So if you’ve been following the phenomenal DIY application that has made it to sites like Gizmodo and Cars.com, you might be interested in the detailed How-To docs that the guys behind this wicked-awesome app created. Just in case you haven’t checked out their blog ( which you should!), here’s some of the technical materials they’ve shared with us:
This tasty chunk of code comes from the RoboSavvy Forum, a great place for hobbyist and robotics enthusiasts to find low-cost robotics kits, materials and information.
Mr. Richard van der Wolf from the Netherlands created his own open-source RoBoIO library in LabVIEW, which allows you to communicate with and control the Roboard RB-100. This board is compatible with several robot kits that are already out there, including the Kondo Humanoid Robot ( KHR), Hitec’s Robonova, the Robotis Bioloid and Robobuilder. In addition, if you build your own hardware platform from scratch, you have plenty of communication standard options to choose from. You can find all the info you would need on the board’s hardware here, on the RoboSavvy site.
Measuring with electrical sensors is so… passe! The new kids on the block: optical sensors. These come in many forms, shapes and form factors, and are mostly derived from the telecom boom in the late nineties. There is more and more interest for this type of sensor, especially in the area of structural monitoring.
There are two groups of optical sensors: instrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic optical sensors change the property of light within the fiber itself, while extrinsic optical sensors change the property of light outside the fiber. An example of extrinsic optical sensor is a simple on/off light detector, which outputs a digital ‘1′ when there is light and a ‘0′ when light is not present. Extrinsic sensors are often used in security systems, toys and more.
Intrinsic optical sensors are not quite as common as extrinsic sensors. An example is Fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors. FBG sensors are created by “etching” periodic variation of refractive index to create a mirror that only reflects a certain frequency of light, or commonly known as color. As the fiber expands/contracts due to strain or temperature variations, the color reflected by the FBG changes.
The optical fiber with embedded sensors can be seen mounted on the wing.
Optical strain gauges are being evaluated and used by NASA, and you can see them mounted on an aircraft wing. They are also used by civil engineers in structural monitoring for buildings and bridges.
Engineers and scientists are now starting to see value in optical sensing and instead of adapting telecom technologies for sensing, are designing new innovative products and solutions tailored for measurement applications.
What are the advantages over electrical sensors you ask? It’s immune to corrosion, electro-magnetic inteference and lightning, it allows for many sensors on one single fiber, and requires no calibration. It’s a dream come true! – Nathan
Okay, this is one is a little crazy: these guys are playing Half-Life, with real guns. Is it necessary? No. Is it cool? Hell yeah! This is how they did it: they projected a first person shooter (FPS) game on a dry wall with 4 mounted accelerometers. Using the vibration measurements and graphical software, they were able to determine where exactly the bullet landed, and feed the coordinates to the host PC, where it converts it into a shot in the videogame. The key DAQ ingredient for this? Tightly synchronized, simultaneous 24-bit ADCs.
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