Category Archives: Week 6: Microcontroller Workshop Part 1

Behavior Story (Week 6)

Soothing/Comforting/Purring Pet (Or rather: The Angry Firefly)


Don’t wake up the angry firefly…

The plan for my Behavior Story took a detour when I underestimated how loud/strong the vibration from the mini vibe motor could be. I had initially planned on making a nice, soothing toy/object that created a gentle vibration and pulsing light when you put your hand on it. Instead what I got was an angry cricket/firefly that was irritated when you bothered it.

A photoresistor at the top of the jar detects when the user places his or her hand above it, causing the angry firefly inside to wake up (lighting an LED and powering a mini vibe motor in short pulses) until the user’s hand is removed.


  • 1x Adafruit Trinket Pro 5V (or any other microcontroller that fits in the container of your choice – in this case I was using a glass jar with a plastic lid and needed something compact)
  • 1x Photocell/Photoresistor/LDR
  • 1x 5mm LED (bright white)
  • 1×1300 mAh LiPo Battery* (+battery “backpack” to connect it to microcontroller) *used 9v battery instead – bulkier, but still works
  • 1x 100 ohm resistor (for LED)
  • 1x 100k ohm resistor (for LDR/photocell)
  • Hookup wire/conductive thread + solder + soldering iron etc.

for the vibe motor circuit:

  • 1x NPN Transistor
  • 1x 1k ohm resistor
  • 1x 1N4001 Diode
  • 1x capacitor
  • 1x 33 ohm resistor
  • 1x mini vibe motor


The project is my first attempt at using a Trinket microcontroller with soldered connections – something I tried in order to keep the components as compact as possible. However, the project still required a 9v battery to work effectively (the vibe motor requires a decent amount of power), making it bulkier than intended.

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Fritzing Diagram / Breadboard Circuit:





for Arduino code, see below:
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Behavior Story_Wave

Behavior Story_Wave

On his first day of  fifth grade, Bob, decided that he was finally going to say hello to his kindergarten crush, Beca. The only problem was that Bob was so shy he could never muster the courage to actually speak to Beca. So, Bob did what Bob does best, and built a waving robot to do the talking for him.

Unfortunately, when he used it at school Tess, the girl sitting in front of Beca, thought the wave was meant for her. Tess walked over and  started talking to Bob….and never stopped. The two lived awkwardly ever after.

  •  Mini Servo Motor
  •  Potentiometer
  •  Copper tape
  •  Wires
  •  Arduino




Action: digging / looking / discovering


– pressure sensor
– LED light
– Arduino (programmed to fade)

I did a rough prototype of an experience to encourage the user to dig/look and discover what there is underneath the sand. The combination of touching the sand while also getting light feedback might encourage the use to keep on doing it while maybe relaxing them.

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This is a prototype for enhancing walking experience. Although we can feel the changing force on the bottom of our feet when we waling, we can’t see it or hear it. I want to use technology to rich that experience, so as to have the sense of touching, seeing and hearing.

There are a press sensor made by myself on the sole of this shoe, a LED and a LilyPad Arduino. When users step on it, it can trigger sounds through GarageBand.

Full project at,

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Week 6 Assignment

1) Behavior story. Pick a behavior or action (breathing, talking, etc) and create a circuit that exhibits this. Use the switch/sensor and circuit building techniques we have been discussing in class. It should not be on a breadboard. //Play with the delay() – think back to what we did in class.
2) Tell a story about your object. What is it feeling? How might you display this through code?
3) Bring your sensors from the previous week.