Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Patent Application

Tomorrow we meet with Bruce Winchell, a patent attorney for Technology Ventures Corporation (TVC) so that we can go over the patent application. Hopefully there won't be too many revisions and we can submit the application soon! Yay!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Arduino and Raspberry Pi Libraries are Linked

Finally all of the libraries needed to complete the product are linked. Basically, we were having trouble compiling our code because of third party library compatibility. This is a problem no longer!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Community Review

We had our community review last night. We displayed all the work and the progress of our invention so guests were able to go around and learn about each part of the project and team.

Albert talking explaining our prototyping process

Monday, May 19, 2014

Software Update

Where We're at Now

For a while now, we've been working on getting the ArduPi library linked with the rest of our required libraries. This has been difficult because of how we have the other libraries installed, and functions in different libraries that have the same name.

Why is this a Problem?

ArduPi is a library that is specifically for using Arduino shields with a RaspberryPi. We need this functionality because we are using both a RaspberryPi and an Arduino Uno board, and these two need to communicate. Our solution for communication was to use a RaspberryPi to Arduino shield, which allows for the addition of Arduino Shields to a RaspberryPi.

How Does That Help?

Since we can now use Arduino Shields with the RaspberryPi, we can use two XBee modules to handle the communication. The only issue is that we can't get code to work. 

Why won't the Code Work?

When working with multiple libraries, it becomes a challenge to make sure everything is working well together. So far, we're using 4 different libraries. In order to get everything working properly, there cannot be repetitions of functions in different libraries, and the code needs to be able to find all the different libraries. That means that libraries need to be installed in a proper way, and then changes need to be made to make sure there are no repetitions of functions. Our problem is that we can't get the libraries linked properly, and we are not sure how to fix it. We have been actively working to find help with this, but to no avail. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Last weekend Albert, Zack, and I presented our invention and RoboRave's RoboVate Contest. This is where students showcase their inventions and innovative designs to the RoboRave community. There was a lot of interest and we even got to talk to some police officers!
Talking to some interested kids about the invention


Good luck to everyone on the SODA InvenTeam who are taking college credits and have finals this week and for the high school finals next week!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

American Society of Safety Engineers meeting.

Chloe presenting at the NM Chapter of the ASSE monthly meeting.

Chloe receiving an award from NM ASSE Chapter president Mike Starr.

SODA InvenTeam students at the State Science and Engineering Fiar

Maria with her project testing bacteria in hypergravity.

Victoria with her project to improve product safety.

Danielle with and Eyenda with their drone-robot maze solving project.

Chloe with the Police ALERT Project.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Audio Wave Shield

We received this a few weeks ago but I had a lot of fun putting it together so I had to share it. The audio wave shield came completely dissembled and had to be soldered together. I soldered everything onto the board and I had to do my first ever surface mount solder!
This shield will allow us to have the audio alarm that we wanted saying the location of the movement. We should be able to program it to say a number of things for the Police ALERT's user interface.
Front View of the Audio Wave Shield

Back View

Rev Two Casing

We just got the casing for the next revolution of the Police ALERT. There was a huge cut down in the size to make it more suitable to the top of the patrol car. Thank you Sisneros Bros for all your help!
Rev Two Casing Design

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hardware Update

Today, Mr. Edington took our new casing design to Sisneros bros to make. It should be ready as early as tomorrow! He will also be making a trip to Socorro to make a few versions of a pyramid mirror for preliminary testing.
Also, Dr. Grow is looking into having some of his students machine shop our concave conical mirror designs out! They only need to determine how to give it the reflective quality.


While competing at Science faire this past weekend my board's safety inspector happened to be Melissa Barker! I mentioned her in a previous blog and I was able to talk more in depth with her and her colleagues about the project! I also had the opportunity to speak with an Albuquerque Police Department officer who mentions the McGrane convention for police street awareness. Unfortunately it was too late to set up a booth for us at the convention but it is great to know there are opportunities out there!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Science Fair at UNM

Four SODA InvnenTeam members wearing awards won at UNM science fair.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Science Fair

Six of our team members successfully competed in the UNM regional science fair this past weekend. Chloe, Maria, and Victoria qualified for state and will be competing at New Mexico Tech in two weeks.

Elementary Botball Competition

Two of our team members helped host the New Mexico Botball competition for local elementary school students at The University of New Mexico Valencia Campus.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Solidworks Progress

Solidworks Progress

Hello, I have made more progress on Solidworks. I have made a model of the new housing system, and I have also made more mirrors. The mirrors I have made include new tear drop mirror that were designed using different equations to get the right curve. I have also made a bowl shaped mirror to reflect from the cone mirror into the camera.

Friday, March 14, 2014

My Apologies

Hello blog followers, sorry we haven't been blogging as much recently. We have been busier then ever! We have made a lot of progress on the Police ALERT though which I'll try to catch you up on.


  • Sisneros Brothers are in the process of making an updated version of our outer shell. This will lower the profile of the device. 
  • We recently got our audio shield in the mail and we plan to have audio alerts corresponding with our visual ones.
  • We also recently got an arLCD shield which will allow us to set up a touchscreen user interface for police officers to customize the detection range.
  • HUGE break through in the curved mirror design! We developed a way to test a curved surface's reflectance using derivatives and the basic law of reflection. All that calculus homework finally paying off!
Outreach/ Fundraising:
  • Parents have started serving school lunches as a fundraiser; last weeks made a profit of $250.
  • We presented to Nu Star Energy and received a lot of great feedback. They were also able to put us in touch with Melissa Barker from OSHA who is going to set up a presentation time with American Society of Safety Engineers for us.
  • Nu Star Energy is also going to do a pizza night fundraiser with us.
Zack recently posted an in depth look at where we are at programming wise. 

  • A few of our team members recently went to Lubbock Texas to compete in FIRST Robotics.
  • Eight of our team members are competing in the International Science and Engineering Faire which is taking place on March 28th.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Software Progress

     At this point, software wise, we have put together a functional algorithm that will point in the direction of movement using our fancy LED board that we put together. This was done by using the motion detection method of frame subtraction.

     Frame subtraction is a relatively simple concept. By saving each frame as a matrix that has a value for each pixel, motion can be detected by subtracting the frames and looking for differences in pixel values. We do this with the video in gray scale, which simplifies the process because we aren't worrying about color. Once motion is detected, a bounding box is placed around the area of the motion. Using the bounding box, we can look at the area of the motion and decide if it is large enough or small enough for us to care about. This helps with ignoring false positives. After motion is deemed significant, we use some trigonometry to find out which quadrant the motion is coming from. From there, we can send that information to the LEDs so that they will light up in relation to the motion.

     This is a pretty significant milestone. Now that we are detection motion with our hardware, the next biggest thing is working with the wireless communication so that we can test a more accurate prototype. This will be done using an Arduino board and some wireless communication modules called xBees. The difficult part of this will be getting the ArduPi libraries working on the RaspberryPi, although it seems the difficult part of all of this is getting libraries working on the Pi.. Once those libraries are up and running, we will be able to write code that will split up the task of detection and visual indication. The Pi will handle the computation, and the Arduino will handle the LEDs.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

FRC - Lubbock, TX

This weekend five of our team members went to Lubbock to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Team Communication

Our team finished this massive "Gannt" Chart back in January. It has a calnder of important dats at the top and weekly tasks and goals for the team along the bottom. The tasks and goals are split into hardware, software, and communication/finance. We use sticky notes to post the current week's goals then, once the week is passed, we write what was accomplished that week in the slot. Since our team is rarely all in the same place at the same time this has been a huge help with communication amongst the team!

Complete board
Calender of important dates and deadlines
Weekly task chart (with color coated sticky notes:D)

Napkin Drawings

I recently saw Justin's post on Google+ about napkin sketches and I figured I would share the napkin drawings I got from a little over a week ago. I sat down with Dr. Murray, my calculus professor from the concurrent classes I am taking at a local community college, and discussed various mirror design options. Here are a few of the sketches he provided us with on the back of a napkin and a lunch receipt.

National Honors Society

Noah, Zack, Maria, Dannielle, Clara, Taylor, Paige, Chloe, Victoria, Dion, Albert (not shown in picture)

Eleven of our thirteen team members were admitted into the National Honors Society. They received they're awards during a candlelit dinner held at SODA. We're so proud of everyone for working so hard!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Special Thanks to Mr. Ogas!

The School of Dreams Academy will be paying for the team's airline tickets to and from EurekaFest!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

NCWIT Award!

Today all female team members, along with mentor Eric Brown, received an award from NCWIT (National Center for Women and Information Technology). Congratulations to everyone and keep up the good work!

(From Right) Clara Sims, Taylor Torres, Maria Troyer, Eric Brown, Danielle Garcia, Paige Torres, Chloe Grubb

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Parent Fundraising Meeting

The parents that attended were Rita Garcia, Anna Moya Troyer, Toma Shaver, and Ann McCartney. Clara and Danielle (myself) were present at the meeting. The following ideas were discussed: a math and science night, car wash, candy apple sales, chocolate sales, hot dog sales at tracker supply, coffee sales, selling hot chocolate at school with hot dogs, a movie night, and a Dion's Night.

With the discussion of ideas, the topic of Isotopes Fundraising during the summer came into the conversation. It was briefly talked about how the student's earnings were going into the fundraising collection. The final decisions were made on what fundraising was going to be done and by who.

(Subject to change)
Donation Letter- Ann McCartney
Movie Night- Rita Garcia
Dion's night- Anna Moya Troyer
Chocolate sales- Ann McCartney
Hot Chocolate Sales- Clara Sims, Danielle Garcia, and Toma Shaver

Official Dates of future fundraisers will be posted in the near future.

Ann, Clara, Rita, Anna discussing ideas

Anna sharing an opinion on the chocolate sales 
Rita suggesting the candy sales

Danielle sharing an idea about the Movie Night

Toma asking about the car wash taking place at Tracker Supply


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Presentation at ACME Worldwide

Today, a few of the members of the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam presented to the project manager and two engineers at ACME Worldwide in Albuquerque.
Chloe showing the Lemelson-MIT video.

Maria discussing the Police ALERT system.

Looking at the project outline.

Zack and Chloe talking about the technical aspects of the invention.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Thank you cards

Just finished our thank you cards so sponsors should be expecting them soon! We really appreciate everything everything everyone has done for us!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Another Sunday Night at Quelab

Students worked at Quelab tonight - mostly on coding.  Trey, a first time visitor to Quelab, helped Zack and Albert out with some programming issues. 

Adric and JT talked to the team about an idea for making mirror prototypes.  The idea is to have a cone-shaped template made on a 3D printer at Quelab.  Then use it as a mold for vacuum forming a plastic piece.  This plastic piece would be used as a mirror once it was coated.  We might try to do this on Tuesday night.  The next openhack night at Quelab. 

Feedback and Comments

Here are just some of the great feedback and comments from Mid-Grant Review. We hope to impliment the suggestions then host another Technical Review session closer to EurekaFest.

And one of our favorites, Thanks Toby! 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

InvenTeam member attend Patent Workshop at TVC

Most of SODA InvenTeam members were able to attend a patent workshop at Technology Ventures Corporation today.  Bruce M. Winchel did a fantastic non-stop, four-hour presentation on how to write your own patent application.

SODA students at TVC patent workshop.

After workshop lunch at Que Huong.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

MGR Photo Slideshow

We just finished putting together a slideshow of the pictures from the Mid-Grant Review!
Check it out:

We will be editing the video footage and posting those as soon as possible.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Mid-Grant Review Success! :D

Tonight was an overall success! We had some difficulties at first and unfortunately some mentors couldn't attend but I think the team did really well and I am very proud of everyone. We will be posting more pictures and a video compilation of the night on the blog once we edit them! Special thanks to all the parents who helped and everyone who attended.
Stay tuned!

Technical Update

We are making significant progress with the raspberry pi. As of last night, we have the raspberry pi running a camera that is facing a conical mirror, and then lighting up LEDs that correspond to the direction of where the motion is detected.
The raspberry pi works inconsistently. Sometimes the program runs great, and other times the raspberry pi will not connect to the camera. We need to patch the bugs that are not allowing are software to run consistently. Also, we need to optimize our code in a way that we have a higher frame rate, and a more accurate way to determine which LED should light up.

PTC Meeting and More Robotics

Today (Wednesday), two members of the SODA InvenTeam presented to the Parent-Teacher Committee.  At the end of their presentation, they asked about help with community outreach ideas.  After some discussion, the PTC offered to help the team with a booth at the upcoming 14th Annual Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce Matanza.  Should be a fun event for the students.

Maria and Chloe presenting to the PTC.

InvenTeam member Victoria working with FRC team member Garrett on robot.

SODA students working on cutting and drilling material for various STEM projects.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Police Car Traveling Prototype Complete!

Yesterday, we completed the police car traveling prototype. When giving a presentation, the model will give our audience a visual representation of what the average police car would look like with Police ALERT attached. This will  be able to show our audience how Police ALERT works and how it will keep them safe.

Conical Mirrors

Investigating further with the help from the link that Mr. Edington's sent me I have fond that light doesn't reflect off of the mirrors the way I though it did. Light reflects off of the mirror equal to the degree of the mirror (Illustration below). So I suggest that we either use a larger mirror (left) so that the camera would be able to see what is on the side of the car or we can use a smaller mirror (right) but we would have to put it upside down which will probably work better. (Here are a few to links and )

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

SODA's InvenTeam Presenting to Governing Council

Three members of the InvenTeam presented the status of their project to the Governing Council.
InvenTeam members in the back, waiting to present.

Zack, Chloe, and Maria after their presentation.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Another busy Sunday for SODA students

Most weekends, there are several students working on various projects at SODA.  This Sunday was no exception.  Besides the InvenTeam students, there were several other students in and out of the room throughout the day.

10:00 AM - Chloe arrives and starts working on paperwork for the InvenTeam.

10:30 AM - Botball team captain and FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team member Jose arrives and starts working on cutting pvc pipe.  Some of the pipe is for the FRC robot and a whole lot is for the Botball game course.

11:00 AM - Albert and Denton arrive at SODA.  Albert starts working on the vision for the Police ALERT camera.  Denton starts working on the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) robot.

11:30 AM - Members of the FIRST Tech Challenge arrive to pick-up their robot and equipment to go to the New Mexico Natural History Museum in Albuquerque.  A FTC game field has been set-up there for teams to use for the next month.  Another adult mentor is taking them to the museum.

Noon - Clara and Zack arrive.  Clara starts working on the police car demo model.  Zack starts working on the FRC netbooks and OpenCV for the Police ALERT.

12:30 PM - Daniel arrives and starts working on making more mirrors for the prototype.

1:00 PM - Victoria and Maria arrive.  Maria is working on building a large centrifuge for her science fair project.  Victoria starts working on InvenTeam finance items.

2:30 PM - Late lunch break.  Food from Dion's.

3:00 PM - I inadvertently break one of the LED indicator rings that Chloe had spent an hour soldering to an extension board. 

3:30 PM - InvenTeam members Denton and Danielle along with Jose take a break for their projects to work on learning how to import png images to netlogo for their Supercomputing Challenge projects.  Denton's project deals with modeling blood-borne pathogens.  Jose's projects deals with designing a program to help maximize golf course management.  Danielle's project deals with pairing a drone and land-based robots together to solve mazes.

4:00 PM - Clara leaves.

4:30 PM - Maria leaves to take parts to her project to welded at her uncle's house.

5:30 PM - Jose leaves.

6:15 PM - The remaining students have packed up the essential parts of their projects and we head to Quelab for Hacknight.

7:00 PM - Chloe, Denton, Zack, Albert, Victoria, and I arrive at Quelab.  Chloe and Victoria work on bread-boarding an LED indicator.  Zack and Albert start working on writing code to port data from the Raspberry Pi to the LED indicator.  Denton works on the FRC robot.

8:00 PM - Receive call that the FTC team has returned to SODA after a great day of practicing with their robots and the museum.  The high school FTC team has their autonomous code working near perfect.

9:45 PM - Leave Quelab.

10:15 PM - Arrive back at SODA and unload vehicle. 
10:30 PM - Students go home.

The students spent part of Saturday rearranging the room to make space for projects and robot competitions.
FRC team member Jose anding pvc pipe for catapult arm.

Clara working on mounting hinges for scale demo model.

Denton working on FRC robot.

Danielle working on making more mirrors.
Chloe trying to get the indicator to work correctly.

FRC robot's catapult arm built by Jose and InvenTeam members

Danielle and Chloe working on even more mirror designs.

Maria looking in the FRC parts for a drive wheel for her science fair centrifuge.

Denton's got the first part side of the catapult slide built for the FRC robot.

Maria and Victoria working on their Supercomputing Challenge project.

Danielle working on methods to import images of mazes into netlogo to be solved.

Clara adding details to the model car for the Police ALERT model.
Progress on the FRC robot so far.  Over half of it was built by InvenTeam members.
Working on Botball course.  Jose and InvenTeam members worked well sharing classroom space.
Chloe and Albert - still trying to get the indicator to work.

Clara with mostly finished police car model.

Chloe with just paid-for Quelab users card for InvenTeam.

Denton using shop at Quelab to work on FRC robot frame.

Victoria and Chloe working on second method for indicator panel.

Zack, Victoria, and Denton in back shop at Quelab.

Albert and Chloe still working on indicator warning lights.

Albert, Zack, Chloe, and Victoria trying not be stuck on - you guessed it - the indicator lighting.

Morgan from Quelab helping Albert and Chloe with programming the indicator light.

Still helping and Zack jumps in.

Still trying to figure it out.

And Bandit offers Zack some more advice.