NFES Follow Up

Wray Mills, 2014-11-10, Notes

arduino, coding, computer science, gemma, led

Thank you!

I want to pass on my enthusiastic thanks for letting us provide Technology Enrichment to NFES! Kayla and I thoroughly enjoyed the kids and the class and look forward to providing more enrichment at NFES. In fact, we have learned a lot after our first (and largest enrichment class ever) session there. Thus, we are really excited to offer a continuation of this course where we plan to have a lower student-teacher ratio and will prioritize the hands-on projects over the classroom lecture. So, please let us know if you (and your kids) will be interested in a continuation session this winter. We would have it at the same time on Thursdays and the winter session runs January 22 - Feb 26.

LED Pendant Information

Here is some more information about the LED pendants your kids coded for our class. And, if your kid did not get to complete her/his code on the last day, please send us an email so that we can setup some time in the winter when we are back at NFES or a time you all can come by our studio at Shady Grove and Nuckols to complete the coding.

The pendant consists of three main parts: the 8x8 LED matrix display; a microcontroller (it's actually a "Gemma" microcontroller from Adafruit); and the lithium polymar (lipo) rechargeable battery. There is no "on/off" switch -- you simply plug the battery in to start the display and unplug to stop. The battery plugs into the bottom of the microcontroller in the off-white receptacle.

Gemma battery socket

On the top of the microcontroller is a mini USB receptacle which is used to transfer the code to the microcontroller (any USB connector will work to connect a laptop/desktop to the microcontroller). However, this plug does not charge the battery. See the section below if you and your kid would like to get the software necessary to refine their code or re-code their LED.

Gemma mini usb socket

Your child should also have a very small charger for the battery. This charger plugs into a USB port and will charge the lipo battery. There is a red light when charging and a green light that indicates the battery is fully charged.

LED Coding information

There are detailed tutorials available at adafruit if you would like to know how we constructed the pendant and all the component specifications. However, this is a quick overview to get your child (re)coding the LED frame designs:

And, feel free to comment here or shoot us an email if you have ANY questions or issues.