# Title Team Members TA Documents Sponsor
42 Automated Grain Quality Test Kit for Farmers in Developing Countries
Adam Long
Joan Brown
Kevin Villanueva
Luke Wendt design_document0.pdf
This project was pitched by the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and the Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

Problem: Small farmers in developing countries lack the ability to analyze the quality of their product. With the proper resources, they would be able to analytically show the quality their product and sell it at higher margins.

Solution: A low cost, portable Grain Measurement Quality (GMQ) Kit that would be able to automatically collect and wirelessly transmit testing data on corn quality via GSM to a Farmer Portal.

The kit will include measurements of: and method/sensor

Corn Temperature: thermistor

Corn Humidity: relative humidity sensor

Corn Color: RGB color sensor

Impurity of Sample: a two-level sieve to separate unwanted large non-kernel material such as husk remnants and stones and unwanted small material such as broken kernels.

The kit shall be portable and handle a sample size of appx. 100 kernels. Samples should be taken from each sack of corn with the data applied to each of their respective sacks. The kit will be powered by rechargeable batteries. The system will also include documentation for conducting the tests that are easy to follow for farmers in developing countries.

The kit is will be in the form of a briefcase. It will have an attached tablet, or low-cost alternative, to display and record the test data. There will be two distinct sections of the kit; the first will be used for temperature, humidity, and impurity measurements. The sample of appx. 100 kernels will be dumped into this section where they will pass layered sieves. A scale will be at the bottom of the leveled sieves, and the data will be recorded by the tablet via a wired connection. The sieves will then be removed by the user and new data points will be recorded to show the impurity of the sample. A thermistor and humidity sensor in the center of the remaining kernels will allow us to acquire the temperature and humidity of the corn. The second section will be adjacent to the first and focus on corn color. An RGB color sensor connected to the tablet will be used to acquire the color of an individual kernel placed on the covered sensor. All the data recorded will be compared to quality standards and the results given back to the user through the tablet.


Ensuring a low-cost solution

Ensuring a long battery life, as users will likely have limited access to electricity

Appropriate accuracy of measurements

Control System and User Interface for Hydraulic Bike

Iain Brearton

Featured Project

Parker-Hannifin, a fluid power systems company, hosts an annual competition for the design of a chainless bicycle. A MechSE senior design team of mechanical engineers have created a hydraulic circuit with electromechanical valves, but need a control system, user interface, and electrical power for their system. The user would be able to choose between several operating modes (fluid paths), listed at the end.

My solution to this problem is a custom-designed control system and user interface. Based on sensor feedback and user inputs, the system would change operating modes (fluid paths). Additionally, the system could be improved to suggest the best operating mode by implementing a PI or PID controller. The system would not change modes without user interaction due to safety - previous years' bicycles have gone faster than 20mph.

Previous approaches to this problem have usually not included an electrical engineer. As a result, several teams have historically used commercially-available systems such as Parker's IQAN system (link below) or discrete logic due to a lack of technical knowledge (link below). Apart from these two examples, very little public documentation exists on the electrical control systems used by previous competitors, but I believe that designing a control system and user interface from scratch will be a unique and new approach to controlling the hydraulic system.

I am aiming for a 1-person team as there are 6 MechSE counterparts. I emailed Professor Carney on 10/3/14 and he thought the general concept was acceptable.

Operating modes, simplified:

Direct drive (rider's pedaling power goes directly to hydraulic motor)

Coasting (no power input, motor input and output "shorted")

Charge accumulators (store energy in expanding rubber balloons)

Discharge accumulators (use stored energy to supply power to motor)

Regenerative braking (use motor energy to charge accumulators)

Download Competition Specs:

Team using IQAN system (top right corner):

Team using discrete logic (page 19):