Final Work Post

The Light Tower has successfully created a working persistence of vision prototype. We are eager to keep improving the system although we were to display an image of a spartan helmet as shown in the attachment. With the semester wrapping down to an end the team is focused on documentation and reporting of our work. We are proud of the work done both on the drone concept as well as the persistence of vision prototype. Unfortunately, rules for the San Jose Light Tower Corporation Ideas Competition have not been released the experience of this project and time to consider further concepts has us excited to make a formal submission to the competition.

Senior Spotlight

Hello everyone,

My name is Sun Garcia and I am a senior mechanical engineering student graduating this semester! My role switched from drone technical lead to more of a mechatronic support for our new Persistence of vision project.

I was born in San Diego California and lived there for 11 years. My family then moved to Los Angeles and I lived there for 10 years before moving up to San Jose in 2016 to attend SJSU. My hobbies include dancing Latin music, singing, playing the piano, and practicing soccer. My favorite class is automatic control systems because it incorporates material from various classes that I can use to control the output of a system.

I decided to join EPICS because I have always wanted my work to positively impact the community. It motivates me to know that even as students we can make a positive impact on the lives of so many people.

My future plans are to attend the Aerospace Graduate program at SJSU to learn more about Control Systems. While I pursue my master’s I also want to start a small startup company to get my foot in the door of the entrepreneur world. After finishing the graduate program, I would like to work in industry for roughly 10 or 15 years. Afterwards, I would like to go back to community college to teach as a professor while at the same time encouraging kids K-12 to pursue a degree in STEM.

Hello, my name is Christopher Kennedy and I am a graduating mechanical engineering student. I have been acting as the project manager for the Light Tower team.

I grew up in Tracy, CA since birth and attended Delta College in Stockton, CA before transferring to SJSU in Fall 2017. While at Delta College, I was on the water polo and swimming team and have always been a huge sports fanatic.

I originally joined EPICS as a junior as I was allowed to use the program to satisfy a graduation requirement, and enjoyed the program and came back for my senior project. I was greatly attracted to the aspect of working with an organization outside the school to further developing soft skills as well as access to the makerspace giving us a workshop to use.

Although I will be taking a few months break from engineering, I plan to start the job hunt later this year. I would like to pursue power generation, specifically with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. I have looked into graduate school, yet would like to get more experience under my belt and enjoy a hiatus from school in the meantime.

April 14th Update

On Monday the 8th, the team had our motor and spinning member mounted with lights, however the 3D printed shaft was simply too weak and broke off. We experienced more vibration than expected and have elected to make new rotating members out of an aluminum shaft. In the past week this was accomplished and we are currently ready to test again this Monday, fully mounted.

In our short lived test of our code, we were able to see some expected results. The code we were running would display just the letter ‘E’ at full speed and we began to see this develop before the rotating piece broke. With the lights attached to just the new aluminum shaft similar resemblance of success were seen.

The team is looking forward to testing the new rotating members further and to be able to demo our final prototype, more to come soon.

March 26 Update

Over the previous weeks the light tower team has been putting together designs for our persistence of vision design. This prototype design is rather simple, yet we hope to have a well done display by the end of this. Early in the design process the team was struggling to find components such as a motor, slip ring, and mounting set up for our purpose, however that has changed.


The team has been able to borrow from within the department, a easily programmable servo motor perfect for our application, that in early testing has proven as such. With a close deadline, we have resorted to using 3D printing to solve our mounting issues and for our spinning members. We chose to use high density LED light strips as opposed to soldering our own board of LEDs, and are close to having our code ready for a full assembly test.


In other news, our community partner, San Jose Light Tower Corporation, has recently received site approval from San Jose city council. Through a site survey conducted by an outside company, they determined that Arena Green next to the SAP Arena was an ideal location. Approval last week was two-fold, approving both Arena Green as the site for future development and that they may go forward with a world wide ideas competition. This competition will be the means to find a concept and design of the tower, this team will be submitting into the ideas competition once it is opened.  

March 3rd Update

With pivoting to a new concept in recent weeks the team has had to make up ground in research and part selection. One of the primary components needed for this project to succeed is the motor to rotate the lights. The lights must be fast enough to fool the human eye into blurring multiple small images together, however finding a motor to reach this speed while being small enough for easy mounting and strong enough is a challenge. A few motors are being tested, with as many contingencies in store as possible.

Without a full physical hardware setup, writing a program to control the lights and interface with appropriate sensors is difficult. Schematics of the logic are being put together however to keep progressing the software side while the hardware side is being finished. Lead times for parts other than the motor may also keep this project held up, so we are designing parts to be 3D printed to help rapid prototyping and avoid long lead times on custom parts from being a hold up.