|45||Programmable Ferrofluid Display
Hao Jen Chien
|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.