A Car Appears! Playing with digital inputs.

I’m finding the hardest part of PComp (and ITP in general) to be coming up with unique/fun/novel/interesting/thought-provoking ideas, rather than the implementation of those ideas.  And after banging my head against the wall for a few days thinking “what on earth should I build?”, I settled on something just plain fun.

The goal: To build a little servo controlled car that is maneuvered by tilting the “controller” to the left or to the right.  Think: real-life iPhone tilt racing game.  Fun, right?

The result:

Not exactly riveting….

It started with just getting comfy with digital inputs.


And conceptually understanding the idea of a voltage divider.  long (and dangerously exposed) green wires are my “switch”.  By touch them together it would trigger a digital input pin.

I tried to build a homemade tilt switch using some junk I found on the junk shelf.

I hollowed out a cork “thing”, stuck some wires in that when connected by the nuts rattling around inside would trigger an input pin.

The “hardware” part didn’t really work, and I know I could make it much better by using a smooth tube and a ball bearing inside.  Next time.

A note about the servo – I figured it would be easy, but I never expected it to be this easy to work with a servo with an Arduino.  The Servo library makes it super simple.  Just declare it as a var of type Servo, .attach() it to either pin 9 or 10, then .write() a value between -180 and 180 to set the servo’s position.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 1.39.39 PM

The loop is super simple as well.  There are 4 digital inputs – two directions for each servo.  Depending which input is triggered, the servo value’s either increment or decrement (i.e. move the servo right or left).

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 1.41.37 PM

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