Hello everyone, and welcome back to another weekly design challenge summary. It’s the Fifteenth and final week of the Sixth Sense Design Challenge and the third week of the PiCasso Design Challenge. Lots of progress has been made over the past week, but before we get to the good stuff, let’s take a few moments to learn more about the challenges, their challengers, and what hardware they are using. 

 

Sixth Sense Design Challenge

 

About The Challenge

 

Featured as the final Design Challenge of 2018, this challenge task its participants with upgrading an existing robotic device such as a drone, remote control car, or any other remotely operated robot to give it a so-called sixth sense. This could include adding a fire suppression system to an RC helicopter, thermal imaging to a rescue robot, or any other feature that improves on the effectiveness of its host robot. While ten project proposals were chosen to be the official projects of the challenge, entering the challenge is not limited to just those sixteen community members. Anyone can join the Challenge as a non-sponsored Challenger, and still be eligible win one of the three prizes. If you are a non-sponsored challenger all you need to do is integrate the components from the official challenger kit into your design, and post 10-weekly blogs detailing your project’s build.

 

The Official Kit

 

The Sixth Sense Design Challenge is sponsored by STMicroelectronics, and TE Connectivity. Each challenger will receive all of the components below plus a wide assortment of additional passive, and digital components to build their projects with. If you would like to enter the challenge for yourself, or if you just want to follow along at home, you can purchase all of the components in the kit right here at Element14.

 

From STMicroelectronics

From TE Connectivity

To learn more about each of these components as well as the other components included in the kit, visit the official kit announcement page or click the links above to purchase them for your project.

 

The Prizes

      • Grand Prize:Lulzbot Taz 6 3D Printer
      • Runner Up Prize:Lulzbot Mini 2
      • Finisher Prize:  It’s a surprise! To be eligible, a challenger has to complete their project, use products from the challenger kit, and post at least 10 updates in the Sixth Sense Design Challenge space.

 

The Past Week In Review

 

Over the past several days, March 24th - March 30th, we have had a total of thirteen updates posted for four projects. This week, I will be highlighting three of my favorite updates from this past week, but before I get to that, let's take a look at which projects were updated.  

 

 

This Week’s Top Updates

 

Project: R2B4 - Sixth Sense Design Challenge Blog  #10 - The TE Connectivity Magnetic Angle Sensor

 

 

With just days left to go before the Sixth Sense Design Challenge is over 14rhb is scrambling to finish up. In his project’s tenth update he began working with the TE Connectivity Magnetic Angle Sensor by etching his own breakout board. Unfortunately some issues with the Op-AMPs he planned on using to help amplify the sensor’s signal prevented him from getting the readings he was hoping for. “Had I really planned ahead I could buy a much better and applicable amplifier device or I could have even asked the nice people at Texas Instruments for a few samples. A quick look at the TI products pages shows the new INA821 to be very capable,” he wrote... “Although I can still get the input voltage to vary from the KMT32B I cannot get any variation on my op-amp outputs. This is very interesting stuff but something I haven't really used for many years - I can see some refreshment of principles and a few rainy weekends of experimentation being required by me here! I aim to stock up on a few generic analog devices and wait for a rainy weekend to come along.”

 

This update also covered the steps he took to rework his drivetrain from a 4-wheel drive design to a 2-wheel drive design. “As suggested by dougw I swapped from 4-wheel-drive to 2WD but added in the larger GT2 pulleys giving me a 4:1 reduction on the stepper speed; this would increase the torque by a factor of 4. To accomplish this I had to swap the pulleys and remake the drive belts.” Head over to the full post to read more about his drivetrain solution, as well as the issues he experienced with the magnetic angle sensor. As a bonus, he posted a quick demo video of the robot moving about his patio under its own power.

 

 

Project: GraffitiBot - Sixth Sense Design Challenge Blog  #19 - Printing Graffiti

 

 

Final week troubles seem to be plaguing many of the Sixth Sense challengers, and Douglas Wong is right in the thick of it. With just hours to go, the project is plagued with power issues. The GraffitiBot will move under its own power but is having issues actuating all of its pumps. At first Douglas thought that this might be the result of a battery with a low charge, but charging the battery did not solve the problem. Douglas then thought that maybe the small wires connecting the pump motors to the motor controllers might be too small, so he replaced them with larger cables, but unfortunately, the problem still persisted. He then swapped the battery out for one with a higher current rating and did a quick test run. As you can see in the image above, the robot was able to successfully print something that looked like an E, and if you watch the video he included with the full post, you will see it attempt to print “E14.”

 

“So I have enough juice for one run (I think), I have only enough roadway (paper towel) for one run, and I have not gotten it working well enough to sort out the pixel timing or flow rates or steering stability, etc,” he wrote. “I don't even know how far it will travel, so I don't know how to set up the camera. It all comes down to one last-ditch attempt to get something printed ..... no pressure ... only four months of work all riding on 10 seconds of suspense with a boatload of unknowns. Who said there was no drama in engineering?” Personally, I consider this test successful as the GraffitiBot was able to use water to print on a surface, and with some fine tuning, I am sure it will function well.

 

 

Project: Automatic Weeding Robot - Sixth Sense Design Challenge Blog  #15 - Final Countdown

 

Our final featured update this week from the Sixth Sense Design Challenge might be one of the scariest and most awesome robots I think I have ever seen in a Design Challenge. After getting a pair of servo actuated scissors mounted to the robots chassis, Cheah Wei Leow was able to take the robot outside for its first test run. Using the TE Connectivity load cell to sense grass tall enough to give a reading, the robot engages the scissors, and chops down any heavy grass or weeds that are in the way. “The load cell FX1901 is mount in front of the scissor to sense any grass (hitting a big enough weed will give a reading to load cell),” he wrote. “It can run on grass but doesn't really follow any good logic. it just goes ahead, senses the grass, and cut. The problem is the success rate is also 50% at best. the scissor easily runs out of power (due to driving it with F411RE pin)." Head over to the full post at the link above to see the Automatic Weeding Robot in action.

 

 

PiCasso Design Challenge

 

About The Challenge

 

Featured as the first Design Challenge of 2019, this challenge task its twenty participants with creating their artistic masterpiece using a Raspberry Pi Model 3B+. Challengers can either push their boundaries by using the computing power of Pi as the brains of their artistic work or to improve the aesthetics of their surroundings.

 

While twenty project proposals were chosen to be the official projects of the challenge, entering the challenge is not limited to just those twenty community members. Anyone can join the Challenge as a non-sponsored Challenger, and still be eligible win one of the three prizes. If you are a non-sponsored challenger all you need to do is integrate the components from the official challenger kit into your design, and post 10-weekly blogs detailing your project’s build.

 

 

The Official Kit

 

The PiCasso Design Challenge is sponsored by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Each challenger will receive all of the components below plus a wide assortment of additional passive, and digital components to build their projects with. If you would like to enter the challenge for yourself, or if you just want to follow along at home, you can purchase all of the components in the kit right here at Element14.

 

To learn more about each of these components as well as the other components included in the kit, visit the official kit announcement page or click the links above to purchase them for your project.

 

The Prizes

      • Grand Prize: DJI Mavic 2 Pro Videography Drone
      • Runner Up Prize: Nikon D3500 DSLR & Lens Kit
      • Finisher Prize: Raspberry Pi Arcade Kit. To be eligible, a challenger has to complete their project, use products from the challenger kit, and post at least 10 updates in the Sixth Sense Design Challenge space.

 

To learn more about the prizes, head over to the PiCasso Design Challenge Prize Page.

 

 

The Past Week In Review

 

Over the past several days, March 24th - March 30th, we have had a total of six updates posted across five projects. This week, I will be highlighting three of my favorite updates from this past week, but before I get to that, let's take a look at which projects were updated.  

 

 

 

 

This Week’s Top Updates

 

Project: Kinetic Art Mobile - PiCasso Design Challenge Blog  #3 - Will it go round in circles?

 

 

With the backbone of his Kinetic Art Mobile designed and 3D printed, and its propulsion system tested, Gene Breniman was ready to move on to testing the system out in full scale. After assembling everything, the mobile would spin in one direction just fine, but failed to spin in the opposite direction when the second fan was energized. After some detective work, Gene discovered that despite the fans he used having the same part numbers, one fan’s blade pattern was inverse to the opposite fan, preventing propulsion in the opposite direction. Once that issue was corrected, the mobile was able to spin both directions, but did so more slowly than expected. “The arm is moving far more sluggishly than I had hoped.  In closer inspection of the fans in the orb, it appears that I still might have the wrong fans in place,” he wrote. “I had initially tested one of the fans (green label???) which appeared to be exhausting air on the labeled end of the fan.  The orb currently has two blue labeled fans, which appear to be blowing air through the orb and exiting on the opposite side.  This is not the preferred direction, as this is pressurizing the orb and likely losing propulsion in the process.” Gene included two videos showing the mobile spinning in both directions, as well as an update on how he overcame the sluggishness he mentioned earlier. Head over to the full post at the link above to check it out!

 

 

Project: Art-a-Tronic - PiCasso Design Challenge Blog  #5 - In the Meantime, at Depot09.

 

 

When Enrico Miglino set out to build project Art-a-Tronic, there were several unknown variables that would need to be sorted during the build that would dictate what roles the electronic hardware played in the design. One of these unknown variables was the internal structure of the Mannequin that would be used. “Until I have not opened (surgically, obviously) the mannequin it was not clear of the internal space, structure robustness and thickness, and other variables,” he wrote. But with the rotational hardware sorted in the last update, he was able to move forward and perform surgery on the mannequin, which proved there was ample space inside to house all of the electronics discreetly.

 

With so much room, Enrico decided to utilize an Arduino to control the LED lighting, torso rotation, and audio levels, while the Raspberry Pi 3B+ will handle the more computational-heavy tasks such as telling the Arduino when to rotate the torso based on background noise levels when viewers approach the exhibit. “The Arduino functions are called by the Raspberry Pi 3B+ through a USB-serial connection and a set of single-character commands. In the first experiments, I used an Arduino UNO R3 but I will definitely use an Arduino MKR 1010 so some behaviors of the mannequin can be controlled remotely through the Arduino IoT cloud,” he wrote… “The Pi act in this context as the brain of the system. It receives information from Arduino controlling the responses depending on the visitors and environment changes and interactions. For example, when a higher loud level is "heard" by one side, the torso will rotate to this direction until the audio level is balanced between left and right, as much as possible. In the meantime, the Raspberry Pi will stream online the live camera replicated locally on a 5 inches HDMI display, part of the equipment of the Borg. To be honest, the mannequin is not a Borg but it will have a number of Borg-like technological implants.”

 

This update was quite thorough and packed with information on how the systems will work in conjunction together to make the exhibit a success, and I highly recommend heading over to the link above and taking some time to read through the entire post. 

 

 

Project: Adapting Art to Ages - PiCasso Design Challenge Blog  #2 - OpenCV Face Detection

 

 

Art has always been subjective in nature, and different people from different generations, walks of life, and different cultures appreciate art differently. That fact is the core of Frank Milburn’s project for the PiCasso Design Challenge. In his project’s second update he explores the use of computer vision and how it can be utilized to recognize a viewer’s interest and adopt the art that is displayed to their age or specific interest. Using a Raspberry Pi 3B+, and OpenCV, Frank uploaded a set of images of his face and a toy doll to give the Raspberry Pi a baseline what each “person” looks like. “To start, a limited number of photos has been used to train the facial recognition AI. The subjects are myself and a doll my granddaughter plays with when she is at the house. The doll is being used since there are no grandchildren at hand to serve as unwilling subjects,” he wrote… “It seems to recognize me fairly quickly when facing head-on.  This isn't too surprising since all the dataset photos are head-on.  It is slower to pick up the doll and misidentifies her as my granddaughter.” Frank says that he will explore how to improve the accuracy of facial recognition in future updates. Head over to the full post at the link above to watch the demo video, and read about what steps he wants to take to improve the results.

 

 

That is going to wrap up this weeks coverage of the Sixth Sense Challenge, and the Picasso Design Challenge. If you have not yet done so, please take a moment and check out all of this week's updates, and show our challengers some love in the comments section of each update post. Check back next week for another weekly design challenge summary.