Week 04

Unpacking Intelligent Machines

This week was one of my favorites. Since childhood, I have always been curious to know how things work, so when I was a child I disarmed the toys they gave me and those of my friends to understand how they were inside, and if we didn't have a screwdriver at hand, with a hammer we could open it easily.

The general concept of this kind of disassembling machines that once had the function and discovering which parts still work for them and being able to use them for something else I liked a lot since although I have disassembled many things in the past, I disassembled them to fix them, but not to be able to create new things with its components, much less to interconnect them with each other through an Arduino, which I also liked very much since although I had played with an Arduino, I had never connected it to a network or with other Arduinos.

With my group, we disassembled an HP printer with a scanner, of which we found several parts, such as different types of motors, buttons, lights, sensors, and mechanisms that encouraged our creativity to know what to do with them. For the Forensic Report of the machine, we also learned to find some components that we did not know firsthand, in case we had to repair them to know where we could obtain them or what characteristics they had in terms of power, resistance, speed, storage, etc. in case we have to replace them or use them for something else.

In this printer we found a system that converts a conventional motor into a stepper, thanks to an acetate circle with lines on it, which served to calibrate the machine more accurately thanks to a mechanism that worked as a button that allows light to pass from one side to the other and that with each small turn, the acetate circle blocked the light, generating a flow of on and off with which the motor rotation was calibrated.

Unfortunately, this part was not working so we could not use it, but it reminded me of the times when I was a kid that we disarmed the ball mouse with my father to clean them and he taught me how they worked with a similar system.

We also found a led touch screen that although we do not use as a screen, we use it as a potentiometer taking advantage of the operation of the X and Y axes of its touch sensor, to activate something else; an engine that worked like a suction pump that was the one that cleaned the ink and pushed it toward the nozzles; the light bar that moves from one side to the other in the scanner that illuminates while scanning, and with all this and some plastic parts of the structure we assemble an artistic device with a new function: "The Bubble Printer", a The printer generated bubbles in a glass with ink using the pump, which, driven by a fan that pushed them, painted random patterns on paper.

In the end, we did not get it to work completely as we had planned due to lack of time. We wanted to take advantage of the X-axis movement of the printer to be able to move the bubble machine, and also to be able to raise and lower the power of the suction pump and the fan, but this required many more connections, additional power sources and a few More hours of code.
To control our device, or that of our colleagues remotely, we also created a touch control using the touch screen that is on the printer that was also connected to the scanner light to visualize the sensor's intensity. This was connected to the piano/keyboard of another group through a network created with a Raspberry Pi, to generate sounds with it.

It was a very interesting week of being disarming, assembling, connecting, welding and programming all the actions we wanted to achieve. Many failures that in the end were resolved with some effort, more code work or connections review. But in the end what I liked the most was this concept, which I also reflect on my page since it is one of the things that interest me most to learn, of how to hack something to make it work differently. Something that more than a skill is a mindset.

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