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UIUC Wiki Works

To see a more updated list of my work, please visit http://pkeu.net/uiucwiki for more!

This is a list of projects I worked on as a part of Intelligent Mobile Navagation, a course on electronics, robotics, and intelligent design of machines I took at the University of Illinois.  I highly encourage you to check out all of the projects, because the students here came up with some very creative machines with plenty of practical applications. Entries are ordered from last to first.

The “HAWT”, as we called it, was a wind tunnel that used the Arduino microcontroller to regulate a wind tunnel that allowed control by entering a Reynolds Number instead of a desired airspeed or input power level. The thought process was all scale tests are compared to Re # anyway, so it makes sense to have a system that allows us to test at specific flight regimes instead of setting a level and then solving for Re later.  It worked pretty well, and even though we only used a small fan this time around, this system can easily scale up, the Arduino is extremely responsive and with the right tools and a large enough power system this could be a very useful tool.  We could easily program the unit to use any parameter to define the wind speed inside the tunnel, we just picked Re because it was the most logical and universally used.

The XBee Shield is a wireless antenna add-on for the Arduino. We used it as a class to play “Sharks and Minnows” using another Arduino unit that would keep track of all the rest of them.  The guide I made for the class ended up being adopted by the manufacturer as the official assembly guide for the product.

The mouse controller was a very simple alternative input device that used the XBee shield.  As above, this was for the Sharks and Minnows game we were playing with the class. A lot of the other projects had very creative inputs, such as capacitive sensing, accelerometers, and others.  You can see them all here (scroll down to “Make a networked object”).

We used an ultrasonic range finder hidden in a hat to help the hard of sight ‘sense’ obstacles. It used a small vibrating motor which would turn on at different intensities to indicate the proximity to an object ahead.  The range could be set based on what we felt was ‘close enough’ and it can be used with light sensors, ultrasonic sensors, or really any appropriate sensor.  The Arduino’s response time was fast enough to handle walking at normal speeds (even though the demonstration does not show this).

One of my favorites, we coupled a GPS and a digital compass  to create a hand-held ‘wayfinder’. We could program in our destination coordinated into the Arduino, then using the digital compass to know its orientation, an array of LEDs would light up pointing in the direction of the destination.  When you were in range of the target, all of the LEDs would light up to let you know you had arrived.

This was a child’s toy (a rubber duck) that could be used as a night light OR as a way to tell if the temperature of, say, bath water was safe enough for your child.  You input the temperature you want into the Arduino, and it would change color when the water became too hot.  In the demonstration, I only demonstrate how it responds to light because doing a thermal demonstration would have taken too long.

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