# Title Team Members TA Documents Sponsor
45 Programmable Ferrofluid Display
Bradley Anderson
Hao Jen Chien
Thomas Coyle
Luke Wendt
For our project, our team would like to build a lower cost programmable ferrofluid display than is currently available. We would be building upon the work of the team which worked on a similar project last semester in order to make a more feature-filled device.
The previous group project used an array of permanent magnets which moved by electromagnets along tubes to manipulate the magnetic fluid. Instead, we propose to build a device with at least a 5x5 grid of permanent magnets attached to small servos.
We would also like to add a layer of IR sensors in an array between the magnets and the fluid. We can then use these sensors to return information about fluid distribution within the display. This will allow software controlling the display to more accurately maneuver the ferrofluid.
All of the magnets and sensors would be wired into a microcontroller, which will have an IO port for control from a computer. The microcontroller will provide an API for the computer to interact with the display, which will include functions for enabling/disabling individual magnets and returning a 2-dimensional array of the IR sensor values.
Ultimately, the project should cost approximately $300 to $400. For a 5x5 magnet display, we will need 25 magnets, servos, and IR sensors to interact with the ferrofluid. We will also need a watertight enclosure for the display, as well ferrofluid and a PCB and microcontroller to manage the servos and sensors. The servos should be the bulk of the cost. Comparatively, the sensors, other electronics, magnets, ferrofluid, and enclosure will be relatively inexpensive. We will be sure to acquire non-toxic ferrofluid for the project to minimize the risk of accidental poisoning.

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):