ECE Capstone Showcase in Spring 2013

Design of a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

Team Member(s): Brett Haymans, Chris Ratliff, Derek Jeter
Semester: Spring 2013

End-Product Description
Wind generated power has become increasingly relevant in recent years due to rising environmental and economic concerns. A resolution to wind generated power for relatively low-wind receiving areas is now a possibility. Our project is to design and implement a vertical-axis wind turbine to deliver standard three phase AC voltage for consumer use. Our VAWT will implement a self-made generator that produces AC voltage. This AC voltage will go through a rectifier circuit so that it can be converted to DC voltage and put through a 15 V voltage regulator which will continuously charge a battery so that there will always be power for the consumer. This design could be used in low-wind conditions areas as a great source of renewable energy.


Figure: The Final Design of the VAWT


Figure: Our Self-made Permanent Magnet Generator

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Design of an Object Detection/Recognition System for the Rhino Robotic Arm

Team Member(s): Mark Hallberg, Stephen Kennedy, Jefferson Sharon
Semester: Spring 2013

End-Product Description
The project achieves interface and control of the Rhino robotic arm using LabVIEW to detect, determine, and place objects based on the specifications of the end-user. The end product is capable of allowing an object to remain in place or be picked up and placed in a container. A DC power supply is necessary for operation of the unit as well as a PC capable of operating Lab VIEW. The system could be very useful in the removal of unwanted materials from the input stream to energy production or recycling machinery. The Logitech Webcam C200 was used to capture and send image data to the image processing VIs in LabVIEW. The project was completed in two phases. The first phase was calibration and control of the movement of the Rhino arm and the second phase was image processing. After integrating the two phases, the system was capable of recognizing a stored image, comparing it to a series of live images, and sending a Boolean flag to the placement routines. The placement routines or cases are automated responses used to place the object into the correct container.


Figure: Rhino Robotic Arm with Optics System

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Design of a Machine Learning System for Sign Language Recognition

Team Member(s): Michael Parlato, William Mackie
Semester: Spring 2013

End-Product Description
An interactive software system which utilizes a user calibration to extract the hand from a video frame, compiles a mathematical model of the hand, and attempts to recognize the gesture in the image. The final product recognizes a set of 25 gestures with an accuracy of 99.52%. Development involved the use of artificial neural networks in recognizing patterns among the 25 classes.


Figure: Confusion Matrix


Figure: Artificial Neural Network Toolbox

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Design for Interior Temperature Regulation for Stationary Vehicles

Team Member(s): Jon Kelly, Elias Argaw, Anthony Simpson
Semester: Spring 2013

End-Product Description
This design implemented a feedback system to monitor the ambient and interior temperatures of a closed volume. Upon a +10F difference interior to ambient, a microcontroller would activate a fan system to exhaust the hot air and draw in cooler ambient air. A supplemental cooling module using a peltier thermocouple was also added. The system was also remotely enabled/disabled using an XBee transmitter/receiver. A 12V rechargeable battery was used to power the system, along with a 100W solar panel to recharge the battery.

Figure: Front open

Figure: Side Top

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Design of a Solar Flight Extender for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

Team Member(s): Michael Benbow, Don Coleman, Justin Rumbach
Semester: Spring 2013

End-Product Description
Solar powered aircrafts are not used in everyday applications; however the solar panels can extend the average commercial battery run time. Solar panels are mounted on the top of the wings and down the back of the aircraft. The control circuit designed will provide protection to the battery as well as regulate the amount of power going into the battery. This application of solar panels is ideal for someone with maximum flight time being a priority.

Figure: Solar Plane

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Design of a Solar Array Positioning Controller

Team Member(s): Andrew F. Potter, Christopher A. Hayes, Nathaniel M. Eubanks, Vadim S. Ilin
Semester: Spring 2013

End-Product Description
Traditional fixed solar panel installation fails to optimize solar energy collection when the sun is not at its peak position. Maintaining a perpendicular angle with the sun optimizes the energy collected throughout the day thereby increasing overall energy collection or reducing the number of solar panels required for any given installation. This project uses sensors, motors, various printed circuit boards, and microcontrollers to maintain a perpendicular angle with the sun and determine the additional solar energy collection gained by tracking the sun's position throughout the day. Additionally, this design continuously measures the wind speed and lowers the solar panel to a flat, safe stow position if dangerous wind levels are present. This proof-of-concept project is a prototype for potential future variable solar positioning installation of single solar panels and arrays of solar panels.


Figure: Sun Chaser Final Product


Figure: Sun Chaser System Block Diagram

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Design of a GSM GPS Vehicle Tracking System

Team Member(s): Aster Pastoral,Chris Doorbal, Jon Lister
Semester: Spring 2013

End-Product Description
The ability to track the whereabouts of people or property has always been a luxury. Whether someone is tracking a stolen car, maximizing corporate fleet vehicle productivity, or finding a lost individual, our low cost GSM GPS vehicle tracking system is ideally suited to cut into the lower-end GPS market. It can provide an instantaneous location at any rate the user would like and can also be prompted at any moment via SMS message. This design cost is less than $300 and it also uses old and broken electronic devices as its parts. The infrastructure of the GSM cellphone network has already been built; we are simply using it in a new way. The project device will be a GPS based vehicle tracking system that will provide a real time location for the target vehicle. A text message from any smart phone will prompt the transceiver to reply its GPS coordinates via a GSM module that is being controlled and monitored by a microcontroller. After password verification of the SMS message the transceiver will then send a Google Maps link to the smart phone that initiated the tracking. Opening the link will then give the user the target vehicles location displayed in Google Maps. In addition, a SOS button is added in the transceiver that when triggered will automatically send an emergency SMS text message with its current coordinates to a predefined cellphone number. The system also includes a unit on a computer. The computer side unit can be programmed to display the transceivers current location automatically at predetermined intervals in a Google Map window.


Figure: Block Diagram of the system and PCB design of the Transceiver


Figure: Actual iPhone test using the tracking device (also works in Android)

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Design of a Solar Powered Charging Station

Team Member(s): Travis Hanna, Tony Shoupe, Wade Thornhill
Semester: Spring 2013

End-Product Description
This solar powered charging station is designed as a portable, stand-alone power source for the majority of consumer electronics (i.e. iPads, iPhones and Android devices). Target markets include the educational, industrial, and light commercial segments. The charging station is able to convert the suns energy to usable DC power and is designed for 24 hour a day usage. During daylight hours, the solar array provides the needed power to supply both consumer needs as well as recharge the onboard battery backup. At night, the battery backup supplies all of the required power, including the nighttime LED ambient lighting. The system is controlled and monitored using the Arduino Uno microcontroller. All relevant data from the Arduino Uno, including battery/solar status along with USB output voltage/current, are displayed on the LED screen. To prevent damage to electronic devices, the system has built in over current protection in both hardware and software.

Figure: Solar Array - 21V @ 7A

Figure: USB Ports with LCD Display

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EMG Controlled Robotic Arm

Team Member(s): Joseph Smith, Gary Spann
Semester: Spring 2013

End-Product Description
An Electromyography(EMG) controlled robotic arm utilizes the electrical signals transmitted in the user's muscles along the arm to control the robotic arm in a similar fashion. The user is attached to the control system by the use of electrodes, which are placed on specific muscles of the arm in order to receive the signals. The signals are conditioned through a circuit and read by a processor to determine the user's motion. The processor will then control the robotic arm to mimic the user's arm movement. This control system allows users to operate the robotic arm without having to learn how to use foreign objects such as a mouse or joystick. Users will experience a shorter learning curve to operate the device since it utilizes our natural movement.

Figure: Robotic arm alongside the user's arm with electrodes

Figure: EMG signal as it progresses through Conditioning Circuit

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Design of a Solar Tracker Utilizing an Embedded Monitoring System

Team Member(s): Tyler Bowman, David Swick
Semester: Spring 2013

End-Product Description
To create a portable embedded solar tracking device w/ power output optimization. We wanted to implement a system that was small scale, low-cost, easy to use, and that would provide a high efficient output to charge mobile devices.

 

Figure: End Product Design in Testing

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