This project was a pressure doing and it turned out beautiful. This website I created with the client gives this business a home Online where existing and potential new client can easily find out what they offer, how they offer their services and give users easy access to contact information and forms along with signup information and forms.
The site is completely responsive to give users the same look and feel on any device and sized screen. Elegantly, the website elements and photos will slide and fade into view while scrolling scrolling through sections.
The underlying code running the content management system here is WordPress. WordPress is an Open-Source content management system using PHP and MySQL. It has a very large following and support in the Open-Source community and makes for a perfect fit in this situation.
If they required more of a databased system and customizations I may have considered rolling my own web application for them. This wasn’t necessary and time and budget were a major factor as they had a major class event starting at the beginning of the year. There were extensive customizations within the WordPress template and plugins to achieve the look and feel the client had envisioned.
I’ve been working with 3D printers for a while now. Watching them move and print can be mesmerizing. I wanted to make a fun gadget that would demonstrate my skills and create an interactive conversation piece for a party. Hence The BarBot. It’s not a new idea but, I knew I could do it better than most that I’ve seen online and take it a step or two further.
My BarBot features two stepper motors to create linear actuation in two directions; Move the drink from bottle to bottle and dispense the ingredients. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible. Along with the motors there are two end switches to home the motors so they know their positions. I designed and printed all the plastic parts. The horizontal linear actuator is a single steal rail with two rail guides. eBay Link to Steal Rails
I have an Arduino Uno controlling the motors and acting as the I/O controller. From there I have the Uno connected via USB Serial to the Raspberry Pi. Connected to the Raspberry Pi is a 7″ touchscreen and a 1080p Camera with an extended ribbon cable for camera placement.
Here was a solution I created for computer management problem. My client tasked me with creating a management tool to control his Virtual Reality systems. I was able to do just that; I created a server/client control software that allows the staff to control a single VR station or all eight stations at once. It allows the user to start or end a VR application. Other features include a timer with audible indications and WiFi LED integration.
There is no limit to how many VR stations my software can support. They would just fill-in the content window of the admin console page and they would all subscribe to a real-time network connection. You can choose to adjust the volume of an individual station or all eight stations at once. You can select colors, modes and patterns for the projector screen’s WiFi backlit LEDs. The same LEDs integrate with the timer system to alert staff and players that time is running out. From then, time could be extended or the system can be configured to automatically terminate the active game or application. The VR Supervisor will also index configured folders for available executable applications to allow the staff to select and end only installed applications.
Consulting Joe for Your Next Idea
Moral here is reach out to bring your ideas to life. I can make both tangible and intangible products, or both that work seamlessly together. So Consult Joe Today.
This was a fun project just because. My friend gave me a challenge a while back to see if I could flush my toilet with Siri. So I did. Here’s How.
Above is a video demonstration. Basically I used and Arduino Yún. Can check them out here: https://store.arduino.cc/usa/arduino-yun They have since retired this product. It was a $75 microprocessor with a Linux SoC or System on a Chip. It included wifi and bridge software to link the Arduino Microprocessor with the Linux computer. Using that I wrote a virtual home automation device that was called, Toilet Flusher. Then you just ask Siri to, “Turn on the Toilet Flusher”, and voila.
Here’s a cool example of some of my software engineering experience and problem solving. I wanted to control my Christmas Tree lights with my Apple Watch and Siri. The problem was my home automation software didn’t support HomeKit, yet. So I did some research and found a piece of software that allowed you to create virtual home automation devices.
My home automation platform and software is a Mac and Indigo Home Automation, the best home automation software on the Mac hands down. So at the time, Indigo didn’t support my Siri commands through HomeKit. I was able to create a fairly simple script that would create a dynamic passthrough of home automation commands on Siri with home automation devices on Indigo. It would map the device and action so when you say, “Turn on the Christmas Tree Lights”, my script would receive the commands then ask Indigo using AppleScript to turn on the Christmas Tree Lights’ device. AppleScript is Apple’s plain english like programming language.
Below is a video demonstration and the open-source code to try it for yourself.
I wanted to make my new Alfa stand out from the couple others I’ve seen round rarely. As if the front end of the Giulia isn’t beautiful enough. It seemed like it was a necessary and obvious mod.
The Guts & Brains
I made this 49 LED strip out of SK6812 addressable RGB LED strips. Similar to the common WS2812b strips but brighter and with a true white. Check them out here on amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FVRR4KL/. I also used an Arduino Nano clone that has its own USB to serial chip built-in. Another new key component is the HC-05 serial Bluetooth module. It’s an older V2.0+EDR version of Bluetooth but it has great range. The only downside is that iOS/Apple devices don’t support 3rd party Bluetooth unless it’s made for iPhone/iPad or its the newer Bluetooth 3.0/4.0+LE
I wanted to create a menu system and be able to hit buttons to ascii characters to change the light show modes. So far I have the default/power on mode of pure white. Then by Bluetooth you can choose “Demo” to change to an animated demo reel that comes with the LED library FastLED on the Arduino. Then I have added a Knight Rider mode. Even a special Alfa Knight Rider mode that doubles up the “V” in the grill. And finally, I have a “Fire” mode that looks like flames.
There is a menu display when you first connect with a Bluetooth terminal app on Android. I use, “Bluetooth Terminal HC-05”. It lets you assign rows of buttons to macros of strings of text to send to the device. It also allows to to see the available options in the device and you can enter, “H” to see the menu at any time.
The code is still in progress, feel free to check it out on GitHub. I hope to be updating and completing code so I can add this to my car permanently.
The Bugs & Improvements
I hope to add a few more modes and brightness control very soon. Currently the only bug in the system is the Bluetooth communication is talking to the Arduino over software serial. There are a lot of timer interupts between the FastLED library to control the lights that sometimes (30% of the time) the Bluetooth message to change a mode is missed and a different ascii character comes through. This means you have to enter the command or hit the button a couple, few times. This is easily fixed by changing over to the hardware serial UART. I have not yet done this but feel free to make a pull request for an alternative sketch.
I also have plans to design and print a circuit board to easily house the Arduino, Bluetooth module, connectors for lights and power. I have already 3D printed a couple cases to protect the guts on the road.
Yesterday I started this print last night and it took about 15 hours to complete. It was very large and I experimented with a different pattern for the top and bottom infill, the. It also has a 5% infill on the base with a 3D honeycomb design for strength while saving plastic and print time.
Lately with the new Star Wars trailer coming out I thought it would be a great idea to 3D print some Star Wars items. I started with a couple Yoda heads and tried to print them as large as possible while saving plastic. I printed one with only 3 layers thick and no bottom or infill layers. Then the larger with 4 layers thick on the vertical walls setting in Slic3r. Much better but not perfect. It’s hard to print in mid-air in some spots.
I plan to put LEDs in side them with an Arduino and a mic module to make them light up to music. I can even add a seven channel equalizer to add to the quality of the light effects.
I have experience editing mechanical drawings to create a visual interactive graphic to show room temperatures and thermostat locations for building engineers. My finished products give an engineer a glimpse at a buildings temperature, humidity and set points to determine problem areas and be able to address hot/cold calls quickly.
I am Tridium Niagara Software certified and have experience with building automation software inside and out.