Project

# Title Team Members TA Documents Sponsor
40 Remote Area Clearance Device (RACE)
Bjorn Oberg
Rahul Sachdeva
Nicholas Ratajczyk other
proposal
People drop small items such as earrings, needles etc. These can sometimes be hard to find for the naked eye, or can be in a hard to reach position. We want to build upon the ECE 110 project, and build a car that can detect metal, and pick the object up. The car will have an autonomous mode and a manual mode. In the manual mode, it will be controlled remotely by the user, through Bluetooth protocol. This car, with the metal detection circuit, has additional applications outside the home as well. It can be used as a low cost alternative to look for landmines in war torn regions. Despite the United States having the world’s largest army, IEDs and mines still pose significant difficulties for the Army with regard to engineering operations and maneuver support. A department of defense lab as shown a strong interest in this project and have offered to provide support to our team in the form of robots, processors, sensors, etc.
They have offered to allow us to use one of their “mini-bots” which we may use instead of the ECE 110 car.

We will use the chassis and the motor drivers from the ECE 110 class. We will build a metal detection circuit, and the detecting coil will be mounted in front of the car, facing downwards. When metal is detected, the car will take a step back, and use TTL logic to swipe the possible area with a small vacuum to pick up the object. We will use TTL chips to implement navigation logic, and integrate Bluetooth so that the car can receive and send signals. We will build the software that will allow the user to move the car using a laptop, and control the vacuum.

In the autonomous mode, the car will be able to navigate itself (only in a fixed, chosen room). We will fill prior information such as the dimensions of the room, and the location of the door of the ECE 445 lab. There will be a fixed base position of the car, and we will have Bluetooth beacons around the room to act as markers for recalibrating the position. The car will be equipped with wheel encoders, compass, and accelerometers. We want to give the user the ability to pick a spot where he has dropped an object (such as desk 5), and the car will go there from the base and look for the metal object near that desk.

Our base goal is to implement the metal detection circuit along with the manual operation mode of the car. Our reach goal is to implement the autonomous mode of operation.

Cloud-controlled quadcopter

Anuraag Vankayala, Amrutha Vasili

Cloud-controlled quadcopter

Featured Project

Idea:

To build a GPS-assisted, cloud-controlled quadcopter, for consumer-friendly aerial photography.

Design/Build:

We will be building a quad from the frame up. The four motors will each have electronic speed controllers,to balance and handle control inputs received from an 8-bit microcontroller(AP),required for its flight. The firmware will be tweaked slightly to allow flight modes that our project specifically requires. A companion computer such as the Erle Brain will be connected to the AP and to the cloud(EC2). We will build a codebase for the flight controller to navigate the quad. This would involve sending messages as per the MAVLink spec for sUAS between the companion computer and the AP to poll sensor data , voltage information , etc. The companion computer will also talk to the cloud via a UDP port to receive requests and process them via our code. Users make requests for media capture via a phone app that talks to the cloud via an internet connection.

Why is it worth doing:

There is currently no consumer-friendly solution that provides or lets anyone capture aerial photographs of them/their family/a nearby event via a simple tap on a phone. In fact, present day off-the-shelf alternatives offer relatively expensive solutions that require owning and carrying bulky equipment such as the quads/remotes. Our idea allows for safe and responsible use of drones as our proposed solution is autonomous, has several safety features, is context aware(terrain information , no fly zones , NOTAMs , etc.) and integrates with the federal airspace seamlessly.

End Product:

Quads that are ready for the connected world and are capable to fly autonomously, from the user standpoint, and can perform maneuvers safely with a very simplistic UI for the common user. Specifically, quads which are deployed on user's demand, without the hassle of ownership.

Similar products and comparison:

Current solutions include RTF (ready to fly) quads such as the DJI Phantom and the Kickstarter project, Lily,that are heavily user-dependent or user-centric.The Phantom requires you to carry a bulky remote with multiple antennas. Moreover,the flight radius could be reduced by interference from nearby conditions.Lily requires the user to carry a tracking device on them. You can not have Lily shoot a subject that is not you. Lily can have a maximum altitude of 15 m above you and that is below the tree line,prone to crashes.

Our solution differs in several ways.Our solution intends to be location and/or event-centric. We propose that the users need not own quads and user can capture a moment with a phone.As long as any of the users are in the service area and the weather conditions are permissible, safety and knowledge of controlling the quad are all abstracted. The only question left to the user is what should be in the picture at a given time.

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