|51||Rolling Pet Toy
|Yuchen He TA||other
|Owners often feel bad leaving their pets at home for long periods of time because they get bored, may be more destructive to items around the house, and do not get enough exercise throughout the day. This is a problem, especially for puppies, because if they do not get enough exercise they have a harder time with training and obedience.
Our vision for a solution to this problem is a small, durable, sphere-shaped toy to engage the dog throughout the day. There would be a rechargeable battery and power converter for the power supply. The control system would incorporate user settings from an app via Bluetooth relaying which times of the day the owner would like the dog to be active. To make the toy more interactive, custom infrared motion detectors on all sides of the ball would activate movement of the ball when the dog comes near it. The sounds from a custom speaker/amplifier/filter system could also attract the pet to the toy (through doorbell or other tones) at certain times set by the app.
Once the pet is interested, the toy will roll away, avoiding walls and objects using feedback from four mounted IR sensors around the edge of the ball.
The motion of the toy will be controlled by two wheels that will be screwed into the sides of the machine shopped ball. These wheels will allow an axis to be adhered to a stepper motor that is independent of the other side. The wheels will be able to freely turn but due to their attachment to the sphere it will cause the sphere to roll.This will allow the system to perform turns and correct itself if need be. The design choice of a stepper motor is to allow for measurement of the angle of rotation without the usage of a position sensor to be used in correction feedback loops. The design of the locomotion of the sphere was based off of this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmvUkbdXNbM
The rest of the control and power supply components would be attached to the central axis through the middle of the ball, held in a box that swings freely as the ball rolls to act as a counterweight.
As a reach goal, a camera module could be incorporated so the owner can see how often the pet was engaged during the day.
The difficulty in this project comes in the effort to design the controls PCB, and package it in a small and durable way so the toy can fit under furniture. We also must have low power consumption to make the play time last longer so the dog can be exercised all day.