Saturday, January 23, 2010

EYE (coordinate measuring machine)

What don't kill you made you more strong..I'm here to present you the project that I currently work with. The others Vortex Electrica members already show up their final year project. Now, it;s my turn. ;p

I'm not really sure about my thesis title because it always change due to the time. But there are basic targets for the system to operate which :
  • System should be able to do coordinate measurement by using single camera and a laser pointer.
  • System have the ability to perform basic detection of external object from a predefined area and pointing the laser mark on detected object.
FIGURE 1 : Laser Pointer Mechanism.

I'm more interested doing research and experiment in the field of sensor and how an electronic system interact with outside world. This project will cover a simulation of how the interaction of an eye and the brain with the help of light reference can perform a task in doing polar distance approximation.

Mobility of any robot really depend on their sensor. Image processing offers variation of algorithm than can replace infrared and ultrasonic range sensor. For a distance measurement, stereo vision is used. But to give more narrow and precise coordinate measurement, multiple camera needed.

FIGURE 2 : Plan view of trigonometry distance approximation.

There are no extra-ordinary super complex method implemented here. The idea is to try the other method rather than stereo vision system for distance approximation to mono vision system with the help of light reference for coordinate approximation. From Figure 2, simple trigonometry is used to make approximation calculation using a distance,d and other two angles reading from internal image camera angle and mechanical laser pointer rotation angle.

FIGURE 3 : View from inside camera and image angle calculation.

The precision of the system should be as precise as a narrow laser point area on the object. Rather than measuring a distance of the object to the system, perhaps this system will give a coordinate from a point on the object surface to the system after critical mechanical calibration.

To get a better servo motors response, fuzzy-controller is used to make sure the laser is pointing directly on the interest object(red dot in FIGURE 3) with less oscillation error. This process monitored using real-time image processing(MATLAB).

Challenge that will be faces will be error in coordinate calculation approximation due to non-precise mechanical construction and non-linear of camera behavior. Artificial Neural Network will be a good solution for those non-linearity approximation but the speed of system response should be consider.

This is just a brief introduction about my project. Technical stuff will be discuss later. Hopefully we do have time to share all the ideas together. All the best guys!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Vortex Electrica Swizzled!

The Vortex Electrica logo Swizzled by yours truly.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Vizier of Weather Systems

(Crackles knuckles) Here we go.

Being a final year student, the thesis titles brought up to the attention of the Electrical Engineering (EE) students are somewhat watered down to suit the students' capabilities. Like I said before, we are all seriously underestimated by some of the lackadaisical lecturers, so let's just say that I measure students' barometer by the level of pride they put in their work in their thesis projects. It doesn't need to be 'fanciful' (the type with acronyms of techno-savvy stuff with superfluous words... oh you'll get it when you get there), but being meaningful is what this is all about.

My thesis supervisor (beautifulmind's as well) went for a technology convention in Geneva 2005 (check out for a smart cane for the less capable) and out of 1300 exhibits, his innovation came out Number ONE. How did he do it? In my own words, I say "An idea which is expressed with authenticity and meaningfulness is always favored over the ultra-complex fuselage of engineering enigmas which is not unknown" ..

So, my interests has always been about being a hacker in electronics amalgamated with structure and with a dash of moderate programming (ask my fellow bloggers) so I googled for low cost sensors for the scrooge and found out about low cost humidity sensors using scraped carbon film resistors, then the next two months' worth of Googling, a solid idea came through: An electronic weather station featuring mobility, solid state per se, fully constructed and improvised by a Vortex Electrica member!

I can't spill out the details now, remember it is a patented thesis, (or so I was informed) but I'll be glad to share the rest of the circuitry, the electronics, and the structural integrity which is essential in the construction, all in this blog after the submission of my dissertation. Some are original discoveries, some are improvised, and some is the icing on the cake, so to say.

I truly spent a lot of time gathering information on this, so see the pictures with the knowledge I spent nearly a year building it. This project is due for exhibit for the MTE 2010 in Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur between 4-6 February

Here are the pictures of my work:

Figure: CRAE Solid State Weather Sensor System

Figure: Some of the electronics

This system is designed to measure:

a) Ambient temperature
b) Barometric Pressure
c) Humidity
d) Rain precipitation
e) Wind Speed, and
f) Wind Direction

The cost of the electronics is around RM100 as opposed to the commercial weather transmitter, WXT510 which is around USD 3000 (around RM10000). If this may replace the current model, oh my. The discoveries (Bi'iznillah) with Allah's guidance include the wind sensors improvisation which helped me complete a solid-state wind sensing system.

Figure: Commercial Weather Transmitter WXT510, priced at USD 3850 (

The rest of the details will be uncovered in four months time, InsyaAllah.

That's all for now. See you again!
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