tried to push less than the max voltage, it wasn’t enough power to move the motor. But I’m still not sure why the motor didn’t have slower speeds, and only either went fast or didn’t move. At one point, I also overheated an H-bridge and couldn’t figure out what stopped working (until I touched it and it was VERY hot).


motoStoryGillian arduino

motorStoryGnolan  Fritzing

Assignment 3: Gillian Nolan

For this assignment, I created a board that imitates playing catch with a dog. A solenoid is the “ball” being thrown, light races across 3 LEDs (as a dog would run across a yard) at varying speeds dependent on “dogEnergy”, and a servo wags its tail in an arc proportional to “dogHappiness”. The “dog” is happier/more tired when it is played with, and more energized/ less happy when its fed (it’s high standards for food are unfortunately rarely met).

Push buttons allow the user to play fetch with and feed the dog.

This is a video of my project: Happy and Hungry Pupper

Here’s the zip of my project: zipMotorEmotGillianNolan (feat .ino and .fzz)