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Peoples’ Curiosity Projects

By Michael Bentley

Curiosity projects are often talked about at d.tech but we rarely see what they are. Junior, Nick Hom, said, “It is cool to see what students can produce” about curiosity projects. I found a few fun projects that are happening around d.tech, to showcase in this article. DRG head, Mr. McAndrew, told me about a couple of them and I found others by asking around. These projects range from a funny talking plant to somebody just taking apart a barcode scanner.

CAD model of David Boles’ talking plant

d.Tech junior, David Boles, created a complicated talking plant as a curiosity project. When the plant is touched, it says amusing phrases such as, “Leaf me alone” and “It’s called a personal bubble.” This project took about a semester, and cost him around $40. He used tools such as a laser cutter, soldering iron, and glue to create the planter, and wire everything up. The plant uses an Arduino UNO and a capacitive electrode to tell when the plant is touched and respond accordingly. Mr. McAndrew, said that this was one of his favorite projects, although it was hard for him to decide. He liked how it went through multiple iterations, and functioned well.

Freshman, Matthew Morley, embarked on an equally interesting project one lab period, dissecting a broken id scanner. He wanted to find out how the scanner worked and how it transferred data wirelessly to the USB. He found out that there is a stationary laser which hits a mirror. The mirror moves back and forth, making the laser look like the line you see when scanning. He theorizes that the light is bounced back into the scanner, and read by an optical sensor. He also found a small chip inside, which he guesses transfers the data to the wireless USB  through WiFi or Bluetooth. Through this project, Matthew was able to discover more about the inner workings of an ID scanner, and how it works with the computer.

James Abraham worked on a different type of curiosity project. He is writing a science fiction story. In this story, the humans need to build a structure on an alien planet to prevent robots from taking over. The only problem, is the aliens don’t want it to be built on their planet. Abraham had this idea since the fifth grade, and is now putting it in action. He tried to write a similar story back in middle school, but he never completed it. Now he is taking another shot at it, and hopes to finish the story early next school year.

 

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