The app idea originated from the expense of testing such basic physical properties as Young's modulus, a standard measure of the stiffness of a material. Instron force testing machines, typically used to measure properties like Young's modulus, are very expensive. In the field of bioengineering, materials tested are often much softer and do not require the full force of the machine. Furthermore, Instron machines are also utilized for labs, yet students don't usually require the full precision of the Instron to complete their work. A portable, cheap way for mechanical and biomedical engineers to measure physical properties is as simple as utilizing the accelerometers in the smartphone. This then evolved into the full EngineeringKit, a user-friendly virtual toolbox with 4 engineering features, all of which usually require more expensive equipment or a greater investiture of time, and brings them together for convenient usage.
What it does
EngineeringKit has 4 features:
Young's modulus, Calipers, Material Properties, & Mathematics.
How I built it
Built in Android Studio with the Java language; makes use of the phone's accelerometers
Young's Modulus - Uses the phone's accelerometers and known mass and area of the object to calculate stress-strain graph and display it with a graphing library
Calipers utilize listeners for screen touch events and allowing the user to drag lines across the screen to fit against the object needed, then converts the distance between these lines to inches.
Material properties utilizes Google Voice API or text entry to listen for a query, then uses Wolfram Alpha API to search a specific answer, hand-parsing the XML string for the correct data
Mathematics similarly uses Google Voice API or text entry to listen for a query, then uses Wolfram Alpha API to search a specific answer, hand-parsing the XML for a correct image of the needed equation.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Implementing the Wolfram Alpha API by querying their website and returning the relevant information for the search.
What's next for EngineeringKit
Calibrating Young's modulus calculator more thoroughly, implementing a Kalman filter to increase its position-sensing accuracy; allowing for stepped force input rather than just constant force which would primarily be useful for only viscoelastic materials; allowing for three-point bending with a 3D-printed attachment to phone case; allowing for calculation of shear modulus