Room Navigator Log
Week of Jan 29
This was the first week after we had gotten our teams. We mainly focused on coming up with our project ideas and deciding the best strategies to go about them. It was project planning more than anything else.
Week of Feb 5
Wednesday Feb 7:
Group met from 2-4 to plan the project. We brainstormed and researched ideas for components of the project. Specifically, we discussed how to locate the exact position of someone in the room, how to instruct the user where to go effectively, and how to go about coding our ideas.
We met with our TA at 5:30 and narrowed down our ideas. Currently, we are thinking we will use FM radio Arduino module to locate the position of the user in the room. We will have separate Arduinos for each FM module. Then there will be another Arduino connected to vibration motors to instruct the user where to go.
Thursday Feb 8:
worked on the project proposal for 2 hours
Friday Feb 9:
Group met with instructor from 2-2:30. We discussed finding a different way of finding position in a room such as ultrasonic or infared sensors. Our first priority is deciding exactly what we will use to find position in a room. We also need to think about the standard of systems similar to ours for blind or blind-deaf people so we are giving them instructions in a helpful way.
Week of Feb 12
- familiarize ourselves with Arduino
- research how to find position in the room using different beacons or sensors
- decide on the materials we need to find location
- order materials
Tuesday Feb 13:
Elizabeth worked on the Arduino and researched using ultrasonic beacons for an hour.
Here is the code and a video of the Arduino demo. When the button is pressed, the LED lights up for 2 seconds.
Wednesday Feb 14:
Met with TA, Nate and discussed using infrared receivers to determine distance instead of FM radio signals or ultrasonic sensors.
Thursday Feb 15:
Elizabeth worked for 2 hours on updating the budget, Gantt chart, and wiki page to reflect our decision to use infrared receivers instead of FM radio modules. Also researched the Arduino code for implementing the IR receiver and getting signal strength readings from it.
Group met for an hour. We worked on the Gantt chart and discussed using infrared receivers more in depth.
Friday Feb 16:
Met with Jim to confirm our materials and budget.
Neal ordered the materials.
Week of Feb 19
- learning Arduino
- Working on code for LEDs
- Researching and starting code for the IR receiver
- Elizabeth worked for an hour to write code to have the infrared LEDs blink once per second.
- Alex watched videos online for an hour to learn more about arduino applications
- Neal worked on the powerpoint presentation for an hour
- Meeting with Nate
- (1.5 hours) Elizabeth wrote code to test the vibration motors using the PWM pins, tested the IR sensor, and worked on wiki page and powerpoint presentation for 2 hours. This first video shows the vibrating motor and increasing the intensity of vibration using a PWM pin. The second video shows a blinking LED using delta timing - the same code we will use to blink the IR LEDs.
- Neal worked on learning Arduino and began working on code for IR Sensor. The video below is just to demonstrate that I was able to get the vibrating motor to work. I will upload more next week to demonstrate the IR Sensor working with the vibrating motor.
Week of Feb 26
- work on IR receiver code
- put LEDs together
- Work on design for LED part of project
- Alex spent an hour and a half learning more arduino coding as well as how to successfully receive IR receiver readings.
Wednesday Meeting with Nate: 5:30-7
- Debugged some code to figure out the IR sensors. Instead of the ones we ordered, we used an IR photo diode sensor. We are now able to get a reading from the sensor, however, our IR LEDs are not working. We need to do some calculations to figure out how to connect them as they only need 1.5V.
- Talked about the set up for the lights part, from the number of lights to the design we want to use to focus the light
- Neal spent two hours coding and testing two things in arduino. The first was putting the lights in parallel. The second was making sure the vibrating motor responds to changes in infrared. Just to explain the videos a bit. The first one is the lights in parallel. I used LEDs b/c obviously you can't see the IR ones that well but I figure a similar set up will be used to code using LEDs. The second one is the vibrating motor. I used a remote to change the IR and you can hear (idk how well it can be seen) the vibrating motor stop vibrating. It was a little finicky but I did get it to work.
- Elizabeth spent 2 hours coding, testing, and doing resistor calculations to try and get the IR LEDs to work. They are unlike normal LEDs in that they have a maximum voltage of 1.5 volts. One website suggests a 150 ohm resistor which I did not have. The photodiode value did not change however (it stayed at 1023 indicating no IR light). This is something we would like some assistance on. We need to do this in order to start measuring distance.
- Met with Jim
- Group worked on making the IR LEDs work for an hour. We tried different resistor values, resistor calculations etc.
Week of March 5
Goals: We want to make sure we can read distance with our sensor before break. In order to do this, we need to get our IR LEDs to work. Once we figure out how to do this, then we can start experimenting with the LEDs and sensor to determine distance.
Wednesday: Meeting with Nate
- We are waiting on how to light up our IR LEDs in order to start measuring distance
- Do some research on how to reflect and direct the LED light
- talked about working on a design for the 3D printed cases
Week of March 19
Goals: To effectively be able to read distance using our sensor. We need to resolve our issues with the IR LEDs. Begin to create our design using Fusion 360 that will hold our arduino, sensor, and motors. We should also decide how to focus the light coming from our infrared LEDs.
Tuesday: Alex spent two hours learning the basics of Fusion 360 by watching online videos. Shown below are a couple of attempts at modeling items in Fusion 360, namely a box and a coffee mug.
Wednesday: The group met with Nate and got help figuring out how to light up the IR LEDs.
Our next steps are to solder the LEDs on a permanent breadboard and then start doing distance measurements. In addition, making a proof of concept for how the vibrating motors will guide a person to the door.
Friday: Neal and Elizabeth started soldering the IR LEDs for 2 hours and Alex worked on designing the case for the Arduino and sensor.
Saturday: More of what happened yesterday. As we soldered, we also tested how far we were tracking the LEDs and trying to get some distance measurements. Alex was also working on the case while Elizabeth and Neal soldered. We created this and found that the IR LEDs did not emit a strong enough light source. We plan on trying to concentrate the light using an old flashlight to see if we get better results. If the LEDs are not providing enough IR light, we could also order an IR flashlight. We are also looking into alternative ways to measure distance on an Arduino. Afterwards, we worked on the code for the motors and worked on the case. We worked from 1-4pm.
Week of March 26
Goals: We are working on trouble shooting how to find distance with the IR LEDs and our sensor. We will continue to work on a 3D design for the cases.
Monday: Group met for an hour and discussed other alternatives to lead someone to the door. We met with Jim and Nate. We ordered new IR receivers that are supposed to be more sensitive than the current one we have. Our backup plan is using the IR product that is meant for robots to find each other.
Tuesday: Elizabeth worked on an outline for the code for an hour. A challenge will be finding the direction of the door to start.
Friday: The other sensors we ordered came in. We tested them but got the same results as our previous sensor. We talked to Jim and ordered the Pololu IR beacon transceivers. Alex continued working on modeling our 3D printed cases.
Week of April 2
Goals: Once the IR beacon sensors (used with robots) arrive, put them together and determine the code for them. We need help figuring out different wiring or perhaps amplifying the reading from the sensors we currently have. Also try putting a cone around the LEDs to concentrate the light. In addition, continue working on our 3D printing designs for the cases.
Wednesday: Neal and Elizabeth worked on the new IR receivers, soldering and testing them. We also have the code for the IR receivers. Alex finished up the 3D design of the box. We did this for 4 hours. Also: Meeting with Nate (about half-an-hour). We talked about the new IR receivers and Alex talked with Nate about the 3D design of the box. We should have it printed (hopefully) by the end of the week. Alex was able to change the box so it has a hollow curved handle that our motors can be placed inside. Was also successful in learning how to make a conical hole, which could be useful for focusing infrared light.
Week of April 9
Goals: 3D print our design and assemble the parts with the 3D printed case. We have to solder the IR receivers so they fit with out design. Then begin to test the sensors in the case. Also, work on the poster.
Monday: 3D printed the case
Wednesday: Worked in the lab on the project (7 Hrs). Things accomplished:
- Cleaned the case (Sanding, taking out scaffolding) (Alex)
- Figured out the IR Transceiver communication (Neal and Elizabeth)
- Got the IR Transceivers to communicate with the vibrating motors (Neal and Elizabeth)
- Worked on rough draft of the poster (Neal)
We are still having trouble with the IR sensors as the readings we get are inconsistent.
Friday: Group met for an hour. We worked on the poster based on the feedback from our instructor and TA. We talked with Nate and Jim about possible solutions to fixing the inconsistency of the IR receivers.
Saturday: worked for 7 hours
- We have a proof of concept for giving directions through vibration motors. We soldered the motors together and fit them into our case, then tested.
- Worked on a tutorial for 3D design with fusion 360
- Worked on poster
- Troubleshooting why our pololu IR receivers are so inconsistent.
Now we have our panel of IR LEDs pulsing at 13 microseconds. We used our other sensors to basically create the pololu emitter and receiver and it will return a direction (front, left, right) up to about 15 feet. Tomorrow, our goal is to test the sensors more and implement the vibration motors with our new sensor set up and put together the case. (Lots of help from Nate! Thank you!!)
Sunday: worked in lab for 4 hours
We added to the code for the sensors to make it work with the vibrating motors to tell the user what direction to go in. We have a filter so it will give correct directions. We tested it in Lopata and found the ambient IR interferes a little so the range in Lopata is only about 5 feet, however, it will lead the user in the right direction. Alex is working on making a new top for the case to fit the new sensors. Here is the circuit diagram for the sensors and motors in the case
Week of April 16
- Get rubber for the motors so it is easier to tell the direction
- Print the new top
- Finalize and print poster
Group met for 3 hours and met with Nate. We glued rubber around the motors to see if it would help make which motor was vibrating more discernible. We glued the box together. We made final changes to our poster. We discussed some future improvements to make on our project:
- redesigning our box so the motors and sensors are inside with holes cut out for the motors and sensors
- make which motor is vibrating more discernible
- make some way to direct the light from the IR LEDs
We worked for an hour. Elizabeth and Neal printed the poster and did final tests. Alex designed a way to concentrate the IR LED light.