Author Archive

Hardest Part

Posted in 10. Build the Hardest Part on December 13, 2009 by aobeidah

At the very beginning i thought programming the accelerometer is the hardest part. However, after I took a look at this website:

the task became very easy. What actually turned to be the hardest part is mounting the electronics to the pillbox. Specifically, making the boxes covers act like switches especially that they have ting edges. So I tried:

1. Wires: did not work well because of tiny space and attaching them with a hot gun is just a pain.

2. Conductive paint: worked perfectly but after many trials, the paint start to take off from the box and that is absolutely not the desired result.

3. Finally, I have asked and done some research: CONDUCTIVE FABRIC solved my problems easily. they stick very hard to the box and stay after long number of trials of opening and closing the covers. Also, they are very flexible and can be easily mounted to the box. Moreover, you can shape them the way you want and their conductivity is high.

The Pillbox after mounting the conductive fabric


Interactive Pillbox – Plan

Posted in 9. Project Proposals on December 13, 2009 by aobeidah

The Goal

The goal is to build an interactive pillbox system which can be used as a notification system by the caregivers. Specifically, the idea is to enable caregivers to notify their patients that they have to take the medication for a specific day. To achieve this, the caregiver will send the pillbox an email instructing it to light an LED that corresponds to a certain day that they want their patients to take the medication for. Also, the pillbox must be able to send and email back to caregivers when the patient open a certain box. Finally, the pillbox needs to ad some interaction information such as whether the patient has flipped the pillbox to take their medication or not.

In order to do this, I will need to implement a Java Email server that is able to monitor incoming and outgoing e-mails. Also, I need to mount some electronic components to the actual pillbox in order to make the boxes covers act like switches. Moreover, I will need to add an accelerometer to the whole package in order to capture the flipping effect.

Plan and Timeline:

Week 1:

–       Buy the materials and tools

Week 2:

–       Starting programming the e-mail monitor program and email receiver

–       Build a test bed prototype. This includes a breadboard with a pushbutton connected in a pull-up resistor circuit. The purpose is to test the email monitor and sender programs

Week 3:

–       Start the programming on the Arduino board side and specifically test the wireless communication

–       Program the accelerometer and test it

–       Build the interactive pillbox system

Week 4:

–       Perform test cases on the pillbox and make sure its work (Take screenshots while you are building the box for documentation)

–       Start writing the documentation

Final Project — All in One – The Full Package

Posted in 11. Project Final Reports on December 13, 2009 by aobeidah

A decline in the functional abilities of elderly is a sign of decline in their cognitive abilities. Therefore, one can use sensing systems that are embedded in the elderly homes to monitor their behavior. These systems can help collect valuable data that can be used by doctors to enhance their diagnoses. Therefore, I have built an Interactive Pillbox which isa visual notification system for patients to take their medication. Specifically, it is targeted toward patients who are assigned a caregiver that needs to continuously keep track of them and remind them about their medication. The idea is to give the caregiver an accessible way to communicate directly with the pillbox by sending it e-mail. Once the email is received, the pillbox will turn on the LED that corresponds to the day specified in the received email. The LED will turn off if and only if the patient opened the box. Once the box is opened, the pillbox will send e-mail back to the caregiver notifying him/her that the medication has been taken. Also, I have connected an accelerometer to the box so it can detect if the patients flips it to take the medication. This is important because one of the goals of such systems is to study the interaction of the patients with the pillbox. Understanding such behaviors will help in designing better and more adaptive pillboxes.


– Final Report:

Interactive Pillbox System: Interactive_Pillbox_System

– Datasheets and Breakouts:

1. XBee Module: XBee-Datasheet

2. XBee Explorer: XBee-Explorer

3. LIS302DL Accelerometer Breakout:LIS302DL-Breakout

4. LIS302DL Accelerometer DataSheet: LIS302DL Datasheet

– Circuits:

1. Interactive Pillbox Circuit:Interactive Pillbox Circuit

2. Accelerometer Circuit: Accelerometer Circuit

– Code:

1. Arduino Code (Sketch): Interactive Pillbox (*.pde) file

2. Java Mail Server:

NOTE: In order to run the code you will need to set your own configurations  for the mail server

(See the code documentation for more details) you will be communicating with i.e. Gmail, Hotmail, etc.

–> Source Files:

a. CareGiverUI: Give the ability to reset the application(a GUI with Reset Button)

b. MailSend: The Functionality of sending email through your mail service provider

c. MMThread: A Thread that monitors the incoming emails

d. ArduinoComThread: Notifies the Arduino Mega board when an email from caregiver has been received

–> Dependancies and Libraries:

Below is a picture of all the libraries you will need for the Java Mail Server:

Overall you will need: Java Mail Jar File (From,  Processing Libraries (From, and Arduino Library (From

Feelings Mill

Posted in 8. Finite State Machines on October 24, 2009 by aobeidah

This program is a simple demonstration of three states finite state machine (FSM). It has three states:
1. SAD: When IR sensor reading is >= 3
2. HAPPY: When IR sensor reading is < 3
3. ANGRY: When Light Sensor reading is < 70

It also turns on and off LEDs accordingly. i.e. Happy –> Green LED is High,       Sad   –> Blue LED is High, and Angry –> Red LED is High. The states are represented by faces that show the feelings. Those faces are controlled via a servo motor attached on digital pin (8)

Click Here To View The Arduino Sketch For Feelings Mill.

Faces Automata

Posted in 7. A Mechanical Automaton, Uncategorized on October 17, 2009 by aobeidah

This is a very simple automata where faces go up and down. The idea is to represent the Crank movement. The automata is built using cartons, wooden sticks, paper, and aluminum foil. Below are some pictures taken when I was building it:

The following video shows the final output:

Rotating Eyes

Posted in Uncategorized on October 11, 2009 by aobeidah

This is a very simple demonstration of using a servo motor to rotate two eyes. An eye is made of a pin-pong ball with a led attached to it. The idea is very simple, the servo rotates and when it reaches 180 degrees the eyes will blink, then the servo goes back into the other direction.

Note: This project is just to get myself familiar with the servo motors and arduino 😉

Click Here for the arduino sketch


Posted in 5. Treasure Hunt on October 4, 2009 by aobeidah

Bend / flex sensor || ($9.95)
Fabric/stretch sensor || (Make it yourself)

Electroluminescent “wire” (EL-wire) || ($0.98)

Alcohol sensor || ($3.96)

Solenoid ($0.99)

Linear actuator ($3.49)

Fiber optic cable ($0.68)

Tiny potentiometer($0.95)

Conductive fabric ($15.00)

Thermochromic paint/dye ($18)

Nitinol / shape memory alloy wire ($2.50 per ft)

Conductive paint (4 pieces and more = $17.14)

Neodymium magnets($3.98)

Copper tape / copper foil ($1)

Tilt sensor ($0.95)

Peltier Junction ($11.96)

Coolest Arduino: