Noob here..wanting to build a lava-type-lamp.

I took some programming classes in High school and college, but don't remember much now being 28...

So in college I just paid a guy $500 to design me a circuit board to make a solar powered wrist light that can also charge a phone.

Now I have an idea to build a special sustainable lamp that has a vase with chemicals above, and after reading about arduino think I can do it myself. Only problem is I have no idea about what parts I would need...or where to learn about all the different parts...etc..perhaps I should still hire a mechanical engineer but that would be after I have developed a prototype and perhaps get funding..so I still need a base arduino board to show my special lamp works to eventually get funded to mass produce it..

I was going to just buy the arduino starterkit and take it from there to learn, but they are all out of stock.

So I need some help...

Questions

  1. If I buy a wifi arduino shield, is that like the main board but with a wifi added to it, or would I also need to buy a regular arduino board? I should probably just get the regular arduino board and a BLE shield, because I don't think I want it to be a smart house object just yet, due to the easy hackability and it will just be a prototype...

  2. My lamp will be like a lava lamp, and have some science involved... with a fan, a light, an airpump, and fluctuating chemical levels in the vase above, but this can be monitored with a sensor ..but I did notice sensor kits here, but should I just specifically research all the parts I need (probably again hire an engineer who knows parts) to test it on arduino or just go out and hire the engineer anyways, since I do not know about calculating power required for operating the arduino and if I would need a heat source(to maintain the vase above at a specific temperature) will effect the arduino board itself or operating life over at least a year or how long..

  3. Would I even really need a mechanical engineer if this really can all be accomplished with arduino, then I could just look for say a partner still in school for engineering who knows sensors and programming, etc?

Feel free to message me at thegreenspan@gmail.com if you want, or add me to fb/twitter/linkedin/etc:
http://about.me/alanjgreenspan

  1. If I buy a wifi arduino shield, is that like the main board but with a wifi added to it

A shield is an add-on. You add it on to your existing Arduino.

but this can be monitored with a sensor

I don't believe I've ever seen a "just like a lava lamp sensor". You need to come back down to earth, and explain just exactly what you think you will be sensing with this "just like a lava lamp sensor".

Ok it's a sensor to detect nitrogen and iron and other nutrients in the water, temperature of the water, and density of algae that will be growing in the water. I am making an algae lamp. It is very 'down to earth'.

Reason I asked about the shield was because the arduino wifi shield has a usb input...which doesn't explain why it has it.

Reason I asked about the shield was because the arduino wifi shield has a usb input...which doesn't explain why it has it.

Mini-USB for updating WiFi shield firmware

Ok it's a sensor to detect nitrogen and iron and other nutrients in the water, temperature of the water, and density of algae that will be growing in the water.

So, you have chosen a sensor. I'm missing, then, what it is you need help with.