Now if there's anything I failed miserably at in school, it was science. Not so much chemistry, but most definitely Physics. Non-the-less, I accepted the challenge from the team at Creation Crate to build this mood lamp. In short, I am no better than my 15 year old self.
Creation Crate describes itself as 'tech education in a box' and it does exactly what it says on the tin. At first, my impression was that this box was geared more towards children, hence 'education' but at times I feel that we need educating the older we get and this is no exception. In fact, this box was quite the opposite to what I expected - difficult. Yet the challenge was stimulating and strangely engrossing. I'm not a competitive person, but when I get into something; I get into something. And at the points I found it the most difficult (the programming), it motivated me even more to finish.
The box comes with everything you need to set up the month's invention; this month was a Mood Lamp. There are two sides of this project; physical setup and system setup (programming). The physical part is actually quite fun to complete with a friend, it challenges teamwork and cooperation. It also encourages the understanding of physics; I found myself admiring how something we take for granted like a laptop, works. If something as basic as a lamp is so difficult to configure, I wondered how long it took to program a laptop.
The most challenging part was definitely the programming side. And it brought back haunting memories of the time I was delirious enough to enrol onto a programming course with MIT. The booklet clearly instructs what needs to be typed out to program the lamp, and if this is wrong, the system will tell you where it is wrong and the booklet will guide you to how to rectify this. However, if you still cannot repair the issue, you can easily find the correct code on the Creation Crate forum where other users will share their input into the month's box.
However, there was still an error that occurred with my mood lamp which resulted in the system failing. Other users had reported this also, and I am sure it was a system fault rather than code fault. Sadly, I was disappointed that my mood lamp didn't work, but the challenge itself I found rewarding enough.
I found this box incredibly insightful in terms of learning about technology and also about myself, and how I handle challenges unfamiliar to me. While the end result was not achieved, I still found the process enlightening and I came out of the project knowing a little bit more about programming (even though I supressed most of it after the MIT incident).
The box is $29.99 a month but the price decreases the more months you agree to subscribe for. Considering I had just bought a USB - Type A and Type B cable for £8, it works out more or less to be the right cost plus there's the added experience of building and learning about the mood lamp. Also, I found that the creation became a talking point in my apartment for any guests.