The keyboard is shaped around you; not shaping you around the keyboard
Given the time and capital restraints on the project, it was more than likely that this entire project would not be completed or rather I wouldn't be able to make dent into it. Because as a high schooler with no requisite knowledge of any of tasks I needed to complete, making a product from scratch took much longer for me than any other real engineer. But its the concept that trying counts that makes it most worth it for me. The task, I admit was daunting to begin with. I knew nothing and was capable of nearly nothing at the time with only a little knowledge of computers and a will to try at least anything. Building something from the ground up wasn't something I had expected to do for my genius project. I really did expect to use the website I had created for my cooking blog instead.
However, setting my sights on something so high allowed me personally to achieve something below it but even then it was a lot that I was able to create. To know that I do still have potential in the skill area presented, to know that my efforts were not entirely wasted was the real goal of it all. Making a statement to those that discourage biting more than you can chew. However, it can be stated that I did just that. However, it wasn't all bad that I failed, which is probably the key difference in other works I've done. It was also a revelation that passion truly does matter in the end, because without I would have never gotten this far into the project and kept at it for 2 years. But this is the it, this is what I've been to scrape together in the past two years of my life at this point in time. It may not be a money maker but whats more important is that I was able to do it at this point. 2 years in the creation, 2 years of passion driven hard work.
So as promised, we finally have the bottom half with all its assembled glory. Each of the switches are in place for the down motion and all of them have individual slots to fit in. They have uniform ways to activate and have all been wired correctly. The front two have triggers to show what it would look like normally, the other two have no trigger to show the underlying electronic circuitry.
On the second half, the top half, I've completed one of the up switches to where it can get inputs from the up motion of the index and the middle fingers. The one displayed here is only the first up switches since I was naive and though that the same switch would work for both parts of the hand. What I didn't realize was that the part with the pillar in the middle works for the index and the middle fingers but the ring and pinky have different spacial needs. The ring finger takes up space diagonal so in order to solve this, I designed a triangular pillar to take up less space and accommodate the needs of the ring finger while also lowering the platform for inputting since the ring finger is much more weak than the rest of the fingers.
Development takes a bit of getting used to. Since childhood, most people would be told that they are so smart of naturally talented. Because of this over spoiled encouragement, the kids can tend to let this get into their very own existence which then natural makes them used to most things plopping into their hands perfectly. But as time goes on, whenever they are met with adversaries, it is not common for the kids to turn away instead of failing. But most people should know that failing is only part of the learning process. As for me, I kinda got all the failures towards more of the beginning of my career. Back in middle school I would fail a lot at almost everything. My grades weren't the best and I had to protest to be placed into the top math class instead of being automatically placed there.
Since sixth grade, I've never truly been the best at anything and so the effect of the fear of failure was a lot less intense for me. But it wasn't entirely gone. All the way till high school would it continue. Although people have called me "smart" or "gifted" it is always a good idea for humility and to stay humble. Talk less and listen more. You always know less than the person next to you. Through out this project, I have learned many things that I can see a common pattern of occurrence Time and time again I failed to create the perfect model my first try, which did really frustrate me at first. But after making the 17th model of the same thing, I finally get it. Failure is only part of the learning process. Each time there is a new model, there is more improved. It comes in versions and generations, not perfect all at once. All this project really is, is the journey of failures to learn the most.
At the start of this trimester I had just the skeletal model and the raspberry pi coded and ready for the next step. The most prominent problem that I had to face during the trimester was the fact that I didn't have the resources at home to consistently put out new models and develop the switches at home. This all had to be done on site of Viasat's laboratories. Getting there and back was a difficult thing to do since I do not have a car that I can constantly use and is available to me also having a broken ankle for half the trimester didn't really help that much.
Because of this, there was a major set back in my timeline and I need to work double time to make the time that I had lost due to the events. As soon as I heal, I will be able to go to the lab a lot more easily. In doing so, I will then be able to get to the next step of testing. Testing is going to be a very important faze of my project. Testing is able to give feedback and highlight a lot of problems that would other wise be missed by a simple rough draft sketch design that the creator hasn't thought too far into the future. Accounting for extra time in fixing problem that I have not anticipated. Where am I in the process of the project? Still creating the hardware and refining it. In the second trimester of senior year, I have developed 2 different switches, remodeled the dorsal half of the skeleton, ventral half, and modeled the next pressure switch for the future. This is the end of the second tri, I will continue to the third.
After the last few months of toiling away at the project working on it step by step, there comes the exciting moments when the whole things comes together. Sometimes its as good as you can get it but other times it won't even fit. And then you realize that you designed the parts incorrectly. But in this case, it was an easy fix. All I had to do was to sand the inside. After that, I easily slid the trigger switch board into place. Excitingly, it fit and is in the place exactly as I intended it to be. This assembly marks the beginning of the project's true purpose coming to life. The project now will be soon held in the hands of the user and be able to type away freely. As February closes, I spark the beginning of the functionality of the creation. I hope to get this really working well soon.
After having a good ol'chat with one of the professionals in the room, I was inspired by the advice that they gave us. My professional was our principal, Mr. Morales. He is a visionary. When talking to him, he channeled his will through me and to my project. His advice simple, vision. See the product in the audience's hands, let them experience what I've created, and most of all, see myself on the stage in front of hundreds of people. I thought this was great advice for not just this project but also my life as an engineer in the future. It was going to be a different kind of presentation. One that brings me to the audience, not the audience to me.
June 13th, I was able to secure the resources I needed for the project to progress. At Viasat, I was able to consult my mentors about my project in both software sides of the process as well as the hardware and electrical side. My components started small with the simple whim of basing the keyboard on the natural grip. So naturally, I borrowed some modeling clay from out 3d design teacher at Sage Creek and started figuring out the basic shape of the natural grip. Simply gripping the clay generated the base design that I would use for the future skeleton of my components. Take that model I created and then cut off the very extraneous corners and cracks and slice off proprietary parts that jut out awkwardly and the first clay model would be created. To then look like this:
So pretty normal, a basic model of the inside hand formulated to be fitted to my left palm. Initially I tried to smooth out the edges with my fingers and make then as crisp as possible. However since I wasn't able to take off material fast and equally that way, I resorted to using a blunt knife that would grind off chips of the model thin and quickly. Then taking this model, I wanted to translated it into STL format which is the file format that allows 3d printers to use. So to do this I had the option of getting it 3d scanned at a library and then pay 50 bucks which was extremely inefficient, or I could use the new technique called photogrammetry that allows the user to take photos from an equal distance away and then move around the object in a circle.
Software that regenerates the model analyzes the differences from each photo and generates a sparse point apparatus. This apparatus is then able to be used to generate the lines of the first dimension, then moving on the triangles between the lines and the points, the model then gets the triangles regenerated. Next comes the mesh that is created by fully connecting all of the triangles so that they join together and the software predicts where the points are going to go. After to the full regeneration of the model in a set 3d space, I need to fix the imperfections that really messed me up. In the 3d modeling space, there were many cracks in model that didn't patch correctly, so using the Meshmixer software, I was able to fix all the things that had. And then further printing generated this: