As part of one of the engineering capstone projects, a calibration testing system was improved with the aid of computer vision. Computer vision was integrated into this project as a solution to a rotating pedestal calibration test that was previously performed by the naked eye. The main goal of this system was to detect and track a red 635 nm wavelength laser spot with offsets as small as 0.025 inches on a 10 x 10 inch grid accurately and precisely. Designing this system involved three major criteria: camera selection, data processing hardware, and algorithm performance.
The first criteria studied in the design process was the camera. The system required a camera that was compact in size, covered the entirety of the grid at less than 11 inches, and captured high quality images. Furthermore, two main data processing hardwares were explored: Raspberry Pi and a standard test laptop. The processing hardware criteria considered were speed, portability, and maintenance. Finally, RGB and houghcircles were the two algorithms used to detect the red laser dot. Testing was conducted to compare the algorithms based on their ability to detect the laser spot, precision in tracking, and repeatability. These design considerations guided the down selects for the final components used in this system.
Author(s): Thomas Biesemeier Engineering Zach Hollis Engineering Ben Krause Engineering Talha Mushtaq Engineering
Advisor(s): Robert Bittle Engineering
Location: Session: 2; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 3
The LabVIEW team for the Applied Avionics Inc. project focuses on fully integrating the programming of all electrical components with LabVIEW. The major requirements for this project include utilizing LabVIEW to display and capture data feedback, completely automate the testing process, and to read and send data directly to AAI’s database. By creating an actuation and extraction feedback machine that is fully LabVIEW controlled, a variety of switch body types were able to be accommodated and tested. The machine has been shown to decrease variability of results and improve the efficiency of AAI’s current process in all aspects required.
We are presenting a method referred to as Hydrogen Production by HyPIR Electrolysis. The method increases the rate of hydrogen production from a 1 molar potassium hydroxide and water solution under 6 volts when an infrared laser is irradiated with an optimum wavelength of light through a cell and concentrated on exposed copper electrodes. The irradiating light facilitates the dissociation of water by stretching the hydrogen oxygen bonds and increasing the rate of hydrogen production. Production of hydrogen due to the class 4 laser is altered by the specifications of laser energy, pulses per second, and spot size.
In this experiment, the mechanical properties of 3D printed specimens of different printing parameters were tested under tension. The printing parameters of these specimens were: surface resolution, infill density, and print orientation. Parts were printed in Onyx nylon with a Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printer called the Markforged Onyx Pro. Factorial sets of specimens using all various parameters are printed and tested to create a reference table for future engineering projects. Specimens are then printed as composite variations with continuous fibers in order to understand the benefits a composite may have.
A racecar’s suspension is one of the key contributors to its performance on a track. Each component – springs, shocks, links, etc. – can be dealt with as a variable within a mathematical model. There are hundreds of combinations of these variables, with each change affecting the stiffness ratio. Using the sway bar as the variable of interest, data acquisition, and computer modeling, a mathematical was developed for predicting the stiffness ratio as a function of sway bar diameter. This model can simplify the time-consuming iterative process that is “racecar setup” by allowing a race team to plug numbers into an equation to make predictions instead of conducting on-track test sessions to determine the results of each component change.
PDF: Attached to this email.
In our project, image tracking was employed to provide a honing mechanism for a robotic "scorpion tail" attached to a small Remotely Controlled Vehicle. The car will be controlled wirelessly through a web interface, with mobile phones being the target user. Like the Mario Kart Versus Mode, where multiple cars drive and bump into each other, the vehicle will be controlled wirelessly while the "tail" is actively seeking targets and upon close proximity will "pop" the balloon. Each car will have 3-5 balloons to start, and the objective of the tournament will be to hunt down the remaining cars and “pop” their balloons, until all cars lose their balloons and the victor remains with at least one balloon intact. Python and Google Cloud were used to make a server with for the mobile website, and C++ was used to relay the commands sent wirelessly to the vehicle's two DC motors. Image tracking was implemented using the popular computer vision OpenCV library in python. The research will conclude with a tournament on Pi day (March 22, 2019).
Author(s): Chris Prasai Engineering Michael Chau Engineering Armando Romero Engineering Mike Tran Engineering
Advisor(s): Morgan Kiani Engineering
Location: Session: 2; 1st Floor; Table Number: 2
In our project, we aimed to design an autonomous rover similar to that of the popular Mars rovers such as Curiosity. Our rover employs a differential drive system with two continuous rotation servo motors that are controlled with the popular ROS robotic programming library in C++ and Python. A navigation algorithm employs the known position of the robot gathered from a magnetic encoder on the motors and the multiple optical range fidners placed around the vehicle to avoid obstacles on route to its destination. A camera is employed to detect target objects for simple pick-and-place tasks using its DC motorized gripper placed at the front of the vehicle. We have successfully built this vehicle and will demonstrate its capabilities at the 2019 IEEE R5 robotics competition in Lafayette, Louisiana as well as at the SRS presentation day.
Rotating Precision Mechanisms, Inc. (RPM) requested that TCU Senior Design update their current Laser Position Accuracy Test Set, which utilizes a laser to calibrate rotating pedestals. RPM positions this test system at a range of distances from a rotating mirror, passes a laser beam through an optical system to the rotating mirror, and measures the offset of the reflected laser dot in order to test the pointing accuracy and repeatability of their positioners. RPM requested that the redesigned test set deliver a reflected laser dot size within 0.125 inches when the test system is any distance between 10 and 100 feet from the rotating mirror. Our prototype for the redesigned Laser Position Accuracy Test Set relies on an optical component called a beam expander to cleanly extend the laser beam at the desired dot size over the specified range of distances. In order to design and manufacture this beam expander, our team researched optical collimators, beam expanders, and lenses in addition to using an Optical Ray Tracing software to model potential beam expander designs. After constructing and testing a working prototype, we completed several iterations in order to improve the resulting laser dot size. Finally, we compared our beam expander design to an Edmund Optics research grade beam expander to further quantify the success of our design.
Author(s): Bao Thach Engineering Sam Adams Engineering Ben Krause Engineering Irene Kwihangana Engineering Chris Prasai Engineering
Advisor(s): Morgan Kiani Engineering
Location: Session: 2; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 4
In our project, a control-theory based algorithm would be employed to develop a small electric vehicle that can self-navigate through an unknown course to arrive at the desired location while avoiding obstacles and walls. This project is an extension of our successful project funded last year, in which we were able to operate a partially autonomous car to run around a location, and generate a virtual map. Our team expects to grant the car full autonomy like a self-driving car and let it travel through a relative abundance of places to create computer models of critical infrastructures without the help of humans. The success of this project will have a broad impact on society. First, this capability would be useful in self-driving cars, which allow drivers to spend their time more productively instead of driving to work or assist disabled people. Second, the car can generate a simulated model of places that help to analyze unknown locations. Finally, the project can surely create a platform for future TCU engineering students to learn about self-driving car technology and machine learning. This project is expected to succeed due to the achievements we gained from the previous project.
The algorithm will be written in Python/ROS, controlled by Raspberry Pi 3, and tested on a walled course constructed by us. It should be able to navigate a course, without having already driven through it. Another special feature is that the car will also precisely arrive at a pre-determined location.
Flatfoot and cavus foot are postural issues that affect approximately 40% of people and can be corrected by means of orthotic inserts for shoes. A digitally reconfigurable mold is being developed as a tool for orthotists to visualize and fabricate orthotic inserts. The surface will be formed by an array of solenoid actuators controlled by the orthotist. The patient will stand on the reconfigurable surface while the orthotist evaluates the patient’s needs by manipulating the surface. Once the orthotist is satisfied with the array, the surface position will be held by a clutch system, so the patient can step off the surface and the surface positions can be recorded. This work describes my development of a prototype mechanical clutch for the digitally reconfigurable surface. The result of this project is a proof-of-concept design of an array of twenty-five physical clutch points which may be individually addressed by means of servo motors controlled by an Arduino microcontroller. With the development of this prototype, it is believed that such a control interface could be implemented on a system large enough for an adult human to stand on. This proof-of-concept is a small step in a larger project of developing a full-scale reconfigurable surface by which an orthotist could create posture correcting devices.
In this experiment, the mechanical properties of 3D printed specimens of different printing parameters were tested under tension. The printing parameters of these specimens were: surface resolution, infill density, and print orientation. Parts were printed in Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) plastic with a Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printer called the Stratasys UPrint SE Plus. Specimens were first printed similar to Stratasys published material properties standards and then tested to form a control on these known properties. Factorial sets of specimens using all various parameters were then printed and tested to create a reference table for future engineering projects.
From an engineering perspective, Rare Earth elements have the potential to transform technology in previously unprecedented ways. Their magnetic, luminescent, and electromechanical capabilities are allowing electronic devices to become more compact, reduce emissions, operate more efficiently, and cost less to produce and purchase. Such developments are proving beneficial to the economies of many developed nations because of their use in popular everyday consumer technologies as well as industries such as healthcare and education.
Along with this positive impact comes a political overlay that threatens the longevity of Rare Earth use. Presently, Rare Earths are expensive and dangerous to extract. This is largely due to the fact that they are not found together in large concentrations, so it is only economically feasible to extract them with another material, such as coal. The process of extraction is also hazardous and cumbersome; separating Rare Earths from other materials involves processes with high levels of emissions that may be dangerous to human beings if overexposure occurs. On the other hand, nations with more flexible safety and health regulations are investing in the development of Rare Earths and setting themselves apart as production leaders. Nations with more stringent health and safety regulations are becoming dependent on these nations to provide the Rare Earths for their applications. As a result, leaders in engineering industry can only benefit from Rare Earths if they develop systems that use Rare Earths more effectively than other materials commercially available and develop a reliable business relationship with a Rare Earth supplier. This condition is not likely to be encountered frequently in today's intricate social webs and economic systems.
The possibility of extracting Rare Earths through more efficient, safer processes is becoming recognized as a relevant topic of research. Additionally, investigation into alternatives to Rare Earths in some of the more common applications may allow for safer and less politically charged production methods for many 21st century advancements.
Through literary investigation, this research project seeks to highlight the main characteristics that makes Rare Earths desirable from an engineering perspective, proposed alternatives to Rare Earths based on engineering demands, and the direction of the Rare Earth industry as a result.
The goal of this project is to design and construct a small modular autonomous car with room mapping and obstacle avoidance capabilities. The vehicle would be useful in cases where it is dangerous for a human to complete a task, or where it is more efficient to have an autonomous vehicle to scout ahead. A key design goal for this project was also to create an inexpensive platform for research into the realm of autonomous vehicles. The car uses lidar technology to create real time 2D room map and detect obstacles. It is programmed to explore rooms and move without human input. We designed the car with a powerful on board computer, enabling it to run complicated programs and operate without the need of an outside computer.
The goal of this project is to develop a low cost and user-friendly device for remote actuation of light switches. We envision a product that is simple to install, easy to control via a remote, and able to function with a variety of light switch geometries. This device can minimize the inconvenience as well as the risk of injuries from turning the light on and off in the dark, especially for elderly people. For this target end user, the device must be simple and require no technical knowledge. Because of this, we have designed a mechanical actuator that will be mounted to the outside of a light switch without the need for tools and controlled by a simple button remote to be kept at the bedside.
Author(s): Jacob Tolbert Engineering Lindsey Elliott Engineering Maya Hall Engineering John Hofmeister Engineering Darian Nezami Engineering Matt Spallas Engineering Cole Vallow Engineering
Advisor(s): Mike Harville Engineering Stephen Weis Engineering
Tracking and recording data from high velocity objects is a difficult task, especially when the object is hidden from view during portions of its flight path. When tasked with this problem, the process of solving it began with copious amounts of research into existing and developing technologies. From thermal imaging to radar detection, many options were explored.
Through a rigorous process of elimination to determine the most efficient and cost effective option, induction coils were chosen as the speed sensing device needed to track the desired objects. Normally when current is induced in one of these coils, there is an unchanging frequency of that current. However, when a conductive material passes through the center of a coil, the original frequency changes. This change can be monitored, giving valuable information about an object's location when evaluated over a specific time period.
After hours of bench top testing, several conclusions were made about the production and effectiveness of the induction coils. Chiefly, it was found that the smaller the induction coil diameter the more effective, the object passing through the coil has a larger effect if it does not pass through the exact center, and the "sweet spot" for the number of coil turns falls between 15-25 turns.
Senior design SRS submission:
For our presentation we hope to speak on three of our major groups of our senior design team:
Our first piece involves using programmable logic controllers (PLCs) that are used as the electrical interface between the programming and the mechanical system. Through its own ladder logic program, the code enables the PLC user to dictate when certain relays should be opened or closed for the purpose of turning on and off the vacuum supply and power sources. The PLC then collects data from the pressure transducers so that a signal indicating the next step is sent back to the design. After reading the pressure associated with a certain head, the user can then close a solenoid valve by sending a signal to it via the PLC which will stop the flow of air. With the PLC, the user is in control of where the flow is going to and is consequently, able to modify it through the code. Although the PLC is not a power supply, it does have the ability of processing information by receiving and sending out specified actions, set by the user, to different electronic and mechanical components.
The second piece is based of a tool from a company called pave more. The “pave more” design is a design that picks up bricks from the hack to a separate location to pack them. The design uses separate heads that pick-up bricks using foam that creates a seal on the brick. The heads are connected to a vacuum that allows us to pick up the bricks efficiently. The heads are each on their own spring system that allows them to be picked up at different heights. They are also each on a separate solenoid valve that will sense a missing brick and close the valve to still allow the system to pick up the bricks. The vacuum system is connected to a filter to protect it from the dust and dirt that are on the bricks.
In this experiment, we examine the non-linear dynamics of a mechanical system consisting of an inverted pendulum with one free-turning rotational degree-of-freedom attached to a computer-controlled cart with one linear degree-of-freedom. Using a Quanser Linear Servo Base Unit with Inverted Pendulum and paired software package, we used first principles to develop the non-linear control system needed to move the pendulum from stable equilibrium to unstable equilibrium and maintain unstable equilibrium. This combines the self-erecting inverted pendulum experiment and the classic pendulum experiment. Through the paired software package, we were able to derive the dynamic equations to develop the transfer function and proportional-velocity feedback system that describe the linear motion of the cart, successfully creating the non-linear control system for both phases of the experiment.
This report examines the function, accuracy, and ease of use of an XBOX Kinect™ as a 3D surface scanner. The purpose of this experiment is to demonstrate the utility of a Kinect™ for XBOX 360 (Microsoft®) paired with Skanect (Occipital) and MeshLab software packages as a low cost solution to surface scanning and processing. My conclusion is that the Kinect™ is able to accurately model the recorded point cloud as a continuous 3D surface that matches the contour and scale of the test subject surface. Both Skanect and MeshLab effectively interpolated the smoothing of the 3D surfaces and provided higher resolution imaging than an unaltered image. The resultant resolution of the contoured surface is higher than the resolution of the 3D printers used in this experiment, demonstrating an effective digital duplication of a physical surface.
For this project, a digital grip gauge was designed for Lockheed Martin to measure the grip length of the aircraft skin of the F-35. The objective of the electrical group is to ensure that the gauge will be capable of recognizing when the measurement has stabilized. When stabilized, a light will turn on, which allows the operator to know the measurement is ready for reading. We developed three prototypes that each complete this objective. The first prototype uses two force sensitive resistors (FSR) powered by Arduino. The Arduino code is programmed to turn on a light when the forces on the sensors are equal for a certain range within different zones. The second prototype consists of a comparator circuit with two FSRs connected to a NAND gate. When both FSRs measure the same force, within a range, a light will turn on. The third prototype utilizes two small push buttons that complete a circuit. When both buttons are pressed, the circuit is completed and a light will turn on, indicating to the operator that the part is flush with the aircraft skin and the measurement is stabilized. While each of these prototypes satisfies the objective, the third prototype was ultimately selected due to size constraints of the gauge design.
Compressive line sensing is a process of acquiring data and reconstructing images. The objective of this study is to explore the impact of the two parameters that are used in the image reconstruction algorithm on the quality of the reconstructed image. These two parameters are the compression ratio and the line group. The compression ratio is the ratio of the number of measurements taken at each line vs. the resolution of each line. The line group is the number of lines that are grouped together and solved jointly when reconstructing the image. A higher compression ratio results in degraded image quality because less measurement data is used to reconstruct the image. The larger the line group, the better the quality of the image at a cost of longer computation time. The key is to find a balance between the compression ratio and line group choices so that the image is reconstructed with as little data as possible while still maintaining a high image quality. We will present images reconstructed with different compression ratio and line group based on the data obtained in air and in water.
The objective of our work is to design and build a depth gauge that efficiently and accurately measures the depth of a narrow hole, and give feedback via an electronic screen on the device. This design is being made for Lockheed Martin and will allow their employees to measure a large amount of rivet holes both quicker and more accurately than their current solution. Speeding up the measuring process while retaining accuracy will cut down on production time significantly. Our design was founded on the idea of a small hole gage, we modified the gage to be set up as a probe and anchor onto the back side of the hole. The probe has been coined as a “split-ball” due to its inner shaft splitting the outer shaft that contains a ball type end effecter. Our prototype has been through many iterations utilizing the on campus Fab Lab to 3D print most of our parts. Our mechanical team has been in close work with our electrical team to ensure that the mechanics and electronics function together seamlessly.
The objective of our work is to design and build a depth gauge that efficiently and accurately measures the depth of a narrow hole, and give feedback via an electronic screen on the device. This design is being made for Lockheed and Martin and will allow their employees to measure a large amount of rivet holes both quicker and more accurately than their current solution. Speeding up the measuring process while retaining accuracy will cut down on production time significantly. Our design is small enough to be held in one hand and contains a wire probe that is plunged into the hole and latches onto the other side. The probe is “Tweezer-like” in design, with two wires that collapse and expand with the use of a button. Many parts of our design are made using a 3D printer for convenience and repeatability. Our design is able to communicate with electronics stored within the gauge that measures the depth and displays to an LCD screen.
Klein Tools is a major hand tools manufacturer in US focused on electrical and utility applications for professionals. One of Klein Tools products is called a fish rod that is used by professional electricians to pull wiring through walls, conduit, and plenums to route wire from one place to another. The current fish rod assembly process at Klein Tools involves manual dispensing of glue into the metal connectors before affixing them to fiberglass rods. The objective of this Klein Tools-sponsored project is to improve the throughput of assembly system and increase the accuracy and the consistency of the amount of glue dispensed to reduce product failures and adhesive waste.
The overall system in development consists of an automated metal connector orientation system, conveyor belt assembly, a glue dispensing system and a control system. Through the application of vibratory hopper feeders, pneumatic rotary tables and grippers, sensing cameras, break line sensors, and a conveyor belt, the system will orient the metal connectors glue side up, and present the connectors with adhesive to the operator for final assembly of the fish rods.
In this research project, the aim was to create a small, self-operated robot car to transport items. In addition, the robot-car can generate a distance when traveling through unknown places, and self-locate them in the next travels. The student authors hope that this robot car can be used to physically communicate and send medical supplies between severe patients and doctors in hospitals.