Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Summer Reading Poster and Electronics

I was inspired when I saw this month's School Library Journal article about "hacking your notebook" with conductive tape, LEDs and 3V batteries. Last year I used littleBits on my annual summer reading poster that we bring to schools to advertise upcoming programs. This was before I bought "shoes" to adhere the littleBits to the poster without damage so the scotch tape I used (with our building temperature) kept falling down. Also worth noting when I forgot to turn it off I went through quite a few 9V batteries. 

This year I went simple using chibi circuits and conductive tape.  My goal was when the superhero book is pressed, the skyscraper windows light up.  I have previously done this with 4th and 5th graders as an e-card program during the holidays so I still had leftovers.

Hiding beneath the building are 2 lines of conductive tape, one positive, one negative to match the direction of the positive and negative side of the chibi LED hidden in the building. W= white.

This part is covered by the spotlight. The positive side of the battery is facing down and the negative tape line runs through the top of the spotlight and on the superhero book. I'm using once again my favorite resource, scotch tape on the battery but I can't cover the entire battery or the connection won't work. 
When superhero book is pressed the tape underneath the book (which is still part of the continuous negative line of the tape) to the battery. The circuit is completed. By using the superhero as a button the light won't always be on.
With chibi circuits, I have found simpler is better especially since I'd rather not change the battery. I would have liked to light up more of the city windows but that would have required more chibi LEDs and circuit pathways which tend to lessen the power of the 3V battery.  Once you start cutting the tape or deviating from the easy straight path, the LEDs have a tough time lighting up (as we have learned from experience with the e-cards).   Electrons will always go the easiest route. 

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