a "black box" project in electronics and programming  
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The Idea...

Started in the Spring of 2007. The Telescope Array cosmic ray research project was launching construction of their new project outside of Delta, Utah. As an outreach effort, scientists and ASPIRE staff brainstormed a way that TA could provide outreach to the community, K-12 students and teachers and provide a project with lots of 'bang for the buck.'

Teaching highschool students electronics and programming

This was the initial goal established by the scientists. If we could provide a black box experiment, we could offer a skill that is quickly being lost with the advent of cheap electronics; both at the consumer level and particularly in higher education. We could start with an easily accessible bread board project to teach students the basics of creating electronic devices.

Create a display

The students working on this breadboard project could then create an LED display which they could program with real data from the TA experiment. This LED display would be overlaid with a map and each LED would represent 1 scintillator detector of the surface array.

Public education and outreach

Creating this display would allow the students a rich opportunity to learn valuable skills in electronics and programming, but would also require a basic understanding of cosmic ray research and how this information should interface with the LED display. The resulting 'map' would then serve as an educational piece that could inform the public about the TA experiment.


 Breadboard Powerpoint


Link to Sample Program 1


Link to Sample Program 2


Link to Sample Program 3

We used WinAVR and PonyProg to create our program and to interface with the breadboard. Any questions should be directed to Charlie Jui.