Showcase 2009 Featured Projects
Leafdrop: personal eavesdropping for voice-note recording and retrieving
Austin Brockmeier, Keith McDermott, John Miller, Nicholas Wertzberger
This project is an integrated solution for taking notes. Leafdrop not only records a spoken note, location, images, time, and keywords, but also allows all of this information to be searched and displayed for faster recovery and more useful application.
Intelligent Sprinkler System
Kenneth Yoho, Ben Wisinski, Andrew Kennedy, Jose Salas
The demand for water supplies increases every year as does the need to conserve it. The western society tendency to avoid inconvenient activities poses the challenge of today: encouraging people to implement consistent water conservation practices. This approach to water conservation considers integrating water conservation practices into routine activities to minimize inconvenience. Similarly products should integrate water conservation measures to ensure societal acceptance. The ISS group proposes an automated intelligent sprinkler system requiring little user interaction beyond the expectations of a standard residential sprinkler system. Incorporating local weather information, soil moisture data and a water conscientious scheduling scheme addresses water conservation needs while automation processes and simplified installation reduces the potential for client inconvenience. This archetype system promotes an eco-friendly alternative to water conservation while maximizing adoption potential within a western society.
Orthopedic Marking Pen: a surgical aid
The field of orthopedic surgery is advancing at spectacular rate. Surgeons are aided by new technologies to make artificial joint replacements more efficient, last longer, and leave less scarring. The Orthopedic Marking Pen (OMP) assists the surgeon while preparing a patient for such a procedure. This project, sponsored by the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation Department, gives a visual reference point for surgeons before they begin to shape a bone for prosthetic joint replacement.
The OMP system is composed of two separate entities, the marking pen and the terminal. The pen is a wireless handheld device that dispenses biocompatible ink onto the surface of a bone. To control the dispensing action, the pen is tracked in real-time by an infrared tracking system. As the pen lines up with a predefined axis loaded onto a three-dimensional model of the patient’s bone, the tracking terminal communicates with the pen to dispense the ink.
The OMP eases the preparation process and reduces the possibility of human error. This project is an original solution, and while there are wireless printers on the market, none have been used in this type of medical application.
This device will allow an orthopedic surgeon to clearly define cutting marks, reducing human error via computer control.
Advanced HVAC System
Kyle Borowski, Jason Colasacco, Max Kurkowski, Lee Sorrick
Modern residential HVAC systems do not provide the amount of control required to heat and cool individual rooms in a home evenly and efficiently. Since modern thermostats only have one temperature sensor at the control panel with no control over the individual vents, the solution is to turn each room in the home into its own individual zone with its own temperature sensor. Our solution is to control the vents from the main thermostat unit using a wireless network. The vents will receive instruction to open or close based upon temperature information sent from the temperature sensor in the room to the main unit; this vent adjustment will allow the room to be heated or cooled to the programmed desired temperature. An advanced algorithm is implemented throughout the entire process to ensure the system operates efficiently and accurately. The system will also be able to receive commands from a web service, which will enable control of the entire system from a web browser. For testing, we sent commands from the web interface that set a room to a desired temperature that was below the room’s current temperature. Upon receiving the updated temperature from the web, the main unit wirelessly opened the vent so that heated air could be circulated into the room. The system performs by comparing real time temperature data from each room to desired temperatures inputted from a web interface. The system then makes a decision to turn the heat or air conditioning on and to open and close vents in rooms until the desired temperatures are reached.
Mars Volta: an automated shopping system
Matt Barr, Dean Glazeski, Jason Harper, Drew Rivard
This robot navigates a store area while automatically dealing with obstacles. The robot avoids workers in the area while wirelessly sending updates to and receiving directions from a central server.
Automatic Payment Kiosk
Donald Garrard, David Gotrik, Lakshmi Variyam
This project accepts currency, displaying the denomination and allows users to make cash payments instantly in a convenient location. This is intended to eliminate late payment charges, unnecessary postage and paper waste.
I.N.V.A.D.R (Intelligent Navigation Vision-enabled Autonomous Digital Robot)
Ben Barenz, Austin Steiner
I.N.V.A.D.R is an autonomous sentry robot intended to be a flexible alternative to standard security solutions. The system is designed on an ATV base platform allowing it to be operated in various outdoor environments. An onboard GPS and magnetic compass enables the unit to autonomously drive to pre-determined locations much like a security guards route. Once at a given location the unit uses an array of sensors to detect motion, light and sound. Upon an event the unit will automatically move an onboard camera toward the event area and notify a base station of the event. These features enable the I.N.V.A.D.R to be used as a drop in security solution where there may be no present security infrastructure, such as a construction site. The camera and sensors are mounted on a device called the turret. The motion, light, sound, temperature, and humidity sensors are on the fixed lower section of the turret and the camera, laser, spotlights, and range sensor are mounted in the upper section. The upper section sends video and audio back to the base station where it can be interpreted by the operator. Another key feature is an on board CB radio that allows the base station operator to speak over a load speaker mounted on the platform creating two-way audio communication. The I.N.V.A.D.R can also be remotely operated for uses such as remote visual inspection or research in areas or climates that are inhospitable to humans. As the base platform is a very power ATV it can be easily fitted with attachments enabling the I.N.V.A.D.R to be used for a variety of chores such as hauling debris to a dump site or even mowing the lawn.
Golf Swing Speed Monitor
Christopher Franco, Brooks Blohm
An essential part to improving a golf game is knowledge of the golfers’ swing speed. This knowledge is critical in determining the correct clubs, in turn, optimizing the skills of each individual golfer. Today, there are two different ways in which the swing speed may be monitored which are similar to our device. The Speed Stick is a device that is swung like a golf club and has a mechanical way of measuring speed. The Speed Stick doesn’t allow you to use your own clubs. The Power Meter is a device that clips onto the club and reads the speed electronically. The Power Meter doesn’t have wireless capabilities. Our device is a portable 7in. X 5in. X 4in. device, which accurately measures the speed of the club head at the moment of impact. Our device will display speeds from 60 MPH to 140 MPH which allows you to use your own clubs and has multiple wireless capabilities. Theoretically, neither of the aforementioned devices can measure swing speed as accurately as our device. Our device uses light modulation sensors to detect the speed of the club head. Signals are sent to ATMega32 microcontrollers which will produce the correct speed. The speed is displayed on a LCD screen, while simultaneously being transmitted wirelessly via a Digi Maxstream Xbee network to a separate smaller handheld device and a computer for logging data. Current switching technology was incorporated into the power supply to make our battery operated device last for a minimum of 12 hours. Our desired end result is an accurate, reliable, cost efficient, marketable device that will give aid to golfers and golf instructors everywhere.
RF Thermo Reader
Tomin Noutoua, Euphrem Agbatchi
This project monitors cargo temperature, with driver notification, for the transport of refrigerated and temperature controlled shipping.
Jonathan Huibregste, Aaron Krause, William Blevins, Aaron Sharp
The Capstone Copter is an autonomous RC helicopter. It has two modes of automation: Assisted flight and fully automatic flight. Assisted flight mode will assist the user with stabilized hover, take off, and landing. Automated flight mode will begin with the helicopter powering itself up, lifting off the ground, and hovering in place while acquiring its heading. It will then fly to its destination and gently land. A Windows™-based GUI for the control software will be in direct wireless communication with the helicopter. It will enable writing to the onboard microcontroller as well as reading and optionally recording data from several sensors on board the helicopter. These sensors include a pressure sensor for altitude measurements, an ultrasonic sensor for detecting proximity to the ground, a dual-axis accelerometer and dual-axis gyro for pitch and roll measurements, a compass for heading measurements, and GPS for positioning. Using data from the sensors, the onboard microcontroller will make adjustments to the helicopter’s servos to stabilize or control flight.
Well Control Network
Drew Pfeifer, James Devaney
A wireless reporting network for monitoring a natural gas facility has been implemented for Northern Natural Gas.