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2 Related Work

2.1 Tangible Prototyping Tools

Many tangible devices for prototyping have been developed, such as the Algoblock, a development of Suzuki and Kato [4]. Algoblock is a tangible programming language, an advanced research, aimed at collaboration and visualization. It is good for collaborative learning and programing but it is not aimed at prototyping a circuit.

There are tangible prototyping tools for electronics, such as react3D Electricity [5] and Denshi blocks [6]. react3D Electricity is a tangible [7] circuit simulator but users cannot use real electronic materials. A Denshi block is a physical block that contains an electronic component. Users can make a circuit with these blocks but it is difficult to add other electronic materials, which are not included in the Denshi block package.

Research has been done on visualization of power consumption such as Flo [8]. As a visualization tool, however, it does not target hobby electronics or DIY. It is a tool for monitoring electricity in the home.

While there has been significant advanced research on prototyping tools, there is no research on tangible prototyping tools using real electronic materials.

2.2 Position of Study

Here we show the position of this study in Table 1. This study focused on the user experience with real circuit, visualization of voltage, and circuit programability.

Table 1. Position of this study

3 Hardware Implementation

This section describes the composition of our system in 3.1. Following which we describe each modules by processing order.

3.1 Visible Breadboard System Prototype

The Visible Breadboard Prototype system is composed of two sub-systems. The first is a device that functions as a solderless breadboard. In this paper, we call this the Visible Breadboard Device. The second is the software for a personal computer. We call this the Visible Breadboard Software. We describe the Visible Breadboard Software in Software section 5.

3.2 Visible Breadboard Device

From a functional viewpoint, the Visible Breadboard Device is separated into four modules: sensor board with holes, solid state relay board, voltage sensing board, and full color LED board. The connections for each module are shown in Fig. 2. These four modules are assembled into three physical layers.

Fig. 2. System diagram and the connection for each four modules.(side view). Visible Breadboard device has the structure of three layers: Sensor board, LED board, and system board.

The Visible Breadboard Device is controlled by a single micro-controller (Arduino MEGA with ATMEGA 1280)

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