Project

# Title Team Members TA Documents Sponsor
67 Trail Mix Dispenser
Andrew Ma
Kanav Kariya
Mathew Jacob
Dongwei Shi design_review
final_paper
other
presentation
proposal
Trail Mix Dispenser

Original thread: https://courses.engr.illinois.edu/ece445/pace/view-topic.asp?id=25864

Sometimes you don't have time make a snack. Sometimes you just want trail mix.
We would like to build a fully customizable trail mix solution that’s completely controlled through your smartphone. The dispenser will be able to deliver a wide range of customizable and pre-made trail mix recipes in a bag, stapled and ready to go.
Individual ingredients would be stored in separate bins that would be brought to a dispensing position to be poured into a mixing bowl. Once the desired weights and proportions are achieved, the ingredients are then mixed for a more homogeneous mix. We are also considering mixing the ingredients simultaneously to eliminate the need for the mixer.
We would then pull a paper bag from a tray using a vacuum, inflate it, and fill it. We will then fold the top of the bag over and staple the bag to seal it.
This video is the inspiration for filling and sealing the bags: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIwsmAEzgTc&feature=youtu.be
We would have one container for each ingredient in a dispenser similar to the dispensers for cereals in dining halls. We plan on having 4 total such containers.
They will look similar to these: https://secure.img2-ag.wfcdn.com/im/37019053/resize-h800%5Ecompr-r85/4588/45889352/Double+2+Container+Cereal+Dispenser.jpg
Each container module would contain a stepper motor that would dispense the ingredient onto a bowl with a weight sensor. Once the appropriate weights have been reached the ingredients will be mixed with some sort of actuator. We will use small fins to ensure that we have smaller dispensing increments. We will also begin by dispensing quickly and slow down as we approach the target weight to minimize error. In addition we will set design constraints on the error by mass to ensure that the final product is of sufficient quality. Finally, the completed trail mix will be dropped into a bag and sealed by an electric stapler. We could also potentially incorporate weight sensors in the individual container modules and alert the user via the app when they are low on ingredients.
Overall we would require stepper motors with encoders, vacuum pumps, blower pumps, weight sensors, limit switches, an actuator to mix the ingredients, a microcontroller with wifi connectivity, a stepper motor driver, and a stapler.

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The amphibious spherical explorer (ASE) is a spherical robot for home monitoring, outdoor adventure or hazardous environment surveillance. Due to the unique shape of the robot, ASE can travel across land, dessert, swamp or even water by itself, or be casted by other devices (e.g. slingshot) to the mission area. ASE has a motion-sensing system based on Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and rotary magnetic encoder, which allows the internal controller to adjust its speed and attitude properly. The well-designed control system makes the robot free of visible wobbliness when it is taking actions like acceleration, deceleration, turning and rest. ASE is also a platform for research on control system design. The parameters of the internal controller can be assigned by an external control panel in computer based on MATLAB Graphic User Interface (GUI) which communicates with the robot via a WiFi network generated by the robot. The response of the robot can be recorded and sent back to the control panel for further analysis. This project is completely open-sourced. People who are interested in the robot can continue this project for more interesting features, such as adding camera for real-time surveillance, or controller design based on machine learning.

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