Electronics Show 2009

Students in the Electronics class displayed their projects for the campus and community in a grand show in the Science Hall.

Projects this year included a robotic dog, a self aiming catapult, a guitar playing machine, a remote controlled graffiti apparatus and a laser version of pong..

The projects all used microcontrollers–single chip computers that can be programmed to respond to sensor inputs and can control outputs.

For those in the know, we used the PIC 16F88 programmed in C. Many of the projects required significant mechanical design and construction in addition to the electronics and programming.

Scroll down for details and videos on each project.

Lazer Ballin’

Lazer Ballin group

Steve Cress
Noah Weaverdyck
Bruck Mulat

Lazer Ballin’ is a contraption that moves a laser ball on a white surface to ricochet off of dark objects. This is accomplished by shooting a laser at a set of mirrors, which rotate very quickly to make the projection appear like a ball. The intensity of the reflection is measured at different points along the “circle” by a light sensor and the data sent to our PIC18F2620 microcontroller. It is this reflection intensity that will determine if the ball has hit a dark object. Depending on where in the circumference of the “circle” the reflection appears dark, the movement parameters will modify accordingly, controlling the motion of the ball.

Circuit Schematic

Program Code and Detailed Explanation

LazerBallin Video in WMV format 17 MB

Pic n Slide


Ben Toews
Abe Stuckey
Zach Yordy

The PIC ‘n’ Slide robot takes a MIDI signal from notes played on the piano and plays the notes on the guitar. A motor attached to a printing cartridge apparatus moves the slide up and down the neck according to the notes played on the piano. Harpsichord pluckers strum all six strings milliseconds after the slide reaches its destination. “Smoke on the Water” from Deep Purple’s 1972 album, Machine Head is also programmed into the microcontroller, and the robot can play the song autonomously for about 20 seconds.

Circuit Schematic

Program Code and Detailed Explanation

PIC n Slide Video in WMV format 38 MB


Orion Blaha
Andrew Buschert

Graffiti++ is an artistic robot which maneuvers a spray can in response to manual input via a joystick. The spray can assembly is suspended on two cables from a pair of stepper motors mounted on a wooden frame. By changing the lengths of the cables independently, the motors can move the spray can to any position within the wooden frame. The motors in turn are controlled by a PIC 16F88 microchip through independent stepper motor controllers. The stepper motor controllers take output signals from the microchip and command the motors to “step” or hold position. The joystick sends out information in the form of a varying voltage on two lines, corresponding to two axes of motion. From these voltages the microchip determines which direction the spray can needs to move, and sends out the appropriate signals to the motor controllers. A single solenoid is used to press down on the nozzle of the can in response to the trigger button. This is an analogue connection which does not pass through the microchip.

Circuit Schematic

Program Code and Detailed Explanation

Graffiti++ Video in WMV format 16 MB

Toto: A Robotic Dog

Gregg Thiessen
Isaac Yoder-Schrock

Toto replicates a number of actions that any obedient canine would follow. Utilizing a microphone sensor to hear clapping, whistling, yelling or snapping commands, Toto will obediently follow the human, stay and do a trick or two. The little dog also can relieve itself on command, though Toto uses a water pump and water. Distances are judged by an ultrasonic rangefinder placed on a small rotating electronic motor on top of the robot. Toto’s ‘brain’, a microcontroller, runs through the program, listening for commands and then responds to accordingly

Circuit Schematic

Program Code and Detailed Explanation

Toto Video WMV format 23MB

ARC: Automated Reloading Catapult

Sarah Lerch
David Nyce
Leah Thill

The ARC is a wooden catapult that detects objects with an Infrared Sensor and adjusts the force with which a projectile is fired to hit an object at varying distances. It has a self-activated trigger mechanism and the capacity to reload ping pong balls. Stepper motors aim both the IR sensor and the catapult base. The lever arm is cocked back with a spool and thread and held in place with a servomotor arm. Using information from the IR sensor, the microcontroller adjusts the length of thread to provide the necessary force. The catapult is programmed to hit the closest object.

Circuit Schematic

Program Code and Detailed Explanation

ARC Video in WMV format 12 MB