The final result of the project was an IR signal controlled remote control car. I chose this since having something move is usually more fun than having something that doesn’t move. The Idea went through some amount of change from when I first proposed it. The original idea for the project was to make a drivable roomba. However with tears in my eyes, I decided to scrap the cleaning bit and just make a remote control car. After some deep thought, I realized that all I would be doing to transform my remote control car into a mean cleaning machine was attaching a rag to the car. No tech would be added, it probably wouldn’t clean too well, and if the rag did somehow manage to collect dirt I would have to have a way to replace it. Therefore I decided to just switch to making a remote control car (if I am really desperate to make it cleaning I can just staple a wipe to the back).
There were 4 systems on the car. The wheels, the collision detection, the ir control, and clap detection. Each wheel was attached dc motor. These motors were each attached to the 5 volt power and a npn transistor which in turn was attached to ground and an output pin. This allowed for the wheels to be spun whenever the output pin was high and the circuit was completed. The collision detection used an ultrasonic sensor which was wired to the arduino. Distance was calculated by transforming the time it took between sound being sent and received into a estimated distance. The ultrasonic sensor was pointed so that the distance calculated was to the nearest object in front of the car. IR control was made up of and IR receiver and IR remote. The remote sent signals to the receiver which was sent to the arduino and decoded to find which button was clicked. Clap detection was made up of a single microphone sound sensor. The amplitude of the sounds picked up would be sent to the arduino. Altogether, the wheels were powered depending on the last IR signal received (if decoded to 4 left wheel active, 2 both, 6 right, 5 neither, anything else no change). If the distance was within a certain threshold and the car was moving was both wheels powered it would be stopped and only one wheel at a time could be powered until there was no longer an obstacle. If the amplitude detected by the sound sensor was over a certain limit all wheels would be stopped.
There are already many remote control cars. If one was to turn the original idea into a real product you just need to either cross breed a vacuum and an rc car or add a remote control feature to the roomba.
There was one glaring deficiency in the project. The powersource was too big for the car and had to be held alongside. Since I was using a portable phone battery meant to refill a phone several times over, this isn’t a shocker. However, even though an easy fix would be a smaller battery, I believe the layout of sensors and boards could have been rearranged such that everything fit. I think this would have been made even easier if had I chosen to go with four wheels and a square chassis as opposed to the three wheels and triangular chassis present in the current design.
For the ESE 190 Final project, I will attempt to build a remote control car attached to a swiffer pad. I attend to make the car move using to DC motors attached to two wheels. There will also be two wheels without motors for stability. I will have two different modes for the device, manual and automatic. In manual mode, the user will control the car using bluetooth from a computer. In automatic mode, the car will drive in lines and change direction only when an obstacle is detected by a proximity sensor. Furthermore, when in automatic mode, I will use a sound sensor to stop and start the car with claps.
Arduino, Bluetooth module, 2 x DC Motors, Proximity Sensor, Sound Sensor