PCOMP – Week 2: Electricity

The assignment this week is to come up with a simple application for switches and LED circuits. In responding to my desperate hunt for inspirations after school begins at ITP, I made a Inspiration Charger that will (hopefully) charge inspirational power and brilliant ideas into my pen, and thereby help me survive through the first semester.



The Inspiration Charger idea is originated from Tom’s introduction to switches in class – different from a push button, a switch will stay at one static state if no action is performed on it. So I though it might be good to make a switch that can reflect my two states at ITP recently – one is excited and full of creative impulse; the other is exhausted and needs an energy refill.

This in turns calls for a charger of inspiration. With this magical device, I can put my pen in and charge it with the craziest ideas when I’m busy running everyday errands. Once I’m ready to work, I can take my pen out from the charger, and the innovative ideas will flow immediately from its tips.


Building Process

The application itself is fairly simple and straight forward. It is a serial circuit with a resistor, an LED, and a switch. The challenge comes when I need to turn the switch into a charger that can be triggered by the insertion and removal of a pen.

After checking on the materials in the ITP Shop, I found a metal spring that seems to be good for providing both the force to hold a pen and the consistent connectivity in a circuit. So I made a simple pen stand using a piece of cardboard, attached conductive paper to its back, and glued the spring underneath.

In this way, when a pen is inserted, it’ll break the connectivity by creating a gap between the two conductive paper tiles, thereby shutting off the “Inspiration On” light and charge the pen with magical inspiration power; when the pen is taken out, the conductive paper tiles will be pushed against each other by the spring, and the “Inspiration On” light will be turned on, symbolizing that the pen is now full of imaginary power.


Final Application

This is how it works eventually:





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