David Margolin, VideoWAN
Job Creation Thru Electronics Self-Manufacture/Education
- The TouchHeart Project uses human hand-assembly vs. machine automated assembly.
- The TouchHeart Project bottom line is not maximizing profit-margin, but enough profit to create and maintain jobs with a reasonable income.
- The TouchHeart Project creates a door into electronics, allowing for education with a path towards higher skills, knowledge and independence.
- Most cost-effective and inexpensive set of equipment possible for professional electronic hand-assembly
- Low environmental impact hand-assembly electronics vs. mass-manufacturing environmentally polluting electronics
- Most cost-effective and inexpensive set of equipment possible for professional solderless breadboarding of electronic circuits
TouchHeart Training Program Details
The TouchHeart Training Program divides into practical electronic assembly skills and electronics education.
Introduction of practical skills allows immediate immersion into producing tangible, working things, bypassing any anxiety about learning or the ability to learn, making that secondary and building confidence in the ability to succeed, while building interest in learning what was done.
A division is created between soldering/assembly skills and the use of solderless breadboards primarily for education.
The following is a description of steps in a complete training program with increasing levels of complexity:
1. Solderless Breadboards with Pre-Cut Wires
- Allows those with zero skills to plug parts in and push in wires to connect the parts, following simple step-by-step diagrams. The result is a functional circuit that works. It's also possible to have two breadboards, one already wired and a second empty one with parts to be plugged in, copying the assembled breadboard. Assembled TouchHeart LEDs or Light-Emitting-Diodes on a finished printed circuit board with pins, or a header, plugs into the solderless breadboard. Only batteries are used, 4 AA, 4AAA, 3AA, 3AAA or 9V with battery holders.
2. Solderless Breadboards with Uncut Wires and Wire Stripper
- Introduction into the use of tools with the development of basic hand-skills, requiring wire stripping/cutting to place wires into the solderless breadboard. The use of multi-conductor telephone wire, wire cutter and pliers.
3. Basic Electronics Education
- Introduction to the actual TouchHeart circuit, covering oscillators or clocks, decade counters, LEDs, resistors, capacitors, and power switching MOSFET transistors. Explanation of the touch effect on oscillator resistors and finger moistness to change the frequency/effects of the TouchHearts. Explanation of the connection between finger moistness and stress. The use of variable resistors to change the range of effects for the TouchHeart. Optional introduction to basic electronic measurements with analog or digital meters.
4. Parts Placement of TouchHeart Parts into Printed Circuit Boards, PCBs
- With a complete set of assembly tools and TouchHeart parts including printed circuit boards available, hand-placement of the parts into the PCBs, bending wires to secure parts with pliers and cutting the parts with shears to prepare the printed circuit board or PCB for soldering. Extensive practice on the use of pliers, shears and safety requirements including the use of protective glasses at all times. Use of a pre-assembled finished TouchHeart as an example to be followed for parts placement. Explanation of plated-thru holes, double-sided PCB specifications.
5. Soldering TouchHearts
- The safe use of soldering irons together with fans to pull away solder fumes and the requirement to use safety goggles at all times. The cleaning of stripped wires with pliers and the creation of solder beads on wire as practice in joining parts. The correct duration and force of contact between soldering iron and parts. Cleaning soldering tips while working and plating the tip. The use of solder on a core to place solder next to parts on a PCB and the use of solder held with fingers. The correct technique for holding the PCB in the hand while soldering. The correct technique for cutting soldered parts with shears. Optional desoldering techniques using desoldering pumps and solder wick.
6. Hand Prototyping with TouchHearts
- The use of protoboards to place parts and hand-wire/solder parts, interconnecting them with 24 guage solid telephone wire. Creating wire loops around integrated circuit pins and securing them. Routing wires and placing them to secure parts.
7. Surface Mount Device, SMD, TouchHearts
- Assembly/soldering of SMD microelectronic parts for TouchHeart designs. SMD LEDs, resistors, capacitors, digital chips. Work with jewelry designers to integrate microelectronic TouchHearts into jewelry.
8. Introduction to Advanced Electronics
- The use of a variety of digital and analog parts including BCD-7 Segment displays for counters, binary ripple-counter frequency dividers, analog design with transistors/op amps. Reading advanced schematics.
9. Creating New Designs
- Taking all the previous skills and combining various circuits from books and the Internet to create new and original designs.
10. Designing Printed Circuit Boards
- The use of free software to design and order printed circuit boards to manufacture original designs/products.
VideoWAN, or David Margolin has started the TouchHeart Program for electronics manufacture/education training, using the TouchHeart toy as the vehicle. The TouchHeart contains 10 LEDs
or Light-Emitting-Diodes formed as a heart, creating wild light patterns thru the touch of one's finger across an oscillator resistor. The circuit is unique and demonstrates the heart of every computer, the clock. The circuit design is being donated for free as well as a complete list of parts/suppliers which anyone can access. Manufacture of the TouchHeart requires a printed circuit board, PCB, which will also be available for cost.
A network of distribution for sales will also be created closing the manufacture/sales circle. VideoWAN will act to develop very extensive free video training material and conduct live online and person-to-person training. Training core groups of people will enable them to spread the knowledge to others and form a widening network. I'm reaching out to businesspeople/businesses in different places in the U.S./Internationally to sponsor the program locally and develop jobs. It's my intention to create a non-profit company to develop jobs and freely give my designs to create manufactured products and jobs.
The TouchHeart Program can be used for education with solderless breadboards that plug-in parts without manufacture or soldering and introduced into schools as part of the curriculum, having the potential to spark interest in engineering, developing much needed engineers. A solderless breadboard, wire-stripper, wire and parts for a TouchHeart for one person are approximately $20. The lights or LEDs for the TouchHeart come on a printed circuit board that plugs into the solderless breadboard with the TouchHeart electronics, no soldering necessary.
The TouchHeart Program covers all the steps involved in basic, practical electronics from wire-stripping all the way to the most advanced level of hand-wired prototypes.Hand-wired prototypes will enable people to copy and combine circuits, making their own designs for whatever they want. The program also gives a basic knowledge of circuit analog/digital circuit design, like resistor color codes, digital gates/counters, and the use of digital multimeters to measure voltage/current.
The mathematics of the TouchHeart are simple. Parts cost is under $5. Approximately 4 TouchHearts can be assembled/soldered in 1 hour at a slow pace. TouchHearts will wholesale for $10 and retail for $15-$20. A living wage is possible yielding $20/hr. for the self-manufacturer.
The basic tools/equipment for self-manufacture, including handtools, soldering iron/solder, fan, etc. cost approximately $70 per person. A detailed list of all parts and suppliers is provided as a PDF link.
People can receive training one-on-one or in small groups of up to 5 people, 2-3 being ideal. Training is by example. The trainer goes thru the steps of the process, wire stripping or soldering and the students copy what they've seen. The trainer watches what they do on an individual basis and corrects them, repeating the process until it's correct. People with more aptitude can help others in the process and eventually everyone who has been trained will become trainers, spreading the base of self-manufacturers or educators using just solderless breadboards. It is possible to do interactive training remotely using Skype. Remote training is best done by concentrating on several people who have the aptitude or experience and make them the training core for their area.
Although there might be different approaches to the techniques of soldering and assembly, it's important to have a consistent method to ensure the highest level of quality. Only work done at the highest level of quality can be sold. It's also important that safety procedures are followed completely, such as the use of safety goggles and the correct technique for using soldering irons.
Developing an attitude where each individual rejects works not done correctly will develop in them a high level of self-respect and dignity. Being able to take their skill and train others will only amplify this. This training is only a door into electronics that can lead to an endless path of deeper education and skill. The highest level is hand-prototyping, where the individual can take a circuit diagram from a book or the Internet and combine it with other circuits to make their own creations and possibly sell them. The same level will enable them to design their own printed circuit boards and truly become one-person electronics companies or join with others to follow whatever interests they have.
There are almost an infinite number of variations of the basic TouchHeart design. Different color lights, different sized lights, formed as pendents, wrist worn designs, rings, different batteries, so far AAA 3-4 and 9V. The current design uses LEDs directly driven by the digital chips for simplicity. The next design will incorporate 10 transistors to boost the brightness to a much higher level, enable 3V operation, but add complexity and drain the batteries more. Higher levels of skill will allow the use of microelectronic parts, SMD or Surface-Mounted-Devices, allowing much smaller designs including rings.
Beyond the basic TouchHeart design will be the integration of the TouchHeart into jewelry using precious metals like silver and gold. The skills involved in hand-made jewelry and hand-made electronics are almost identical and it will be possible to mesh electronics self-manufacture people with jewelry people, creating a new class of highly valuable and highly profitable electronic jewelry.
The process for a sponsor is to provide the core equipment to an individual or a group of individuals and pay for the training on an hourly or weekly basis. It's also possible that individuals may pay for their own $70 electronic assembly equipment set. The sponsor would also pay for the parts, costing about $5 for each TouchHeart and a quantity of printed circuit boards for manufacture. Purchase of the parts in quantity would also reduce the cost. Hopefully the sponsor will be a business or businessperson with the experience to help develop the distribution channels for the TouchHearts and coordinate with the self-manufacturers in their local area.
The sponsor could also become the distribution channel or make some arrangement to purchase the TouchHearts, giving them as gifts and claiming a tax deduction in some non-profit, charitable framework. A computer company might be ideal as a sponsor since the skill set is very close and the TouchHeart uses digital computer chips. A business with a store or appropriate location could provide the space for the training classes and develop a closer interaction with their community. Community and religious centers could also be places for training. The self-manufacturers should be active in developing the sales channels in their area to develop business skills that eventually could lead to own electronics company.
Since the TouchHearts can be configured in so many different ways they can have many different uses. One very valuable use would be to allow someone to be seen walking or riding a bike at night. Another could be to identify some important object in the dark such as a light switch, gate key, steps, a doorbell. Packaging can be created to make the TouchHeart waterproof and just using the normal pulsing, without touching, the TouchHeart can run for weeks or even months with the right batteries. A major area for distribution could be a form of the TouchHeart integrated into retail POP or Point-Of-Purchase displays and scaled to almost any size as signs. Light sensors can be incorporated into the design to provide a form or automatic brightness control or interact with the touch feature of the TouchHeart in creating patterns. A microphone could act to create patterns interacting with music or sound.
Introduction of the TouchHeart into school curriculum can spread the skills and knowledge thruout the schools and hopefully create the spark in some students to pursue an engineering career, providing needed engineering talent. A practical electronics lab in a school could be similar to chemistry or biology labs but with a much lower cost and more immediate practical value since the students could create electronics they could sell, or the school could sell to create revenue for the school.