2/22 - score: 7.5/10  ok overall progress, but still some big gaps in yoru OLDJ (1/31-2/13)      Please move all of your code into another folder... ask me if you have questions.  Pieces that you need: overall system design, flow chart of your code, map of campus locations, better wiring diagram

2/4 - score: 7.5/10  much better progress, but still in need of some work.  Where are the design sketches?  Map of proposed turf locations?  proposed design of walker measurers?  Take a look at some of the 10/10 design journals to see what i expect.

1/22/13 - score: 6/10  please date each entry, include graphs/data you have gathered, a summary of your proposal should go here as well. Need more detail about what you have done in these first 2 weeks


For the Spring Project I would like to grow my own grass strand that is more resistant to the game of Football. I have done a little bit of research into the kinds of grass used at Golf Courses. One particularly interesting strand is called Paspalum, it is currently used on a seaside Golf Course called Kiawah.


Prices of Different Strands of Grass:

Places to Start:
Create different kinds of tests to measure grass
Possibly find a way to quantify

The National Turfgrass Federation:

United States Department of Agriculture

National TurfGrass Evaluation Program: ntep.org

I have contacted the NTEP and requested some data and and tests from them. It is a government project whose mission it is to measure different kinds

I will be running several tests on different kinds of playing surfaces, including synthetic turfs


I have acquired a small rectangle (16” by 14”) of  astro turf grass for use in testing.

These tests have been performed using my senses and are not quantifiable

This is an image captured from my notebook and is a preliminary test of Turf Grass and its durability.

I will do this with every kind of grass that I am going to use but I have not bought any more grasses because I am not ready to begin my experiment.

Below is a link the the species of grasses used by professional football player.

Experiment Ideas:
I have begun to develop a way to mimic the effect football players have on grass. I have taken the dimensional of All-Pro Middle Linebacker Patrick Willis of the San Francisco 49ers. Using some simple physics I was able to determine the amount of force he would use when running his 40 meter dash.
Patrick Willis

Height: 6’2”                      Weight: 250 pounds

My goal is to form some a

machine that is able to

simulate the a sustained

run by Patrick Willis.


I have also decided that as a test for walking on grass I would figure out a way to have much of the school walk on small mats of different grasses. I plan on doing this by getting different strands of grass and placing them outside of the most commonly used building on campus. The only issue I have is deciding where to place the mats.


I just had a great idea. I would program a few arduinos and place pressure pads under each mat of grass and use those to measure how people are walking on each patch every day.


Andrew and Bill gave me a great idea on how to keep track of traffic. I will program an arduino to shoot a laser and every time that it is broken it will add on to a counter. This will be a decent way to measure how many people are walking along my grass. Andrew M. will be helping me out with this project and lending me his programing.

I also need to go out and buy some mats of grass.
I am planning on buying that from either Sloats Gardening or Home Depot.

Here are some growth schedules for various grasses.


I have expanded upon the idea to use a laser pointer. I also have the option of using a Parallax Passive Infrared Motion Sensor (#555-28027) or a Force Sensor. I have decided upon to locations of my grass, the Commons, the Library, The Main Hall, and possibly the hill between the Main Hall and Kal’s Classroom. My goal is to have a prototype of my experiment up by the end of Tuesday. This prototype will include an Arduino with a counter and some sort of Sensor, and a mat of Turf Grass. The other Grasses I will be testing are commonly used grasses in professional sports, Paspalum Kentucky Blue Grass and Bermuda. I plan on buying my Sod from a place in Martinez California called The Sod Shop (925-370-0303). Price Per Sq. Foot is $0.29. URL  http://www.thesodshop.com/index.html

        Programming: I will be returning to the Arduino Software. I plan on finding a code on the Arduino that will help me program my Passive Infrared Sensor. The code will be placed in a different document.

Here is the link to it: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gzhWZGgh1YNyQt3KAFrIgeVtUFR3yz4phjHWdmD0PBM/edit


Whenever someone is in range of the Arduino, the LED will be on. This is basically the same principle that I want.

(I am going to put all of the work I have been doing under this date because of the trouble i have had with Google Drive recently, so this work is from the past ten days)

I have decided against using a motion sensor for a variety of reasons. The most significant is that it would be impossible to measure how many people have traveled over the mats because it would not be to tell the difference between one or three people crossing the mats at the same time. I have decided to use some sort of button for it.
Dave has suggested that I use a double sided trigger called an AutomationDirect AAP2T51Z11

Here is a design for it

I used some Vex robotics to design rapid prototype of the planter boxes that I am planning on using to place my grass around the campus. My primary goal is to have my design finalized as soon as possible.

Here is the stuff I will be using.

After thinking about it again, I realized that to rig my flip switch up to the boxes would be very difficult, so I decided to perhaps use a dance pad like the ones used for DDR.

I had to carefully take apart the pad to find where certain leads go.
I also needed to see whether or not the pad would give compromised readings if I keep a wooden board on it for a long time.


I still am working on how to build my planter boxes, but I am certain for the time now I will use the dance pad.


I hooked my arduino up to the Dance Master pad today and was able to get some readings from the counter. I also realized that i would be unable to use the serial monitor to accurately count how many people I have stepping on it. After brainstorming with Dave a little bit, we came up with the idea of using leds to count how many people had been walking across it each day. To do this I will need to use a strategy of hooking up LEDS called multiplexing. Multiplex is defined from dictionary.com as "A system or signal involving simultaneous transmission of several messages along a single channel of communication.” By doing this I will be able to connect three LED projectors to my Arduino with minimum conflict
Here is brief tutorial



This another more in depth video with some added resources that could help me.

Here is the link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ne4Wv1kUP8w

and here is a link to the website, which has the code and schematics: http://www.kevindarrah.com/?page_id=1352

I do not own any of this, it was all done by Kevin Darrah, an electrical engineer


The Arduino Website is currently down, but I was planning on using it to figure out a better way to hook it up. Multiplexing is going to require an outside driver and I have decide that I do not want to use that.


This a modified code, I believe that it will work for the prototype and possibly the main experiment as well, it can be found in my code journal.


I did some measurements on the doors the I was planning on using at school, the Main Hall, the Commons and the Library. I have gotten the measurements for these, but found that the Main Hall is too small to have a box in front of it. The height of it is .5inches from the ground. The Commons and Library are 2.5 and 2.0 inches respectively. This is an issue for where I will place my boxes. They are too big to fit near the doors like I originally planned, so perhaps I will place the boxes on main pathways around campus.


I have finally completed a prototype code that works for what I want. The only issue that It has is that it will count as long as pressure is on it instead of resetting every time. This problem is a minor bug but I am glad to finally have a working code. This weekend I plan on machining the pieces for a planter box, and I will build it on the same day. My goal is to have a box ready to be tested on by Monday. As In my previous post the Main Hall is too small to use, so perhaps I will use a classroom or major pathway instead. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gzhWZGgh1YNyQt3KAFrIgeVtUFR3yz4phjHWdmD0PBM/edit

March 2

Today I fabricated a box with the help of my dad. They are four strips of wood nailed together. The dimensions are roughly 4ft by 6ft by 2.5in. I am using them to keep the dirt from spreading out too far. I realized that it will be a potential tripping hazard if I put this near doorways. So my new idea is to place them on widely used paths with brightly colored signs to show people that it is ok to step on them.

Here are some Pictures of my

March 5th

I got my code to work with the pressure pad, and have been attempting to make it work with grass on top of it. This has been very difficult because I quickly realized that if I have only one sensor active, it will only read a small piece of how many people are walking on it.

Some ideas I have for fixing this issue are as follows:

Hooking up more than one sensor

Creating a way that redirects all the weight to the pressure sensor

March 8-11th

I was working on my poster for most of the weekend.

March 12th

Today I tried to initialize my code, but met great adversity. I am trying to get my code back to working order, but it is a struggle. I have tried to upload that same code many times, however it is refusing to work. I tried to reconfigure all of my systems but it is not working.

March 13th

I am still working on the codes and since I do not have class until tomorrow I am going to wait and work with Dave tomorrow.

March 14th

Today after sitting down with Dave, I realized that my wires were not configured correctly. I rewired it and it work to perfection. I also attempt to address the issue with not triggering when it is stepped in all but a small area. I hooked up three different sensors, however; it is not effective because of how sensitive it is. I am going to have to work on some different approaches for this. I will be planting my first box at home to try and figure out some other way to do this.


March 27

I am calling Nathan Humphreys to talk about placing grasses around campus

March 28

I have designed a very rough container for the arduino. I made it out of styrofoam. The styrofoam is waterproof but very brittle. The other problem that I have with the material is that it does not cut very cleanly.

Length: 14cm

Width: 12cm

Height: 4cm

Other ideas: Using tupperware which is more durable.

March 30

I have adjusted the brightness on the LED display to try and preserve the battery. I think that this will work significantly better than having it at full brightness. During spring break I have been putting the mat out with grass in front of my door to work out some kinks.

April 8

Today I talked to Nathan Humphreys today. he approved of me putting a mat out and even gave me some advice on where to place it so it does not get destroyed by the traffic that it is seeing. He suggested that I place it out along the path to the Science building at Athenian. I also called a Sod dealer in martinez called the Sod Shop (Phone # (925) 370-0303). They did not have Paspalum, but they did carry Kentucky Bluegrass and Bermuda Grass. I am planning on placing a mat out on the Grass Wednesday to get it as much time out so that I can work out kinks. Tomorrow I will be sending out an email to the entire school and explain to them exactly what I am doing and what I need from them.

I am planning on using a Mellow Rye combination from the Sod Shop. This contains roughly 80% Kentucky Bluegrass and 20% Perennial Rye. According to this source it is much more resistant than solid Kentucky Bluegrass. The price per square foot is $0.29

the above photo is an example of what the grass will look like. I will be purchasing this as soon as I have all of my equipment setup so that I can deploy it as soon as possible.

April 11th

Today I put out my first pad and it worked pretty well. I am leaving it on overnight to test the battery life of it. I will put pictures of it into tomorrow entry

April 12th

The battery was dead when i arrived to school today. I am replacing the battery and conducting the test again.

When I was finished with class today, I realized that the batteries were once again dead. So instead of wasting more batteries I am going to use a voltmeter to see how many Miliamps are being pulled.
The Arduino Microprocessor is pulling 50 Miliamps per hour on batteries that are rated fro 536 Miliamps. These batteries are dying in about ten hours. So i now need to find a reliable source of power for the Arduino. One option it tie in more batteries. This does not solve my problem as the unit will still be burning through batteries. Another option is to plug the system into a wall. This would solve the life issue, however it would severely restrict the locations that my pads can be in. The final thought that I had was to have them mobile. This would be me moving them to traffic areas for short amounts of time and keeping them off when not being placed. This is idea would completely destroy the accuracy of the project.

Here is an image of the system in commons

April 13th

I have decided to tweak my project. I  was thinking about removing the grass aspect and attempt to create a more effective system of counting how many people pass through doors in one day. This would be beneficial for stores trying to count how many people are coming inside and for concerts/stadiums trying to get a more accurate count of how many people are attending events. This would be a different solution to the standard turnstiles. I could already use the one system that I have in place right now, and also develop some others. I was thinking about using a clicker as well. It would click whenever the door is opened. One issue with this is that it will not be able to record how many people are coming in at a time

April 16th

Most people just step over the mat, so I need to figure out a way to hide it more effectively. I have hidden it under the mat entry for the commons and i will see how people react to that.

April 17th-30th

I have been working on secondary piece of the project. It uses a similar principle to Andrew Macbeth’s laser harp project from earlier this semester. My goal is to determine which concept is more useful and more accurate.

I have had to rebuild my original project multiple times because people are destroying it.
I am leaving it inactive until I measure it. I plan on measuring it once my secondary piece is ready so that I can get the most accurate reading that I possibly can.

The laser trip will be ready to deploy in the next 2 days. The only thing that I need to build is a mount for it. I have some preliminary ideas for how to do it.

the problem with the LED doesnt seem to lie with the wires but with the Pin. 8 seems to be broken

Here is the final poster for the makers faire.