The cost of a experimental rat ranges from 10s to 100s$ depending on the type of the type of rat. Any simple research work requires around about 30 rats and the total costs run in thousands of dollars. In most of the cases, these experiments require high precision while working with the subject any misalignment renders the rat to be a wasted resource. Moreover, the activity of aligning and realigning the point of interest on the subject with the drill is time consuming and frustrating. Our product tries to solve these two issues and cut down on the total costs of procurement and save man-hours by automating the alignment process to help researchers focus on the research rather than worry about the other nitty gritties.
What it does
The Self Calibrating Testbed allows the users to place the subject on the system and simple select the point of interest on the subject where the drill needs to be made. Any misalignment in the point of interest with respect to the drill are notified to the user and the system moves the drill to align itself with the point of interest. The system was able to detect misalignments as small as 0.3mm giving us a high accuracy.
How we built it
A real time image processing is done on the subject to allow the user to select the point of interest. Once the point of interest is selected, the motors align the drill to the point of interest on the subject.
Image Processing Unit
1) Blob Detection to capture the dimensions of the test bed so that the mapping between the test bed, the camera and the motor frame can be done properly. 2) Optical Flow to detect the deltas between the original point of interest and the misalignment. 3) Live streaming the data to the web for remote control.
The two motor drivers control the X Axis and the Y Axis motion of the drill. The inputs to the driver are given by the Image processing unit.
This entire system is deployed to the web using a server running on the Pi for ease of use and mobility.
Challenges we ran into
1) Getting the delta in the mis alignment. The Test bed and the camera need to be perfectly aligned for accurate measurements in the offsets. Also the motor drive frame needs to be in align with the over all system. 2) Building the mechanical part. 3) Streaming video to the net and registering the points of contact remotely.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
1) Able to measure small offsets of less than 0.2mm. 2) Real Time alignment without any delay. 3) Remote operation over the web.
What we learned
1) Image processing 2) Motion Control 3) Rats are COSTLY!!!
What's next for Self calibrating test bed
1) Record the video being streamed for analysis and history. 2) Increase the resolution of finding the offsets. Next goal would be < 0.1mm 3) Z-axis motion.
It is easy to use and mobile. Works over the internet.