Saturday, October 31, 2009

2009 FRC Robot, Michael 1

This is the robot my team built last year for the FRC competition, Lunacy. The robot acquired balls from the ground using a conveyor built of urethane belting. Balls could also be thrown into the hopper of the robot from the top. The balls could then be shot out of the front of the robot into opposing goals. This robot was finished in 4 out of the 6 weeks of build-season, and we spent the remaining two weeks programming and tweaking. We reached the semi-finals in both the New York and Hartford regionals.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Wall Street Journal Documentary


This is a short clip from a documentary that the Wall Street Journal made about my robotics team. Andy Jordan of the Wall Street Journal followed the team throughout the season and made a six part, half hour documentary. These are a few clips in which I'm featured.

GSR Lie Detector

This is a lie detector project that I designed, built and coded myself. It uses an Arduino to measure the user's galvanic skin response, and then lights up the LED meter to indicate the likelihood that the user is lying. When you first turn it on, it will take a baseline test. Then it will read out to the LEDs. The sensitivity can also be easily changed. Although even the most sophisticated lie-detecting technology is not always accurate, this is a simple demonstration of the idea that one's hands sweat more when they lie/are nervous. I plan to add comments to the code and make a nice enclosure for the circuit, and submit this as a Make Magazine project.

Intel Project Biometric Sensor Unit

This is the hardware component of my Intel project. It uses an Arduino to read in heart rate, skin temperature and galvanic skin response (resistivity / sweat level). The idea behind the project is that your computer can use biometric information to make more informed decisions, and therefore interact more effectively with the user. My idea for a second stage of this would be a computer mouse that has the three sensors on board. The less intrusive sensors would be more comfortable for the user.

Mini Guitar Amp #2

This guitar amp is using the same schematic as Mini Guitar Amp #1, but instead of a wooden tea box, I put it in an Animal Crackers jar. I made this as a gift for my friend Jack. The photo is courtesy of Jack.

Mini Guitar Amp #1

This is a mini guitar amp that I built using a schematic from Make Magazine. It is housed in a wooden tea box, and has knobs for both volume and gain. The wooden box gives it surprisingly good sound for something of this size.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

My Loft Bed

In order to make the most of my small bedroom, I designed and built a loft bed that would take up no floor space. The bed is made of plywood braced with steel L. It hangs on one side from the beams in the ceiling while the other side is bolted into the studs in the wall. When I get a place of my own, I plan to take it down and bring it with me.

Drive Train

Over the summer (after 10th grade) I led a group of members from the robotics team in designing and building a drive train. We discussed many possible designs, and after deciding on one, I modeled it in Autodesk Inventor. We were given space at the company of one of our mentors, where we built and tested the drive train. We used it during the next robotics season as a test-base for ideas.

Blown Glass Float

I took a glass blowing lesson, and made this glass float. I started off with a lump of clear glass, and I rolled it in a pile of yellow, orange and red shards of glass. I then heated all of this, and rolled it out to mix and swirl the colors. I then slowly blew out the glass while rotating it to keep it round. Glass floats were originally used by fishermen to tie to their nets to keep them afloat in the sea.

Welded Table

Last summer I took a welding class where I learned oxyacetylene welding, MIG welding and plasma cutting. This is a table I built to hold my mom's printer. I have tried to find a place to learn TIG welding so that I could weld aluminum for the robotics team, but have not been able to find a class anywhere in the city for which I was eligible.

Flashing Goggles

These goggles are meant to influence brainwave frequency through sensory stimulation. The goggles flash LEDs at the user's closed eyes and play tones at varying matching frequencies. The theory behind this is that the brainwaves occur at different frequencies depending on mental arousal, and through the stimulation of sight and sound, the glasses can affect the user's mental state. Although I did not find that the goggles caused significant changes to my state of mind, they did make me see a variety of very vivid geometric patterns. This was built based on a Make Magazine article.

TV-B-Gone Meets Time-Crisis

Can't stand the blaring TV at the restaurant where you are trying to have a nice dinner? The TV-B-Gone is a remote that will turn off any TV. I took the TV-B-Gone kit, and wired it into an old PlayStation video game gun. Now when you pull the trigger, it turns off any TV in the house. Although this is not especially practical to use in a restaurant, it is quite fun to "shoot" your TV off.

Some Middle School Projects

My uncle first introduced me to circuits and schematics, and throughout middle school I worked on a variety of projects including small robot kits and other assorted electronics kits. Shown in this picture are a few of the robots, as well as a motion sensor, a noise activated switch, and a fiber-optic audio transmission demonstration.


My name is Seth Berg, I am a Senior at Stuyvesant High School in New York City, and this is my first time blogging. This blog will be devoted to sharing things that I have designed and built as well as to my ideas for future projects. This will include electronics, carpentry, robotics and more. I am the president of engineering on the Stuyvesant High School FIRST robotics team (#694), and some of what I post will be from the team. Ever since I was in kindergarten I have loved building things, and I now hope to pursue a career in engineering.