The goal of this project was to create a space where an individual can maximize their focus capabilities, even if just for a short period of time. It is aimed at ADD/ADHD sufferers, procrastinators, and generally anyone who may benefit from a focus aid!
The system is simple. A single high intensity led panel placed at the top of your work communicates with a special pen (just a pen with a button embedded in it) through a micro-controller, and when it senses that you have not been "working" (using the pen) for a certain amount of time (mine is set to 10 seconds), it turns the led panel on, ideally bringing you back on task!
If you want more information before beginning, check out our informercial for this project!
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Step 1: Collecting Materials
I built this system with a chipKIT WF32 and LabVIEW. I have found the WF32 to be an excellent little microcontroller, and between its built in wifi capabilities and seamless interface with LabVIEW, it has a myriad of practical applications.
Total cost of this project came out to about $100 (assuming you do not currently own any of the materials)
chipKIT WF32 $69.00
*Though you can purchase LabVIEW and the WF32 separately, it is a better deal ($89 for both) to get them together
LED strip $6.00
*this is not the exact LED strip I used but would work for this application
Misc jumper wire
9v battery and holder
330 ohm relay
Cardboard or poster board (for mounting)
Step 2: Setting Up the WF32 and LabVIEW
Before assembling the circuit, you first must make sure that LabVIEW and the WF32 are set up properly and communicating. Below is a great Instructable that details how to get your WF32 set up with LabVIEW:
Once you have everything working, we can get started on the circuit!
Step 3: Assembling the Circuit
The premise of the circuit is basically a push button wired into pin 8 on the WF32 as the input, then the middle leg of the transistor is connected to pin 26. The left and right legs are then connected to a 9 volt battery, which in turn is connected to the led strip.
Step 4: Building the Pen
To build the pen, simply take your clicky pen and unscrew the top. Then take out the white tube inside (which holds the ink) and wrap a small strip of duct tape around it about an inch down. Remove the spring from the bottom of the pen, and place it over the top so that it rests on the duct tape strip. Then re-insert the white tube (with spring on top instead of bottom) into the pen body. Finally, take the small push button and tape it face down to the top of the outer pen body. Attach two longer wires to the button, and optionally add some plastic/cardboard/ect wrapped around the top to secure the wires to. This reduces strain and limits the chances of breaking the connection to the button.
The wires leading from the pen are attached to the same terminals on the circuit as the button was.
Step 5: Upload Code
Once everything is all set up, you can upload the code.
Make sure you select the correct COM port, as well as digital input channel 8, and digital output channel 26.
I have included my code below, but feel free to modify it!
Step 6: Try It Out!
Once the code is uploaded, click "Run" on LabVIEW and give it a go!