Saturday, 23 March 2013

Little Light Bulb Book of Ideas with Bare Conductive Ink

What you will need:

To make the front cover of your paper notebook more interesting first decide on a design. Remember that your circuit must be a continual line with a start point, an end point, and a space to put the LED in. It is best to start and end your circuit at the edge of the book where it opens, so you can add a switch. As my book is going to be full of ideas for projects, I decided to use the word 'ideas' in my circuit.

The next step is to use the Bare Conductive ink/paint to draw your circuit. Then leave it to dry.

Whilst waiting for your paint to dry you can start to make the switch that will power the led on the circuit. Take a small piece of card and fold it into half and half again. Check to make sure that it is the same width as the break in your circuit. Unfold the card, and place the cell battery onto the second square in from the right.

Take your cell battery and note on the card which side is positive (+) and which is ground (-). Mark where you want to put your battery and using a pin make two holes for the pins of the battery to go through the card. Once the battery is fitted to the card, carefully pull back the legs and using some Bare Conductive ink or paint make two blobs on each of the legs. These will be the contact points. Leave to dry.

Once the circuit on the notebook is dry, you can colour in any drawings or lettering not part of the circuit. When the ink is dry on the battery you can fold the paper over and glue or tape it together and add it to the book (see video). Mark onto the book which point will be positive (+) and which will be ground (-) This is important because it will affect which way we place the LED.

Finally we need to add the LED to the circuit. Make sure that the longer leg (+) will link to the same part of the ink circuit that leads to the battery + leg, and that the shorter leg (-) is on the other side leading to the battery - leg. (see video). Once you are happy it is the right way around, bend back the legs and cut them to fit, making sure all the time that you know which leg is which. Using Bare Conductive ink, paint over the leg onto the dry circuit. Hold the LED until the ink is dry enough to hold it by itself. Leave to dry.

To test that your circuit works, place your made switch onto the contact points of the circuit and your LED should light up. If it does not then maybe your LED is the wrong way round, or there is a break in your circuit, or perhaps your battery is not making contact with the circuit.

For more tutorials and ideas on how to use Bare Conductive check out their website tutorial page.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Suzy's Story - Uncharted Computer Science

Suzy Race is the young representative for British Computer Society in Oxford and works for a software company called Relayware. She also volunteers as a STEM ambassador speaking about her experiences to young people. Suzy has kindly written a post about her journey into Computer Science and hopefully it might inspire you!

“I spent my evening last night eagerly watching my boyfriend play the well-known console game- Uncharted 3 and wondered why after 2 hours of playing he could still be shouting at the computer in frustration? I realised this was the human instinct to succeed when faced with barriers or confusions. The story of Uncharted 3, I can (surprisingly) relate to my own journey to be a lover of all  things techy.

I would like to tell you a brief story that involves goodies, baddies, puzzles, sword fights and collecting treasure along the way (it does have a happy ending.. and no one dies).

The story begins at 13 in an unfamiliar jungle environment surrounded by dial-up internet connections linking me to a maze of information and games to distract me from the on-going battle with homework (you can imagine at this stage my parents are the badies not understanding that reaching level 5 in International Go-Kart Championship is far more important than Alegbra equations).

I continued to work my way through school reaching each level and gaining the points I needed to continue onto the next stage in the story (sound familiar to Drake and Sully?!). At 16, once I had completed my GCSE’s I was faced with my first major puzzle… pick the right A-levels for University.

A puzzle that is still well renowned for being one of the toughest at such an age. At 16, you live to plan the next weekend not what you want to be doing after completing 3 years at University. The school I attended did not offer ICT as a full A-level. Similarly, back then you could not study what I now know as “computing” today. So for a self-confessed computer geek there was no other option. I took the option to study Spanish, French, Geography and Design Technology and leave the world of computing behind. As I boldly stepped into a new world of language games and geographical formations I never lost my interest and passion in solving computer related tasks.

The next stage of the puzzle was going to University and getting a degree. At this stage the idea of doing computing was a distant memory and certainly nothing I considered or was discussed as an option. I continued on to explore a new map at Southampton University doing a degree in Population Sciences. After two years of badies and sword fights I took a year out and worked for Unilever as a Business Analyst. During this year of high adventures to America and beyond.. I found the hidden treasure I had been looking for the whole time. A key to open the door into the world of Computer Science. I took a detour and left the Southampton map and I joined Oxford Brookes University to start and complete a degree in Computer Science.

I have now reached a stage where I have collected my treasures along the way including being the Young Representative for British Computing Society Oxford, local STEM Ambassador for young people and having a job as a Graduate Trainee for a software company in Oxford; Relayware.

The moral of the story… I wish computing had been pushed at school. Many forms of computing or ICT are the basis to most things that we touch, interact with and can this not be fundamental to the teachings of the next generation of users?  Today you cannot escape a social interaction without mention of the internet, a smart phone or a technological invention. Therefore, we must act on teaching youngsters how to develop, manage and safely use any technology. I have engaged in helping with this by becoming a STEM Ambassador to teach youngsters what I love about the world I work in.

The end of the journey is not yet known……"