Inspiration:

Ambient Orbs, Chumby, PS3 Dashboard, and the 1st Gen Xbox Interface are inspirations for Colossus. Colossus builds upon the idea of a dashboard with an enhanced IoT twist--you can track information that's important to you (i.e. biorhythms, calorie counter, medication reminder, stock tracker, etc...) and have it display or have a server calculate an answer for you and display the answer on an Colossus' LCD or have Colossus interact with you once it detects that are close-by via a proximity sensor.

What it does:

Colossus is an enhanced IoT device that reports info that's important to you--using either leds, lcds, or sound. The key to Colossus is that it should physically look sleek and elegant. It's more like an organic modern art piece--while remaining simple and intuitive to use.

Colossus won't be a "glass slab" but rather an enhanced IoT device that displays information in a way that is meaningful to the owner/operator of the enhanced IoT device.

How I built it:

I'm working on the 3d printed case, and it'll house a Particle unit that's either connected to lots of leds or a few lcds.

Challenges I ran into:

I'll be needing help from Full Stack Developers to make the back-end software work out :) Looking for devs to help out and make this IoT Device a reality :)

Accomplishments that I'm proud of:

Solidifying the 3d printed design was downright challenging :)

What I learned:

I learned much more about the Particle platform, and more about hardware design.

What's next for Colossus:

Getting a prototype of Colossus to work during the Hackathon :)

Built With

Share this project:
×

Updates

Ken Chang posted an update

Xcode 7.1 beta 3

Our Colossus project is really moving along at really fast pace--Ani's finished up the speakers! I really thought that we'd be assembling the speakers at IoT Day :) It looks like we'll have time create to some more impressive things with the speakers :)

Ben has talked to a children's hospital about the possibility of using Colossus as a broadcast or signal light--we be making a simpler LED or 1-8 NeoPixel version for the children's hospital implementation of the Colossus Project. Advanced members of the team can still work on the lots of leds version--as there are still bugs to work out on that implementation.

Our current project goals are to get a working prototype version to demo to for the judging, have a ton of fun, learn more about IoT, and to make new friends. And just one more thing--on the iOS side--we'll be developing with Xcode 7.1 beta 3 and would welcome any new or experienced iOS devs to the team--we're going to make a dent in the universe :)

https://developer.apple.com/xcode/download/

Log in or sign up for Devpost to join the conversation.

Ken Chang posted an update

Comic Book Cool

The visual design of a new product is a challenging topic for designers/engineers/companies... Industrial designers want to go in one direction and engineers want to go in the exact opposite direction. If too many compromises are made on product design--the overall product is somewhat akin to vanilla flavored ice cream--bland/boring/cautious--the design should've/could've been more like Cold Stone Creamery's Strawberry Blonde or more like Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough---just super awesome.

How do we go from vanilla to super awesome? Why not tap into comic book cool of course! During the dot com era besides designing web pages, I picked up a lot of comic book work-inking/coloring/lettering/penciling/editing/etc..-great books had talented writers/pencilers/inkers/colorists/editors/etc.. And bad books didn't start out aiming to be bad--they were books where either the writer/editor/management had lacked a comprehensive vision for the title. If the artwork was subpar-the writing would really be the glue that held a comic book together. If the writing was bad--then the artwork had better be spectacular. If the writing and art were both really awful then the title was doomed to fail.


Tonight, I'm rethinking my visual design for the Colossus Project, and I'm thinking of it from the vector of injecting some "Comic Book Cool" into the visual design. I'm asking myself questions from back when I worked in the comic book field--questions like what should a signaling device that (insert your favorite super hero name here--Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman/Walker/etc..) would use?



Would Batman use something like this? And is it elegant enough for Cat Woman? Once I have answered those questions and I'll have injected "Comic Book Cool" into the Colossus project :)

Log in or sign up for Devpost to join the conversation.

Ken Chang posted an update

Big @#$%ing Laser

Nord East Makers is an awesome Maker Space! Whenever I need access to industrial/fab lab styled tools--they offer hands down the best Maker Space/Industrial Equipment/Maker Tools/Experience ever! They have not 1--but 2 cutting lasers! NEM recently acquired a 36" by 48" bed w/ 100 Watt CO2 laser. Making this a Big @#$%ing Laser!


Learning how to use the gear has always been a fun learning experiece--owners Tyler/Micah/Bruce are expert trainers and you'll be up and running in no time--in fact--both Ani and I learned how to use the Big @#$%ing Laser in less than an hour--and within minutes we were laser cutting :) Also, Bruce is an awesome mentor--you may also have seen Bruce's invention--EggBot! Currently Ani is using the Big @#$%ing Laser to cut out speaker parts for the Colossus project :)

Log in or sign up for Devpost to join the conversation.

Ken Chang posted an update

Thanks Code 42 & Particle!

It was really awesome meeting everyone last night at the Meet & Greet! I only wished that we had more time to see everyone :) And a big shout out to Justin & Code 42! The pizza was really really awesome :)

Also a big shout out to Particle! Thanks for getting us Dev kits! Some or our Team Members are new to the Particle Photon platform and it really helps to play/test/experiement with the platform a bit before the IoT Hackathon :)

Ben and I picked up some Particle Photon Dev Kits from Particle! Ben was really impressed by the small form factor!

Ben is working on implementing one component of the Colossus Proj as a broadcast light for a children's hospital--he started out using a different IoT platform and is going to work on moving it over to the Particle Photon :)

Also we're going to use the Internet Button Dev Kit in conjunction with a few more Colossus Displays and some speakers for a more immersive experience with the Colossus Proj! Ani is currently working on building us some speakers for that component :)

Thanks so much for the Dev Boards & Kits Particle :)

Log in or sign up for Devpost to join the conversation.

Ken Chang posted an update

Carbo Loading

Since we'll be at the hackathon for around 13+ hrs--12hrs for the hackathon--+30min showing up early +1 hr Audience Voting +30min-1hr tear down,etc... I'll be carbo loading--my tuna/chicken salad lunches be damned!

You'll find me at the Colossus project table munching on pink icing and confetti sprinkled doughnuts with coffee--Homer Simpson style :) I know--I should probably eat power bars or protein bars instead, etc... and we're here to have fun + nothing carbo loads better than sugary doughnuts :)

Log in or sign up for Devpost to join the conversation.

Ken Chang posted an update

Photon Network Connectivity

I brought my Particle Photon to show a client--and embarrasingly--my Photon wouldn't connect to my client's secure WiFi network--I tried using their guest network and that didn't work either. I know that my Photon can store and access multiple networks, and not being able to connect to my client's network for a test run has me a little worried--the project so far works great at my house--and off my home WiFi--crickets--sort of like that cartoon with the singing and dancing frog--it sings and dances for just one person, and is non-responsive for a crowd :)

For the hackathon--I'm going to find my old Linksys WiFi router and possibly bring my ethernet switch and some ethernet cables. The inability of my Photon to connect a different network has me spooked a bit--and I'll feel better bringing a WiFi router that I know should work in theory :) *Note to self* Check WiFi router and Photon connectivity before the hackathon :)

Log in or sign up for Devpost to join the conversation.

Ken Chang posted an update

G-O-O-D! Goooood Morning!

A few quick updates! We have a video up and running about our project! The video is a super short fun video that conveys excitement for our project and has a call to action to vote for it on the 17th. Please let everyone know about the voting event :) And share the video with everyone: https://youtu.be/hkIYg4Z0jPw

I've managed to get the used Particle Photon to work by reinstalling the firmware from the CLI interface by forcing the install through the USB cable--for some reason the used Particle Photon wouldn't see my Wi-Fi network--and now after the new firmware install--everything is work out really well.

For some reason one of my computers won't run the CLI--I get a permissions problem on install and I can't seem to fix a serial port problem either--the 2 problems might be related or unrelated--but I at least have the CLI up and running on 1 computer :) And I strongly advise everyone--people on our team or other teams to try getting the CLI runnning on their computers. I think the web build interface might work out--but having the CLI installed means that the show can still go on--even if we can't connect to the web build interface :)

I did pick up a NeoPixel LED strip as shown in the video--MicroCenter was out of the clone Adafruit 8 NeoPixel Strips--so I ordered some online which hopefully arrives before the 17th :)

Log in or sign up for Devpost to join the conversation.

Ken Chang posted an update

How to Build A Kick Ass Team

I noticed that the Colossus project is cited as an example for how to recruit a team, and seeing how some teams need help recruiting--this is a quick guide to how I like to put together my teams for every project that I am involved with--I work hard to build successful projects and teams, and this guide works out well for my projects. Also please note that the only wrong step you can do is to not actively try to recruit team members.

A-Players are the-best-of-the-best-of-the-best. I really believe that A-Players like to work with other A-Players. They like the energy of solving complex problems and tasks. They feed off of the feedback and interplay between each other. A-Players tackle problems and have a ton of fun at solving problems. This isn't to say that A-players don't make mistakes or have bad days/etc.. Or that all A-Players get along with each other swimmingly--rather A-Players have a mutual working respect for one another and bring other A-players to the team. At times A-Players agree to disagree-but when under pressure they can collaborate well enough together to come up with an innovative solution or creative answer.

The first step I did to recruit A-players was figure out which skill sets I needed badly--since I'm a front end designer--I didn't contact every A-Player that had a front end design background. I also didn't contact A-Players who I thought would submit projects--since this would seem sort of embarrassing--actually quite a few A-Players I had contacted also submitted projects in for IoT Hackday a few days after I had contacted them :) So it's totally okay to contact people you'd love to work with--call them personally or send out a personal email to A-Players and tell them about the IoT Hackday competition.

If you are a shy guy like me--write a personal email--if you've met the person before--write a reminder about where you have met them before--maybe you met them at the same MeetUp group. If you've never met the person before tell them about your project and why you think they would like to join your team. If you know the person pretty well--set up a meeting with them--a phone call or meet up in person over lunch/coffee/etc... and talk to them about your project. Thinking about this a little more--tell everyone about your project too! Helpful people can put you in touch with other people who have the same interests.

Don't be afraid of rejection--as the worst thing someone can say is--"No." And hearing "No" isn't totally devastating in real-life. For example, at college I remember that my term papers would be docked to a "C" if the cover page was crumpled in my backpack by accident or a "D" if the professor didn't like my paper--real-life is totally different--banks take my accidentally crumpled client checks (I know same bad habit from college of shoving papers into my laptop bag) with a big smile on their faces and they would always tell me "Thank You for your Business." Also, for every client that didn't like an idea we had--there would be at least 2-3 other clients who would kill for that same idea--and when they saw how we executed that idea for our other clients--there would be a 30% chance that we'd come back to implement an originally rejected idea. Embrace rejection--a running joke in the advertising business is that, "We've been thrown out of better buildings than this one."

If you are leading a team--you really, really need to like people. This is sort of a problem in the tech field--some tech guys lack social skills or they really have a casual disregard about other people's feelings. To lead a team of A-Players--you have to love working with people and care greatly about them.

If you aren't a team captain and are looking to sign up for a team--please let me know-I know that we're a large team and we can work things out to make things work out-I'd love to have you on the Colossus Project!

Log in or sign up for Devpost to join the conversation.

Ken Chang posted an update

I was in Iowa this past weekend for a wedding, and I didn't quite realize it until I had left Minneapolis--but the Twin Cities is a significant tech hub! When I'm here in Minneapolis/St. Paul--presenting ideas to friends/clients/business partners--things just never seem to be good enough because we are all in a constant non-stop cycle of innovating--the ideas/visions we have can lifted to the next level--which is what makes our region such a unique tech hub. For example, I presented a Pan/Tilt Timelapse camera project at the Makerfaire and shared the designs with fellow Makers--everyone felt that the design could be much, much better with either a Bluetooth connection or with a touch screen LCD.

The same is true with my clients--I can build them an Android App, and they would want an iOS App, once the iOS App is completed--I'd win a contract for making the website responsive--or they'd need a Facebook campaign, etc... Essentially--I could wheel in a Dr. Who-Styled-Police-Phone-Booth-Box, a "Time Machine" into their office and plug it into the wall outlet and say something like, "This is a 'Time Machine' we can travel back in time--the range is 1-5 days for traveling back in time. Ready to fire up the 'Time Machine' portal and step back in time 1-5 days?" And my client would say, "Wouldn't it be better if the 'Time Machine' ran on batteries--please come back when it runs on batteries/solar cells/etc..."

Last weekend in Iowa--friends and family were admiring the Thomas the Train tracks and bridges that I had downloaded from Thingaverse and printed out on my Ultimaker a few months back for my 2-year old son. They were totally in fascination at 3d printing tech--which back in Minnesota we'd argue that FDM printers were actually 2d printers, etc... And that's why we are different--In Iowa--nothing but compliments/fascination--In Minneapolis/St. Paul--suggestions and challenges to build a better product/tech/design--I love our tech hub, and wouldn't want it any other way :)

Log in or sign up for Devpost to join the conversation.

Ken Chang posted an update

I'm starting to pick up a few items for the Colossus project, and I really do enjoy picking up my parts locally if possible. I know I can get a better deal on parts by mail order or on sites like eBay or Aliexpress, but by picking up my parts from local vendors--I support my local economy/businesses and they help me out when I need a part in a pinch--rather than waiting half a month for something to ship from China.


So here's a breakdown of 3 awesome local stores to get parts for your projects:
AxMan Surplus www.ax-man.com/
MicroCenter
ABC Electronics

AxMan is a great local surplus store, and parts do vary by location--my favorite local to search for electronic parts is the St. Paul location:

St. Paul
1639 University Ave.
(651)-646-8653
Mon-Fri 9am to 7pm
Sat 9am to 6pm
Sun Noon to 5pm

MicroCenter has really expanded their DIY/Hobbyist Electronics/Maker section--so much so that it has now overtaken the Gaming section of their store. They may not have the latest/greatest controllers/etc..., and finding a specific board can be like looking for a needle in a haystack because of the lack of display organization, but it's really awesome finding some one in the Twin Cities that still carries a few different microcontrollers and Arduino Shields:

Twin Cities/St. Louis Park
3710 Highway 100 South
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
(952) 285-4040
Mon - Sat 10 to 9, Sun 11 to 6

Acme Electronics Inc. (AEI Electronic Parts) http://www.aeielectroniccenter.com/

Acme is a great store to find Kester Solder, soldering supplies, Weller Micro Tips, Switches, Relays, Resisters, etc... They really distribute a lot of interesting components--just don't judge them by their website--it'stuck in 1999:


6020 Olson Memorial Highway (Highway 55)
Golden Valley, MN 55422
763-543-2585

Log in or sign up for Devpost to join the conversation.

Ken Chang posted an update

Adafruit has a great guide on getting started with WS2812B LEDs/NeoPixels @ https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-neopixel-uberguide

NeoPixels run on 5V and the Particle Photon runs at 3.3V, so we might need to pick up a a logic level shifter such as a 74AHCT125 or a 74HCT245.

The Uberguide states that, "If you are powering your NeoPixels with 3.7v like from a LiPoly, a 3.3v data signal is OK." This might also be true for the Photon--or maybe is true for the Photon running a few NeoPixels.

There's a ton of exciting choices with the NeoPixels and I'm working on figuring out which NeoPixels to pick up. Let me know your suggestions :)

Log in or sign up for Devpost to join the conversation.

Ken Chang posted an update

H.A. Ray wrote "The Stars" around 50 years ago--simplifying how star constellations can be viewed and envisioned. Compared to other astronomy books--Ray's book was easy to understand and an intuitive method of star gazing.

Today, LEDs can be used to convey information, and we can either use a mesh network of a bunch of LEDs into a matrix and display alpha numeric characters or entire words or we can used a system that uses fewer and more meaningful LED beacons. From a manufacturing stand point--a mesh of LEDs could be time consuming or expensive to produce. If we can figure out a method like H.A. Ray and come up with an early "Palm Pilot Graffti" way of conveying/signaling information we can produce more IoT devices with fewer LEDs.

Log in or sign up for Devpost to join the conversation.

Ken Chang posted an update

I've modified our Trello project so that we're all admins--and I've also added everyone to the project so that we can all list the parts we're bringing/tools/etc... When you list a part--but your initials by them--this we can sort out whose is bringing what part/tool/etc...
Just in case you are having trouble logging into Trello here's the software/parts/tools I'm tentatively bringing:

Software:
Xcode
LiveCode - RAD Tool
Xojo - RAD Tool
Pencil Case RAD Tool
Sketch RAD Tool
MAX/MSP - RAD Tool
Processing - Great Open Source Language
Apple HomeKit - Experimental IoT Platform

Needed Software: Someone on the Android side of the coin. Backend tools. Restful API skillset/experience.


Equipment:
Dremel
Dremel Routing Tool
Dremel Mini Drill Press
Weller WD1001 Soldering Station
Ultimaker Printer --currently in repair--hopefully I'll get it back before the IoT Hackathon
Wire Strippers
Diagonal Wire Cutters
Metric and Imperial Hex Wrenches

Needed Equip: Server for HomeKit--Maybe a Raspberry PI could run Apple Homekit?

Parts:
1 used Particle Photon -- needs to be reset
1 Particle Photon
1 eBay OLED
1 SparkFun Photon OLED
1 SparkFun Battery Shield
1 SparkFun Photon Weather Shield
1 SparkFun Inventor's Kit for Photon -- uses SparkFun Red Board
1 mustachio Spark Core Battery Board
1 Spark Core Relay Shield
2 micro breadboards
1 SparkFun JoyStick Shield
1 SparkFun 2x16 LCD
1 Red Bear Labs BLE Shield for Arduino
1 Microcenter Uno R3
1 Ultimaker PLA 2.85mm filament
1 Ultimaker CPE 2.85mm filament
1 MadeSolid PET+ 2.85mm filament
1 Taulman Clear t-glase 2.85mm filament
1 Makerbot White PLA 1.75mm filament

Needed Parts: LEDs, WS2812B LEDs/NeoPixels, wearable boards, wearable system, more particle photons, maybe some different BLE boards, sensors, arduino yun, raspberry pi, capacitors, resistors, desoldering braid, Li Ion Batteries, w/JST connector, JST connectors, wires, breadboard jumper wires, screws, glue, etc...

Log in or sign up for Devpost to join the conversation.

Ken Chang posted an update

Good Morning! I've modified our Trello project so that we're all admins--and I've also added everyone to the project so that we can all list the parts we're bringing/tools/etc... When you list a part--but your initials by them--this we can sort out whose is bringing what part/tool/etc...

Just in case you are having trouble logging into Trello here's the software/parts/tools I'm tentatively bringing:

Software: Xcode LiveCode - RAD Tool Xojo - RAD Tool Pencil Case - RAD Tool Sketch - RAD Tool MAX/MSP - RAD Tool Processing - Great Open Source Language Apple HomeKit - Experimental IoT Platform

Needed Software: Someone on the Android side of the coin. Backend tools. Restful API skillset/experience.

Equipment: Dremel Dremel Routing Tool Dremel Mini Drill Press Weller WD1001 Soldering Station Ultimaker Printer --currently in repair--hopefully I'll get it back before the IoT Hackathon Wire Strippers Diagonal Wire Cutters Metric and Imperial Hex Wrenches

Needed Equip: Server for HomeKit--Maybe a Raspberry PI could run Apple HomeKit?

Parts: 1 used Particle Photon -- needs to be reset 1 Particle Photon 1 eBay OLED 1 SparkFun Photon OLED 1 SparkFun Battery Shield 1 SparkFun Photon Weather Shield 1 SparkFun Inventor's Kit for Photon -- uses SparkFun Red Board 1 mustachio Spark Core Battery Board 1 Spark Core Relay Shield 2 micro breadboards 1 SparkFun JoyStick Shield 1 SparkFun 2x16 LCD 1 Red Bear Labs BLE Shield for Arduino 1 Microcenter Uno R3 1 Ultimaker PLA 2.85mm filament 1 Ultimaker CPE 2.85mm filament 1 MadeSolid PET+ 2.85mm filament 1 Taulman Clear t-glase 2.85mm filament 1 Makerbot White PLA 1.75mm filament

Needed Parts: LEDs, WS2812B LEDs/NeoPixels, wearable boards, wearable system, more particle photons, maybe some different BLE boards, sensors, arduino yun, raspberry pi, capacitors, resistors, desoldering braid, Li Ion Batteries, w/JST connector, JST connectors, wires, breadboard jumper wires, screws, glue, etc...

Log in or sign up for Devpost to join the conversation.

Ken Chang posted an update

Wow! There's 7 of us! It's like the Magnificent Seven or Seven Samurai or Fast 7!

I’ve sent out a Trello invite— We can coordinate ideas/resources/equipment/tools/parts/etc... on Trello :)

Also, it would be really awesome if we could meet up in person a few times before the hackathon.

Let me know when's a good time to meet up and which place might work out :)

Best, Ken

Log in or sign up for Devpost to join the conversation.