How Did It Turn Out?
I am super happy with how this project ended up turning out! While I wasn’t able to implement all of the functionality I wanted to this semester (real-time sync, weather data input and other modes, etc.) I was glad to see that I could have a vision and build something that fulfilled the image in my head! Since I will be leaving Colorado this summer to start a new adventure in Arizona, I wanted something to remember the place that I’ve called home for the last five years. While I plan on coming back to Colorado someday, I’ve always been sentimental when it comes to places. I feel like the places I’ve lived have defined who I am as a person and I always want to remember where I’ve come from. While I may not remember the exact addresses, I like to remind myself of the places I’ve been and be proud of that. I hope I’ll be able to create something that will remind of the place I grew up and for any place I live in the future. I absolutely love how the colors change and even though its a smaller piece than I imagined, its a very soothing art piece! I wouldn’t mind putting some kind of timer on it to make it something to fall asleep too.
I learned a lot of little lessons over the course of this project, but here are a few of the really notable ones:
- Planning is key to proper project execution! So many projects in school are so quickly done that its actually very hard to do a suitable amount of front end design and planning. You almost just have to jump right in to the engineering. But with this project, I had allotted the time to do that front end design, but almost out of habit, I didn’t really execute, which led to some of the parts of the project I wasn’t as happy with (the housing).
- Its especially hard to go into a project with an idealized vision of how it will look, especially when aesthetics are the core goal. I personally can never fulfill my perfect vision of a project, regardless of what it is, from music to this panorama, and its difficult to tell yourself that the imperfection is okay, that its all part of the journey.
- Working with colors is more difficult than it was anticipated. Slight changes in color can completely change the way a piece of art can look. As Joe had pointed out at the ITLL expo, while the Sun was rising, the yellow of the Sun and blue of the sky blended right on the edge of the Flatirons to make them glow an eerie green, like the Northern Lights. I had never noticed it before, and definitely wasn’t something I had planned to have happen.
- Documentation of projects is something I need to work on. I have a really hard time taking good pictures of projects, especially while they’re getting built. This project forced me to do more of that, but even then, I’ve realized after the fact that I wished I had taken more intermediate pictures of how the whole assembly came together.
Improvements for the Future
I hope that I’ll find the time to make some improvements to this project and bring it closer to my final vision. Some of them are:
- Hiding the wires is key to keeping the appearance clean. Right now, the multicolored jumper wires and power wires detract from the appearance of the project, especially in a well lit room. When its dark, I’m able to hide them pretty well, but because of how they actually connect to the LED panel, I need to do a bit extra to hide them. One idea, that I can’t claim credit for (thanks Chip!) would be to heat shrink the wires and harness them to hide them better and get them to meld better with the colors of the panorama.
- Add in the Real Time Chronodot Clock to sync the sunsets and sunrise with the regular daytime clock
- In addition, by getting a more capable microcontroller, I could pull real-time weather data and add more settings to simulate things like thunderstorms, cloudy weather, maybe even snow or rain! The possibilities are really endless. I could even add in an apocalyptic meteor shower setting.
- Cut down the diffuser to make the panorama take up less space. Its pretty tall right now, and that kind of bugs me since it takes up a lot of space while not being expressly used for anything.
- I’d like to clean up the front side lights and maybe add a mirror to reflect the light back against the panel instead of just diffusing it outward.
- In the end, I would like to expand the panorama or have a collection of them to represent the different places I’ve lived or visited!