January 5, 2019

We got some new development boards in this week. The technical team has been able to practice with the circuit playground express! We chose this board because it has many of the features we thought we might want to include in our design already onboard. It comes with 2 buttons, a switch, 10 RGB LEDs, and an accelerometer, and a temperature sensor. Hopefully this will let us get a prototype working quickly. We're new to coding, but the company that makes this board has lots of tutorials and code we can use to get started. We've already managed to use the example to get our boards to simulate blowing out candles (LEDs).

We also just finished our first 3D printed prototype. For our first attempt, we 3D printed a lid with a ball valve attached. This would allow us to control the flow of the liquid using a servo motor. Surprisingly... but not so surprisingly, our prototype failed us. The PLA plastic from the 3D printer seemed to be a big part of our problem. Since the lid screws onto our test cup, all the force was transferred to the weakest part of the print. When we assembled the lid to our test cup, water found its way through the cracks of the rim. From that moment, we knew that it had to go. We needed to come up with a different lid. In our next version we plan to change the orientation to prevent cracking along the rim. Not only did we discover those mistakes, we also found out that the ball inside the valve needs to be a bigger size. The ball we printed from the 3D printer was small causing a very small amount of water to release. The valve was working great, but we just weren’t getting the volume of water we wanted. Also, we did some research and noticed that there needs to be an air hole to help release water faster and more smoothly. This was a great learning experience for the technical and design teams.

The finance team has been making a list of the things the were requested to buy from other team members, buying needed materials, and taking care of the books. It's a big job and they are doing great taking care of the business side of things. The design team has created another sketch of our invention. They have continued doing research to think about the best way to design our cup and what features it needs. It really requires a lot of thought to design a product that so many different people will use. They each have their own needs and wants. Hopefully our adaptive design will be able to cater to most of them, but we are learning that there will have to be some compromises as well. Lastly, the communications group has been sending emails to potential business partners and sponsors. They set up and are managing our Slack channel for team-wide communication. They are also keeping a personal touch by sending thank you cards to those that have already helped us so much.

We are so excited to use our newfound skills and equipment to solve a really difficult problem. Stick around, and we'll keep you updated on all the new developments as we move along!