Blind Assistive Technology (BAT) Sleeve Part 2: The Electronics You Need

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Today I'm going to give you a run-down of the basic parts you need to make the electronics for the BAT Sleeve. Because I know a lot of you are new to electronics, I'm sticking only with the electronics, and not the stuff you need to make the the sleeve they will mount on. Not to worry, that is coming later in the week.

Things you will need...

You need a micro-controller. This terrifying sounding thing is essentially the brain of the device. For this design I'm using an Arduino Duemilanove that you can buy from Amazon by going here.

The Arduino Duemilanove, the 'brain' of the project
The Arduino platform is a neat piece of hardware, designed to be easy to use, and there is an AMAZING amount of documentation on the thing. This is our brain, go get one for this project.

 I don't want you guys to have to do fabrication of any fancy boards for the electronics, so this design will be using a solderless breadboard for the wires to connect to. This makes it so that you can quickly hook up and unhook wires, do fast modifications, and so forth. The one I used you can find here.

Solderless Breadboard
We need power for the device, so for you guys I picked out this 9V adapter. It will work great with 9V batteries. On mine, I took a more difficult route that involved stripping wires and creating connections, but I can assure you that this adapter will work fine for you. Get it here.

9V Power Supply
We need some way for the Arduino to be able to pick up information about the world. For this we will be using a PING))) Ultrasonic Sensor. This thing sends out high frequency sound, then analyses the echo to figure out how far away objects are. Also, not to worry about guide dogs, the sound frequency is so high that even dogs can't hear it! You can pick up one of those here.

PING))) Ultrasonic Sensor
That does it for the major stuff. You will need some other things though. You will need a small speaker, and by small, I mean SMALL! I was able to get mine by going to Radio Shack and looking through their parts bins, but I can't seem to find it in their catalog. Just ask the clerk for a small speaker for an electronics project and they will hook you up. Unless you feel comfortable soldering, make sure that it has two wires coming off of it.

You also need some wire. While you are at Radio Shack, pick that up. I recommend wires that have been pre-cut with terminating ends for breadboarding. Normally they come that way in a grab bag for only a few dollars. To see what I'm talking about, go here, but I can assure you that you don't need nearly that many wires!

You will need a USB cable for programming the Arduino. The one off the back of your printer will work just fine, so you probably don't need to buy one.

You need at least one 9V battery. Better get a couple though, nothing like having something not work, only to discover that you had a dead battery!

As far as electronic parts go, that should be everything you need.

Tomorrow we assemble the components! Finally we get to have some fun! 


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