Draw the connection

This week for softness of things, we were to work on the theme of connections and connectors. My immediate reaction was to started thinking of uncommon connectors and hence I started thinking about how I could use air, water, etc as connectors. But couldnt come up with a product around them.

Then I was reminded of a project that I once saw at RCA, which used graphite as a connectors, and hence I started thinking of things around graphite and drawing with pencil to make connections.

After a few attempts I figured that no matter how dark I drew the links, it would allow only a very small amount of current to go through, and hence I would not be able to drive an LED directly with it. I could have read the values into an arduino and processed them, but I wanted to keep it simple and avoid arduino if possible.

To the rescue came Op-amps. I had never used them before this project, but had recently learned about them in another class, and I must tell you, I love them. Op-amps are great.

So the final product is a cube light, which instead of having a switch has two check boxes that the user puts a check mark on the side to put it on and erases it to put it off.

The cube could be lit in blue, red or both the lights.

The images below show the cube in its on and off conditions.

On the technical side the op-amps are used in a non-inverting mode, so that on receiving the slightest bit of voltage from the connectors, it lights up the leds.

A photoset of connectors for the same assignment could be found here.

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