Hydro-Star's Symbolic LED Prototype Achieves Full Functionality

posted Nov 5, 2009, 10:12 AM by Unknown user

Hydro-Star Symbolic LED Prototype

Hydro- Star's Symbolic LED

Prototype Achieves Full Functionality

Karl R. C. Wendt

For many weeks Kate Lee Newcomb and KJ Edwards have been working diligently on creating  Hydro-Star, an underwater vehicle, that uses the C computer language and a variety of sensors to respond to its environment.

Friday, Kate Lee's digital prototype ran through its functional responses to external stimuli from a flash light and an impact sensor. Kate Lee used LED's (Light Emitting Diodes) to quickly test the code she had written.

The beauty of Kate Lee's symbolic LED prototype is that it reduces complexity during the critical code testing phase. She used LED's to represent the motors and their output functions so that she could focus entirely on troubleshooting the code she was creating without having to deal with the added complexity of integrating the final motors and hardware.

Prior to the LED prototype students created robotic prototypes with all the final wiring and motors needed to make the craft move, which contributed to time delays as students searched for whether the errors occurred in the code, hardware or the wiring.

Kate Lee's classmates and visiting teachers were amazed with the simplicity and effectiveness of her design. Much of her time in class was consumed with explaining the brilliance of her design to eager onlookers.

Kate Lee's prototype not only received a rarely awarded perfect score, but it also demonstrates a critical leap forward in teaching digital technology. Next semester all projects requiring a microprocessor will go through the symbolic LED prototype phase.

For more information contact: Kate Newcomb knewcomb@hightechhigh.org
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