I believe that the face we produced was very impressive considering our constraints. Our decision to go with an LCD screen and not a simple dot matrix is a testament to our team’s ambition, although we may have been too ambitious! Early on, while the other groups could focus on getting up some steam on their projects, the face team had to sit back and search for solutions for the face which eventually resulted in the Nextion. By the time we received the Nextion display, we were weeks behind the other groups.
When we did get going, we found a lot of limitations with the Nextion as it is designed more as a machine interface and less as an LCD screen. Nevertheless we got through these limitations and found a way to have the Nextion respond to xy coordinates.
The next problem we faced was that there were no libraries on the Mbed developer site for Nextion but there was for Arduino. So we had to get the Arduino to talk to the Mbed, which isn’t a big task. The problem lay in implementing an RTOS on Arduino, which it is not really designed for. It is however the first time we put an RTOS on an Arduino which is pretty cool.
By the time we could get messages from the Mbed RTOS through the Arduino RTOS to the Nextion display we were pretty much out of time and had little time to work on the face itself.
I know it sounds like I’m doing an aweful lot of complaining in this reflection, but I think it’s a testament to our teams resilience to work our way through all these issues (and more!) and still come out smiling on the other side.
Hopefully for next year’s lamp, the future face team can work on the foundations we put in place and get an awesome face working on the Nextion display, or make the critical decision to go back to the drawing board and try a different solution for the face.
I must also salute the vision and motor teams for an awesome job they both did. Between the mind boggling openCV code to the complex 3D printed parts, I believe we had the most sophisticated lamp yet!
I am very happy with the team I was with for the face. There was great cohesion in the team and there was good chemistry between all of us. Nobody shied away from any task given to them and we could all integrate each other’s work easily. We always had a good laugh with each other which is important but we always took the project seriously at the same time.
I learned a lot about myself over the past 12 weeks when it comes to project work. I feel like a good strength I have is that I can get along with most people I work with which is a good trait to have. I especially got along great with the face team! A weakness of mine however, is that I’m extremely lazy when it comes to documentation. You can’t see me but writing this blog is really taking it out of me J.
It's been an honour and a privilege to work with such a fantastic group of engineers.