Before I switched to design, I studied electrical engineering. During undergrad, I had the opportunity to work on many fun projects that taught me valuable hands-on skills such as breadboarding, soldering, PCB design, programming microcontrollers, CAD, 3D printing, and laser cutting. All of the prototyping skills I've learned through these projects have proven to still be incredibly useful to me as a designer today.
Here is a selection of physical computing projects that I've worked on in the past involving electronic prototyping and digital fabrication.
Dotmote Labs is a startup developing open source hardware and software to help make climate research more accessible.
The Micro-Met Station is an open source meteorological sensor and data logging system that allows for the measurement and recording of temperature, humidity, and wind closer to the ground and at a lower cost than commercial instruments.
The Sapflow Monitor is a sensor and data logging system that measures and records the rate of sap flow through plants non-invasively using the external heat ratio method. The sap flow gauges are low-cost, open source, and easy to install. The data logger can transmit data wirelessly to the cloud and handheld devices.
I helped prototype early iterations of the Micro-Met's circuits and designed early versions of the Micro-Met and Sapflow PCBs.
Project-in-a-Box is a student organization that develops projects to teach students engineering concepts in a hands-on way. From 2017–2019, I was part of Project-in-a-Box's outreach division, where I designed and developed science and engineering-related hands-on project kits geared toward middle school and high school students learning in classroom and workshop settings.
Due to our audience, we had some unique constraints to work around when developing projects. We worked with a fairly small budget (>$40 per project) so that project kits could be as affordable as possible to educators who wanted to use them in classrooms or programs. Projects also had to be self-contained and completable within 2-3 hours so they could fit within a class session or workshop. Since we produced all project kits by ourselves in-house, projects had to be quick and easy to produce large quantities of.
Here is a small selection of projects that I worked on during my time in Project-in-a-Box.
Ardubot is our take on the classic Arduino-based obstacle-avoiding robot project. It utilizes an ultrasonic sensor to detect objects in front of it and turns to avoid it. Ardubot has since been updated to v2, but I worked on the initial v1 iteration.
The Candy Sorter is an Arduino-based machine that detects the color of a piece of candy using a color sensor and sorts it into a corresponding cup. This project is an adaptation of How to Mechatronics' Arduino Color Sorter. I worked on the second iteration of this project, which improved upon the design and performance of the initial version.