# Title Team Members TA Documents Sponsor
59 Dynamic Ferrofluid Lamp
Chen Huang
Chong Lu
Luke Wendt design_document0.pdf
Chen Huang chuan102
Chong Lu chonglu2

My partner and I would like to take on the challenge left over by group 32 of last semester in building a lava lamp with ferrofluid replacing wax and heaters.

Like group 32 of last semester, we would like to use a stronger permanent magnets controlled by a servo to manipulate the main up and down motion of the ferrofluid. Expanding upon their previous work, we would like to develop a way of controlling the distance the permanent magnets are pushed and pulled along the chamber to increase the degree of control the low power consuming permanent magnets have on the ferrofluid. We might scrap the idea of controlling these magnets with electromagnets and use servos instead for more precise manipulation.

Also, we would like to add an array of electromagnets that directly interact with the ferrofluid, giving us even more means of manipulating the display. And in the case of us using servos to manipulate all the permanent magnets, this array of electromagnets will provide us with the ability to produce much faster changes to the magnetic field. Due to possible power restrictions, these electromagnets can be relatively weaker and produce more subtle manipulations on the ferrofluid. Since the main motion of our ferrofluid lamp will be up and down, controlled by the permanent magnet on the top of the lamp, it will not be necessary for all electromagnets to be powered at the same time.

The basic construction of the lamp will be two concentric cylinder containers, with the outer compartment holding ferrofluid and the suspension fluid, and the inner container holding electromagnets and possibly permanent magnets. We would also like to experiment with the effects of electromagnets on the outer casing of the lamp. These electromagnets would have to be relatively weak due to physical space restrictions in the location they are placed. However, we would like to experiment with the degree of manipulation and possible display effects this configuration can provide.

The electromagnets will be arranged such that the magnetic field is perpendicular to the central cylinder axis and forms a grid of electromagnets on the surface of the center cylinder. We would like to experiment with arranging the electromagnets in a Halbach array to increase the magnetic field on one side of the array. We believe this may enable us to produce stronger magnetic fields using electromagnets with lower current draw.

The aim of the project is not to make high resolution display, but to create an artistic art piece that can manipulate ferrofluid in a relatively controlled to create a wide range of display patterns.

Idea Link:
Last Semester Group 32 Link:

VoxBox Robo-Drummer

Craig Bost, Nicholas Dulin, Drake Proffitt

VoxBox Robo-Drummer

Featured Project

Our group proposes to create robot drummer which would respond to human voice "beatboxing" input, via conventional dynamic microphone, and translate the input into the corresponding drum hit performance. For example, if the human user issues a bass-kick voice sound, the robot will recognize it and strike the bass drum; and likewise for the hi-hat/snare and clap. Our design will minimally cover 3 different drum hit types (bass hit, snare hit, clap hit), and respond with minimal latency.

This would involve amplifying the analog signal (as dynamic mics drive fairly low gain signals), which would be sampled by a dsPIC33F DSP/MCU (or comparable chipset), and processed for trigger event recognition. This entails applying Short-Time Fourier Transform analysis to provide spectral content data to our event detection algorithm (i.e. recognizing the "control" signal from the human user). The MCU functionality of the dsPIC33F would be used for relaying the trigger commands to the actuator circuits controlling the robot.

The robot in question would be small; about the size of ventriloquist dummy. The "drum set" would be scaled accordingly (think pots and pans, like a child would play with). Actuators would likely be based on solenoids, as opposed to motors.

Beyond these minimal capabilities, we would add analog prefiltering of the input audio signal, and amplification of the drum hits, as bonus features if the development and implementation process goes better than expected.

Project Videos