Flying Across the World (Assignment 4 Redo) – Sarika Bajaj

As my initial assignment 4 project (an abstract movement story that involved CAMs) did not end up working, I redid my assignment with a whole different concept and circuit. For my new story, I wanted to have a person be able to fly their own plane across the world, helping them travel to a place far beyond. To illustrate this, I made a DC motor rotate a disk upon which a plane hangs upon a cut out city scape.

I wanted the user to be able to control the speed at which the plane was rotating, so the user could help the plane “take off” and “land.” Thus, my circuit used a potentiometer and the h-bridge to give the user that level of control over the DC motor.

The main problems I had with this circuit was just getting h-bridge to work properly, as I think I had some connectivity issues with the chip and the breadboard. Overall though, this project ended with a visual story I was happy with and wasn’t too involved in terms of circuit debugging.

Final Video:

Arduino Code: Assignment4_Redo

Assignment 4: Mission Impossible Line Action

Project Description:
Inspired by the movie Mission Impossible, I decided to use a DC Motor and a H-bridge to show a wire action of a miniature character (designed and sculpted by Tatyana Mustakos).

The situation I planned to portray was: The character approaches to a target treasure (white LED), going down from the ceiling. However, the character touches the security laser beam (expressed through an IR break beam) of the room, then triggers the wire to wind the character back, up to the ceiling.  Then, once the IR beams stabilize, the wire will reverse its winding direction, letting the character go down towards the target treasure again. This motion will happen in a loop.

One biggest trouble I had was maintaining the stability of the circuitry for this. While I had to mount all hardware parts to the set box,  I had to make sure each wire wasn’t falling off of each other due to gravity.
Due to these mechanical stability issues, I ended up burning my arduino up while documenting for this project. The wire motion has been moving okay, however, the motion does not perfectly sync with the ir break beam all the time, so the wires end up winding/unwinding more than they need to.

What I’ve learned:
MOTORS and H-BRIDGES ARE QUITE TRICKY (to me, at least). I’ve burnt up so many parts (wires, fans, h-bridges, AND my arduino) and I even shocked my own laptop. I had some mad fun with these happenings.

Google Drive (code/fritz diagram/ Video):

*VIDEO*: I will re-upload the video once I get a new arduino (I burnt my arduino while documenting, and I didn’t get to capture any motor movements while the circuitry was perfectly fine)

project 4 a story through motion

For this project I wanted to tell a story through motion. I have always been fascinated with the idea of zoetropes and how they really were the first moving picture. My final iteration was that I was going to have two buttons that would control the speed of a DC motor powering the zoetrope. The faster you click the buttons (sort of like dancing with them) the faster they would go. I wanted the end experience to be as if you are dancing with them and they are mimicking your speed. However I ran into many an issue that would inturn make me question doing this project the way I did it again. First off, I had a lot of trouble with motors, either they were too fast or two slow and in the code I wanted the speed you clicked the buttons to be able to ramp up or down the motor. Unfortunately these motors would only slow down to 128 making it impossible to achieve my final goal. None the less I have a working zoetrope that starts and stops when you dance with them.

video link (the dancing in the zoetrope doesn’t translate well to video)-

code and etc-

A scene inspired by the movie Up

This project was one that really pushed me in the conceptualization phase of the project. The project conceptualization is the field in which I have been pushed the most in this class. I decided to do a scene from a movie that I hold very dear to my heart- the animated Pixar movie Up. The 72 year old balloon salesman who wants to live a life of adventure and floats his house into the sky and away with a young boy who is a stowaway.

It is something like I would dream about in my childhood. It is a symbol of hope.

The house ‘floats’ by the use of a fishline that connects to a motor and a pulley. The clouds are controlled by servo motors.

If I were to do this project again and I had more time, I would try and incorporate more sensors and moving elements into the system. I would like the house to respond to things in its environment rather than it being controlled manually.

The troubles I faced involved wiring the H-Bridge and the motor on the breadboard. I think I would consider using a different bread board the next time and soldering the parts that I can to ensure proper connections.

Hungry Dragon (that didn’t work bc of planning issues)

The goal of this project is to use the motor to tell a story. I made a “hungry dragon”, so my dragon would move faster in response to a stimulation (chasing a cat, food placed in front, etc). Movement is shown through rapid rotation of the CAM systems, creating the undulating motion of the dragon’s body.


The stepper motor would turn the dowel with the CAMs, and the speed of the rotation can be varied by a potentiometer. However, there were a few challenges: the motor spins too quickly, the CAMs themselves are too large for the frame made, and decorations could not be completed to satisfaction.

To solve these issues, I can cut smaller CAMs, use off-center CAMs rather than snail or tear CAMs, use longer screws, and make the frame smaller. Some parts of my dragon (or sausage links) have to be stationary to create the undulating motion. To make sure the motion works, I could learn to run a SW animation or do a cardboard prototype. To cut better pieces, I can become more familiarized with bitmaps in lasercutting.

In the future, I also want the stimulation to be more in line with the context (the hungry dragon), rather than having a random potentiometer.


Motors with Stories

This project is a juxtaposition of renewable and unsustainable energy sources. The bulky black forms depict a landscape fueled by oil, but the stark windmill blades create a contrast. The power source is the irony of this piece: at some point in history the windmill’s blades and motion were oil.

The focus of this project was the narrative element, rather than electronics. The schematic and code provided by JET was used for this. The only alteration to the code was the speed. A correct speed for to rotate the propellor smoothly was found at 13/255.

Assignment 4: Dandelion


To me, Dandelion is a symbol for departure, whether it is the children leaving home to pursue their dream, or people coming out of their comfort zone. I left my home in China when I was 13 and came to the United States alone for high school and now college. One time, when I was back home, my mother said to me: “It’s strange but I feel like you have never left home.” This seems like to me is her wish–her daughter is home more often–being reflected and tweaking her perception of reality. I decided to capture that wish in my project. In this project, my dandelion doesn’t become bare after a user blows at it; it only spins faster in the opposite direction, a symbol of my mother’s conflicting emotion.

In developing this project, I ran into a lot of unforeseen difficulties.
1. Motor speed/wrong type of motor. I had to experiment with different motors to get enough torque to spin my dandelion. Some of the motors were not working with my current circuit setup.
2. Wind sensor. I accidentally broke off the little chip on the wind sensor and it was too tiny to solder it back. I got a new one but the new parts are not soldered.

If I had more time, I would set up 2 wind sensors to detect the direction of wind, which determines the direction of the spinning of dandelion. Also, I would make the dandelion “wings” expand and contract more drastically.

The Circle of Life – “A child gives birth to a mother”

I saw this quote when I was a very little child and it has stuck to me till date. “A child gives birth to a mother” – I interpret this in two ways.

First, it could mean that only a child can make a woman’s life that of a mother. Having a child gives a mother another meaning to life.

Second, it could mean a girl child grows up to become a mother and continue the cycle of life.

For this project, I wanted to make a story around this theme. So, by using the concept of card-storytelling, I depict a girl child growing up to give birth to another girl child, who continues and this process goes on and on, continuing life.

On an implementation level, I used an H-bridged assisted DC motor to turn the circle of life as the story plays. For the cards, I used mini-servos to raise and drop the cards. These are programmed in unison to tell a story from beginning to the end.

Link to video and documentation:

The challenges I faced were primarily setup related. I have never had any experience in designing and beautifying projects. This was my first small step towards making projects a bit more presentable than I had ever done. I still have a long way to go, but I respect the final iteration I landed up with.

Further, starting the servo motor was a bit of a challenge, but was quickly resolved by rewiring the entire circuit again.

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