Next week we will attend the German Final of Jugend forscht – after we have won the local and regional competitions. We also got a special prize for our project because it is an innovation for disabled people.
Our project developed with the different levels of Jugend forscht – the higher we got the more sophisticated our design was because we spend even more time in-between working on it 😉
On the local level we had a little model platform performing as a wheelchair – it was controlled by an Odroid U3 (still the best choice, since it is extremly fast!). We build an Arduino aound it to take care of user input (calibration of tracker) via potentiometers and steering the H-Bridge we developed for the little motors. After we won the local science fair we decided it is time for something bigger – so we went and bough a real wheelchair!
We spend 2 weekends soldering, drilling and 3D-printing and developed everything new from scratch. This time we used the brand new raspberry Pi 2B, because it was supposed to be much faster than the old one and much cheaper than the Odroid U3. And we took motors from window washers from a car junkyard. This time we used relais to reverse and control the motors, since they used a lot (!) of more current than our H-bride could take. Of cause you could develop an electronic solution for this, switching currents of up to 20A each, but we were short on time and wanted to keep the costs down (for easier rebuilding – and we used up the money we won in the first round as a price as well).
Then we won the regional competition – and decided it’s time for more safety: So we build another system that checks for objects in the way. If we would have more time, we would have loved to move to laser scanner, but at the moment this is off limits 😉 Ultrasound sensors may disturb each other if used close to each other, so we decided to take some IR Range sensors and experimented with them. We just finished now – and the competition will start next week…
You can find the paper we wrote for the competition here – we updates the previous version:
Our project is hereby officially licensed under the creative commons licence BY NC, meaning it is free for everybody to rebuild, modify, improve it – as long as you mention the project’s origin. Oh, and of cause you are not allowed to make money with it – it is free for everybody for the benefit of all 😉
Wish us luck for next week’s competition – I will post the results here …