Digi-Cart 1.0

Experiment 3 – Katlin Walsh

Project Description 

While interactive media content displayed within galleries has been updated within the last 5-10 years, presentation formats for tradeshows have not. Digi-Cart brings an adaptive presentation style to the classic concept of a tool cart. Robust building materials and pegboard construction allows corporations to adapt their layout and presentation style to reflect their current corporate event. 

Digi-Cart features a basic controller layout which can be overlayed with a company’s vinyl poster cutout to create an interactive presentation that can be facilitated by an expert or self guided. Corporations are encouraged to update their digital materials & create animated graphics to capture audience attention.  

Project Context

The FIRST Robotics Competition is a competitive high school robotics tournament in which students from grades 9-12 build 150 pound robots in just six weeks. Each year, students compete in team building exercises, perform community service tasks, and work with industry partners in their area. While the students promote themselves, they are constantly performing business pitches to multiple industries of various experience levels. While many engineering challenges focus solely on the creation of a technical project, FIRST encourages teams of students to explore philanthropy, volunteerism, business relations, and media production. 


With such a range of required expertise, many people compare having a FIRST Robotics Competition team as running a small business. Like any business, team members must make pitches to potential clients (in the form of judges at competitions), and sponsors (in the form of industry mentors and partners). To fill this need, each year students create multiple powerpoint presentations with 100-200 page manuals that they use to speak with individuals who they are pitching to. 


With such outdated and unappealing visual resources, outside interest in robotics teams has been declining, resulting in a lower competitive performance and sponsorship donations year over year within the GTA. Digi-Cart aims to create an adaptable presentation system for multiple potential audiences. While able to be applied to many small business or trade show contexts, the first iteration of Digi-Cart has been created closely with FIRST Robotics Competition team 1374, Amped Up Robotics.

About FRC Team 1374 – Amped Up!

As a major partner on the project, 1374 asked for the following criteria to be met in the production of the cart:

  • Incorporate existing team brand standards
    • Colours: Purple, Black, and White
    • Fonts: Raider Crusader & Another Danger
  • Be adaptable, low cost, and robust
    • Able to frequently travel to pitch locations via coach bus or trailer
    • Able to store tools, or media materials depending on pitch context
    • Able to update presentation content within 5-10 minutes without aid
    • Utilize existing resources from the team
      • Donated laptop cart
      • Purchased spray paint & pegboard

The produced resource is able to replace existing resources from the team’s website, and utilizes an up to date sponsorship presentation created as an example pitch.



Review full code on Github

The code created used Kate & Nicks example for sending values from Arduino to Processing as a basis for the framework. Instead of sending a single pin readout, the code was adapted to send readouts for 9 pins (pin 2-10), with additional variables to define each pin’s identity (1-6, next, back, home) on the controller board.

More changes were made to the processing code in order to display the images like a powerpoint presentation. After utilizing Kate & Nick’s class example to read the data being sent from Arduino into Processing, original code was created to develop a hierarchy of folders to be read. Images were manually named according to this hierarchy, and variables to catch if the next or back button was pressed were added. Should the user touch the back button, the numbering system of the image steps back one, with the opposite happening for the next button.


The circuit was completed by soldering a grounding wire to a circular piece of metal which completes the circuit when touching a bolt. This homemade switch allowed the robotics team to stick to a theme of engineering and innovation. Each bolt was connected to an individual resistor, which was soldered and attached to a different pin heading on the arduino.  In total, 9 buttons were created, with identical wiring for each button and a single grounding wire.

Work in Progress II: Circuit being test fit on pegboard with soldered wires.


A 10 year old media cart was donated by 1374 for this project. In order to prep the cart, it was grinded with a palm sander, then all dust was wiped down to prep for spray painting. 3 coats of purple spray paint were applied in addition to a coat of transparent finishing.

After the spray paint had set on the cart, pegboard pieces were cut and painted light purple with chalk paint. In order to ensure adaptability, the pegboard was zip tied onto the sides of the cart so that the team could detach the walls of the cart if needed at a later date.

Next, two clothes hangers were purchased from amazon, and painted purple to match the metal cart. Once mounting the pieces to the wall, a 2×2’ whiteboard was attached to both hangers, forming the foundation for the circuit to rest on. Finally, holes were drilled into the whiteboard at set points, and bolts were threaded through the board to form makeshift buttons for the cart’s controller.

Once hooking up the circuit, labels were written on with a whiteboard marker in accordance to the images that were uploaded to the arduino code.

Work in Progress: CAD created to generate dimensions for the pegboard.
Work in Progress III: CAD created to generate dimensions for the pegboard.
Work in Progress IV: Pegboard and hangars being painted and drying after test fit.
Work in Progress V: Cart being stripped of paint after donation from 1374
Completed Project I: Fit of monitor for demonstration purposes with cart painted.


Completed Project II: Sample presentation where cart was tested cart not pictured.

Next Steps

Moving forward in the project, the following adaptations will be made:

  1. Technical requirements
    1. Additional wiring diagrams and student training on updating resources
    2. Desolder circuit to create ‘plug and play’ board
    3. Create a more compact button system such as capacitive paint with adaptable labels
    4. Update fastening systems for angled bracket & pegboard
  2. Visual Requirements
    1. Add more brand identification such as logo
    2. Remove next & back buttons to eliminate confusion
  3. Nice to haves
    1. Look into battery operated options for on the go presentations
    2. Create additional board templates with different button configurations

Moving into subsequent experiments, these steps will be taken as a guide for further progress. Additionally, a minimum of 2 1 hour meetings will be conducted in consultation with the team in question so as to maintain feedback on project effectiveness.

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