This marks the first hackathon I have ever taken part in – exciting and terrifying all at once. Yan Zhao and I were paired up and given the task to build a simple application with a button on the Arduino that interacted with some sort of design in p5.js. With the limited time and for some reason Grease playing in the back of my mind, we settled on a drag race! We brought our two cars into p5.js:

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And then I moved on to build the peddle. Instead of a button I had glorious images of buidling a gas peddle you could actually activate with your foot. With an FSR sensor, the harder you pushed down on it, the higher the analog feedback, the faster the car moves. Meanwhile, Yan had the task of coding the race itself. This led me to my first adventures in soldering – a must do for the first time during a hackathon with tight time constraints! Although I did quite enjoy it and would recommend it to anyone who hasn’t tried their hand at the fine art.

After some great building fun, the peddle was finally complete, but it didn’t work! What?!  After much trial and error, it turned out both large FSR sensors were faulty. I would normally assume this was my bad, but I’ve built this circuit many times over with fabulous results.  AND two different residents along with a professor took a look at the wiring and weighed in that it was the sensor. In desperation, we moved on to a new peddle design with copper tape instead. Our time was so short, we didn’t even have time to document the faulty FSR sensor peddle before moving on!

IMG_1921BUT in order for the copper tape version to work, we needed to rig a circuit that completed when a piece of copper attached to your foot touched the tape of the peddle. Since multiple users were going to try it out, we couldn’t just put tape on each individual shoe. It would need a decent bit of housing to make it survive the hackathon. There was no time to figure out a more robust appliance so Yan and I decided we needed a back up plan. A simple button was much less appealing, but it would do the trick. And we finished just in the nick of time!