Sunday, 27 November 2011

Project 5- High Precision Line Follower Robot

I know that line following robots are very common , but what makes my robot so unique, is its high precision and accuracy and it's ability to follow any line at any and every sorts of curves.
The basic principle behind it is that, the reflecting properties of a black line are much more negligible as compared to a white surface, so using a sensor which simultaneously sends out an IR (Infra Red) beam as well as, absorbs the reflected beam from either a white surface or a black line using it's IR receivers.
When the sensor moves over a black line the reflection of the IR beam will be very less , as a result the IR receiver is exposed to the minimum amount of IR rays ,thus as the connection is taken from across this receiver , onto the micro controller , the system measures maximum amount of voltage, it will observe minimum amount of voltage when the sensor moves over a white surface.                     The sensor used :

So, by monitoring the voltage across this sensor, and by proper programming, we are able to make the robot follow the black line.

The devices used for this project are an ATMega 328 micro controller, a QTR 8A polulo reflectance sensor array, 2 continous rotation servo motors. The chassis of my robot is made from the material we use for switchboards, because of the extreme low range of sensitivity of the sensor (<0.5cm), I had to carefully fabricate 2 supporting legs for the sensor, so that it is in close proximity with respect to the ground. The chassis and the motors are attached as shown in the pic:

Another interesting feature of my robot is that it automatically stops , when it reaches a strip of horizontally placed black tape, the black line made here is just by using ordinary insulation tape.

This robot uses a unique algorithm preventing over compensation specially around the turns.The bare robot is shown in the video here, explaining the logic:

The motors are powered using 6V batteries (AA), and the servos are programmed and controlled via PWM (Pulse Width Modulated) signals, these are continuous rotation servos providing 360 degrees of freedom.
This robot has the capability to follow lines at any sorts of curves i.e., at any angles. The complete video demonstrating it's working is given below:

Project 4- Portable DIY GPS Navigation System

Okay, this is one of the things which I made under 4 hours, it is a portable GPS location monitoring system, which can be carried around by a person usually adventure seekers or trekkers, to know their exact position , as GPS data is obtained directly from the satellite, you can use this device to find out your location on any part of the Earth. It can be easily carried around due to its compact design, it can be used in cars, buses, etc,and the greatest advantage is that it's cost, conventional GPS systems cost from about Rs.9000, I can provide the basic GPS data at about Rs.3000.
Here, I have made my own microcontroller board fot ATMega 168, in order to make the device smaller and portable, it's as shown in the pic:

This system can be used for professional runners to monitor their speed of movement, as it is displayed on the 2 20*4 LCD displays provided.I have used a cirocomm 20L GPS module for the purpose.
The NMEA data from the module is deciphered using a Tiny GPS library, to extract the latitude,longitude coordinates as well as universal date and time.The system may even be attached to the helmet of a bike rider , so that ,these data become more accessible to the person.
I have made the device from nothing but an ordinary plastic box,which was modified to incorporate the devices as shown in the pics:

Main features and advantages of my system are:
1.Low budget.
2.Provides temperature monitoring of the surroundings.
3.Provides the speed of motion.
4.Very potable and easy to carry.
5.Provides the most accurate time(universal) and date.
6.The total time for which the system has remained active.
7.Can be used in emergency situations , to know the location while sending out a distressed call.

The video showing the working of the system is as shown here, please excuse the shaking and vibrations which caused due to my jogging( in order to demonstrate it's working).

Applications of the system:
1.Can be used by athletes to measure their speed of movement.
2.Can be used by adventure or thrill seekers while trekking in dense forests to know their location, when cell   networks are not available.
3.Can be used in cars or buses , for knowing the location and the speed of the vehicle.
4.The latitude and longitude coordinates can be used while making a distress call, to inform the authorities of our location.
5.Can be used as universal speedometer for all sorts of vehicles,without the need of providing any modifications.
6.Can be used even in the most remote corners of the world.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Project 3- Glove controlled Remote Hovercraft with GPS

I can proudly say that this was one of the projects which made me the happiest.It earned me recognition in a lot of places around Kerala.It is actually a Hovercraft, i.e., an amphibious vehicle which can travel through land ,ice,  water, etc.
The glove used for control:

I made my hovercraft from nothing but normal household junk, which was lying around in my house, all rusted and worn out, I used a 900W meenu mixie motor(one of the oldest of Indian mixies) and a 1200W 230VAC motor drom a Eureka Forbes vacuum cleaner, about which my parents still have no clue about.I used rectangular  sheet of MDF wood as the base with its corners chipped off. The most important part of a hovercraft is it's skirt, there are many skirt designs available like bag skirt ,wall skirt, finger skirts,etc they all have their unique purpose.
The first motor is used to provide forward propulsion to the craft and the second motor provides a vertical lift,by building up air pressure beneath it, and encapsulating it using a skirt.
I used a wall skirt design in my hovercraft, i made it using about 4 sheets of a polyplastic material(The black trash bags we use) which was cut and stitched up together to serve the purpose , after many calibrations and modifications i was able to set up the basic hovercraft as shown in the video here, it could even support my entire body weight:

The next step of the build was the setting up of a driver control system to control it.
What makes my hovercraft unique from all the others are that , it is controlled using a glove which you wear in your hand, the instructions to operate it is as shown in the video below.I even hooked it up with GPS, so that we can find out it's current location.
I used two ATMega168's on the receiver and transmitter sections i.e., on the glove and on the hovercraft,
I used an ADXL 3-axis accelerometer sensor(it works on the piezo electric principle) for tilt measurements of my hand, the data communication was using 2 Xbee modules(2.4GHz), the hovercraft has a load of other features explained in the video below,I used 2 servo motors for the rudder(to control the direction of movement) and another for a LED array.I can control my hovercraft from about 30 feet away.
Some of the features of it are:
1.It is completely controlled using a glove(worn by the operator) ,completely unique.
2.Turning the craft on/off is controlled by the vertical motion of the hand (as in video).
3.It is hooked up to a GPS module, to provide the speed of movement and the correct location.
4.It is provided with temperature monitoring of it's two electric motors.
5.Automatic light detection, when it moves into dark regions , it lights up an array of  high power LED's on the front, it turns off as soon as it enters into a well lit area.
6.The LED light array points correctly to the direction of movement, providing enhanced vision.
7.The glove provided for control is very user friendly and requires minimum expertise to operate.

The video of the final result is shown here, along with the instructions to operate it:

The applications of my project:

1.It can move smoothly cruise over paddy fields and agricultural lands, hence they can be used to spray pesticides onto wheat, rice ,etc crops without providing a path for its movement unlike tractors which require a plain path, which further reduces the effective area for crop development.
2. Used in cases of natural disasters like floods for emergency purposes, to access remote places which are not approachable through land, and to move over debris .
3. They are used in military applications in tanks, etc.
4. They are used also for civilian transportation in hostile environments.
5. They are used in mine detection, as they float on top of the ground they cannot trigger off a land mine when they move over it, hence they can safely move over mine fields.
6. It is used in areas that experience extreme winter as they can move over thin layers of ice without breaking it.
7. It is an amphibious vehicle, hence its range of operation is very high.
8.It can be used in low water level areas to check for the water level, so we could find out whether that huge ships can pass over it or not.

Recognitions earned:
1.I prize at NIT(National Institute of Technology,Calicut) for IEEE interface competition.
2.I prize at St.Joseph's Engineering College,Kottayam.
3.II prize at St.Gits Engineering College,Pala.


Project 2- GPS Digital Speedometer for Modified Honda Dio

Okay, I can officially say that, the first Indian dio with a customised digital speedometer with GPS was mine.
Even though i was terribly sad when my parents said they wont buy me a bike , i got over myself using my faithful dio, FOXGLOVE customised the ride for me giving it some awesome blue graphics and giving it the signature mean boy handle bar.But, I wanted more, so i thought of making my own digital speedometer for it, but digital meter? they were so common , so I gave it an edge by providing GPS for it.
I made it using an ATMega168 microcontroller, 2 20*4 LCD displays,a cirocomm GPS module,etc ,the initial setup of the digital speedometer i.e., before going on road is shown on the video here, please excuse the background trance music.....hehe:

This was the initial state of my speedometer, but i modified it again before attaching it to my Honda Dio, I provided an LM35 temperature sensitive transistor to get the engine as well as surrounding temperature.
My GPS data was in the form of NMEA(National Marine Electronics Association) codes, which was deciphered to obtain the latitude and longitude coordinates, the universal date as well as time, since the communication was directly with the satellites , a small delay is experienced during the startup time, as the signal has to go from earth to the outer space and then back(phew..!), it could also show the mean height of the land above sea level and loads of other data including speed.
 I even hooked my meter to my Dio's fuel sensor, so it also showed the fuel reading, the fuel sensor inside it was an ohmic variable resistor, when the tank was empty it showed a high resistance value , and when it was filled to the maximum, it showed a minimum resistance value, so I used my microcontroller to measure the resistance of the sensor and convert it to a % value with respect to the difference between the maximum and minimum resistance values.Here is the video showing the speedometer on my Dio:

Here is a list showing the features of my Digital speedometer:
1.Shows the Lap Time i.e. the time for which the engine remains ON.
2.It shows the surrounding temperature accurately in degree C.
3.It shows the actual registration no: of the vehicle.
4.It shows the location of the person using the latitude and longitude coordinates from the GPS.
5.It shows the universal date and current time.
6.It shows the fuel level in %.
7.And finally it shows the speed.
8.It may even show the name of the rider, after programming.

The actual location of the vehicle could be found out, by entering the latitude and longitude coordinates of the GPS module in the google map.Surprisingly I even got a lot of orders from many people around India, to make it for them.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Project 1-- Home made Rocket made from my own rocket fuel mixture (Electric Ignition)

Even though this is not actually my first project, (worked on many before this), I started recording my creations from this. First  of all, i made my rocket candy composition by mixing many compounds together such as ammonium nitrate, potassium nitrate, magnesium, sulphur and normal sugar, I powdered and mixed all these together to form my rocket fuel mixture. So, here is a video showing me testing the obtained rocket fuel mixture, the explosion was completely unpredictable, it led to a slight discoloration on my hand, hehe.

Please excuse the video quality as it was recorded at the time using my mobile: sony ericsson K750i.
After the testing of the mixture, I stuffed it and compacted it into a small pvc pipe, and drilled a narrow hole through the solid mixture, at the bottom i provided an electric fuse , so that i can ignite the rocket from a safe distance.
The ignition system consists of a high resistance carbon led along with matchstick chemicals, aluminium,etc, the carbon leed is heated using a 30V supply , causing the remaining substances to light up, here is a video depicting my ignition system:

And finally all of this led to my rocket, it went up approx 30 feet in the air, which was quite high compared to the little fuel i gave it, i gave a long line to control the ignition , so that i could watch it go from a safe distance,here the impact of the rocket was so strong that it actually blasted away a high density soda bottle (The kind used for making carbonated drinks).However i had to abandon my research in this field , due to the lack of available compound mixtures and resources, here is the video:

The beginning

There's a lot of catching up to do, okay even before this i had worked on many projects ,im guessing from maybe 5th or 6th standard ,starting from small burgular alarm and booby trap systems to keep parents out of my room to , a remote controlled hovercraft i made in 10th standard at Toch Public School.
Such a background has surely helped me, i have got a lot of prizes for science exhibitions in my school and even at a university level science fair conducted by CUSAT.

My blog site

Hope this goes well, i will be featuring all my creations here.