Tuesday, October 1, 2013

We're all here! Brainstorming begins :D

Okay, so we're all here now, and at the moment our blog is hidden from others. We can discuss our idea freely here and keep a better record than verbal discussion.

Here's some really first-draft idea's I've had (feel free to add yours as posts or comments!):

1. New musical instrument: This could be something like a special synthesizer for portable music-making, maybe have some basic recording function as well. If this sounds good and is cheap enough then we could even sell them for real.

2. Portable light: Based on Nikola Tesla's wireless lightbulb, maybe we could make a powerful LED light that is wirelessly powered from a base unit (running on batteries). Could be useful for illuminating a scene at night?

3. Point-to-point communication: I guess this is kind of like a walkie talkie, but I was thinking if we make it directional then it can go further distances. Probably not a great idea.

Materials I have currently:

-$20 portable bluetooth powerful 3W speaker (brand new, so it uses our whole "bought" budget, and I'd really not want to take it apart). It's a few inches tall and wide.

-2x Wireless motion controllers (like Wii controllers), price when bought new at Princess Auto was $5, and they work a lot better than expected! (we can probably take these apart, but they're compact as-is and use semi-touchscreen buttons)

-An old/used Windows Mobile 6.1 PDA/phone, I can program software for this but can't see it used for much (aside from being a part of the synthesizer idea?), battery life is okay enough that it counts as portable. Free - Counts as found low-tech items, but I also don't want to take it apart.

-An old/used DOS laptop, I can program for this too but the battery is shot so it needs to stay plugged in at all times. Also counts as free low-tech, but again not something I'd like to take apart if we use it.

I'm thinking of checking out the dollar store and other "junk stores" downtown for the older tech stuff. Maybe we can even grab an old CRT TV and combine that into the synthesizer idea to make a visual aspect of the performance?

Other resources:

-My dad is pretty good at basic electric circuits (he taught this as part of the technology program in my school in England), he also has the knowledge of basic plastic moulding and wood and metal working.

-Two of my friends at work are qualified electricians, one is more into grid power and the other does electrical circuits, both are great at fabrication and fixing things

-A third friend/co-worker is good at tinkering with electrical circuits, and may be able to help us out too


  1. I think that if we can agree on an idea by Sunday we can probably get a decent head-start and some good feedback from our TA in tutorial.


  2. I think the portable flashlight would be a good idea. With your dad and colleagues experience I feel like it wouldn't be too hard to make a cheap flashlight. If we break down the essential parts we can look around a junkyard or the dollar store to see if we can find them.

  3. An instrument would be cool as well but I wouldn't know the first thing about that. It would also definitely be harder than a flashlight but potentially more impressive...

  4. Maybe if we included the ability to recharge the base unit using a crank like the dynamo flashlights use, then combine that with wireless power to the LED bulbs, I think that'd be better for complexity.

    Then again, we've only got 17 days to do this so it'll need to be pretty simple too (I put the count-down timer in the top right of the page)