Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Concept: PIR Switch for energy saving/security applications

It is said that necessity is the mother of all inventions. This is one such product that evolved based on one of our internal needs.

To save energy in our lab where several 36W lights glow most of the time when nobody is using the lab. Considering the work at lab, it would be a difficult proposition to ask the people working in the lab to switch off lights when not in use. So we designed our own PIR sensor based Switch that switches off lighting when nobody is around. Also, when someone enters the room the lights come up again.


PIR sensors rely on changes in passive infra-red light received to determine presence or non-presence of people. This combined with a controller/timer to switch off light after the preset duration of non-activity and to switch on the lights when someone enters the room solved the problem!

There are many designs of such products available in the market with different cost and features.

Issues with PIR sensors:
Like all optical sensors, Sunlight can play havoc with it and make it generate false positives. After some due exploration we found a technique to eliminate false positives from the sensors and make it work. So our prototype works very well compared to the raw sensor signals. It avoids false triggers when used indoors despite sunlight peering in from Windows/doors.

Outdoor applications?
As much as we would love to have an outdoor version of this, sunlight plays havoc with the sensor. However these sensors can be used for night time applications of security/monitoring of any movement/people inside a compound/perimeter.

To know more about the product, visit our website and check out the 'Activities' link on the left side. 

We are in the process of turning it into a formal product. For any product/design enquiries, you can get in touch with us. Contact info at our website: http://www.ideas-unlimited.in

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Robot designed by SJCE students with lab support from Ideas Unlimited...

This robot along with another matrix navigating robot was designed by students from the Mechanical and Instrumentation Departments of SJCE, Mysore (Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering, Mysore) for a robotic contest at IIT Mumbai. The students developed two robots as part of this contest. Ideas Unlimited allowed these students to use the lab facilities at our premises for their activities.


Gripper Construction:
One the key elements on this robot was the construction of gripper. The gripper was constructed using ordinarily available aluminum channels and hand tools for cutting/drilling them. the gripper claw was put together using blind rivets. (Ingenious technique using available off-the-shelf material). The gripping portion of these parts were lined with rubber to ensure adequate grip is available on any material the claws may hold.








Disclaimer: Ideas Unlimited was not involved technically in making of these robots. At that point of time when these robots were built by the students of SJCE, Mysore, due to legal obligations Ideas Unlimited consciously avoided getting involved in any aspect of this robot development. Funding for the project was done by Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering, Mysore.

However Ideas Unlimited due to its association with Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering, provided the lab area and lab test and measurement equipment, mechanical tools, and equipment  for doing the necessary mechanical, electronic fabrication and software programming devices to these students.

The team:
The design of this remote driven robot is owned by the following students of SJCE, Mysore:




Vinod T S
  Mechanical    



Chaitra R
Instrumentation 



Preetham T S
Instrumentation 



Chaitra V
Instrumentation



Sreenivas R
Instrumentation

In one of the future posts, we will post about the matrix navigating robot made by the same students using line-follower technique.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

e-thumb: Electronic Thumb-wheel Switch concept from Ideas Unlimited...

Eventually when made into product form, this prototype will be tiny electronic-thumb-wheel switch module that can be mounted on a panel. The device uses a 5X7 dot-matrix LED display. It uses EEPROM to store the chosen setting. Video below demonstrates how the switch mimics a mechanical thumb-wheel switch.


Applications:
1. Industrial applications to replace mechanical thumb-wheel switches with bright and visible displays.
2. In-flight/In-Automobile (Commercial) entertainment system - can display currently chosen channel number etc. (Software can also be adapted to scroll additional text if required.)
3.Panel meters to display any slow changing parameters. (Including automotive).

For any further queries or general interest on this technology, e-mail us.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

GLONASS Navigation modules from Geostar Navigation Design Bureau

(Technical information republished with permission from the company that makes these modules.)

Following up on from the earlier post on different navigation systems,this post talks specifically about commercially available and off-the-shelf GLONASS based modules that are just becoming available in the market.  'Geo-Star Navigation Design Bureau' has a host of GLONASS/GPS Hybrid modules. Instead of competing with GPS system, these modules use both GLONASS and GSM signals and the module vendors claim to achieve accuracies of under '3 meters'! 

As mentioned in the earlier post about different navigation systems around the world, the GLONASS system was designed to be compatible with GPS, Galileo and Compass Navigation systems, so a GLONASS module can get the best from every navigation system available.

A wide variety of modules for different applications and casing options including a SMD module GeOS-1M that is 33 X 35mm. Geo-Star also provides Demo-Kits for developers who want to adapt/try out the modules.

Ideas Unlimited is in the process of evaluating GLONASS modules for a specific area of Navigation application which could use high accuracy.

If you require any further technical information about the modules, do get in touch with Geo-Star Navigation by e-mail. If you require any kind of evaluation or development/development support on these modules, you can contact Ideas Unlimited by e-mail.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Satellite based Navigation systems from around the world.

GPS (Global Positioning System) launched by USA is the dominant satellite navigation system around, and also the most commercialized navigation system available as of today. Many other countries are building their own or competing systems for terrestrial navigation for their commercial and/or military needs.

System
[External Links]
Status Country of Origin Notes
GLONASS Fully Operational since Sep 2010 Russia Started during Soviet Union in 1976, system was restored starting 2001. Now fully operational since Sept 2010.
GALILEO Targeted to be operational by 2014 EU and European Space Agency Intended to provide more accurate signals than GPS and GLONASS. Project jointly run by EU and European Space Agency
COMPASS /BEIDOU-2 To cover China and adjacent regions by 2010/Early 2011, to expand to rest of the world by 2020. China Not an extension, but an alternate to GPS and GALILEO systems.
IRNSS Expected to be operational by 2014. India Regional Navigation System envisaged by India, to be developed by ISRO expected to be operational by 2014.

Among the projects, GPS and GLONASS are now fully operational. This link here provides a brief two page technical comparison between GPS and GLONASS [External Link, PDF].

Commercially for civilian applications, a lot of ready off-the-shelf modules are available.  GLONASS modules have just started to emerge for civilian/commercial use.

Advantage of GLONASS:
By design, in GLONASS three signals were added around 2007 where the carrier signal frequencies were placed nearby to GPS, COMPASS and GALILEO signals, however not to interfere with the other systems. This enables GLONASS modules to be easily compatible with GPS, GALILEO and COMPASS signals by design resulting in low-cost and easier design for Multi-Standard GNSS receivers based on GLONASS standard. (Source: Wikipedia).

This arrangement results in more accurate and precise positional information due to a Multi-standard receiver and also a more reliable service availability. Military applications are finding it attractive because of the availability of an Alternative in the event of a hostile situation.

Some of the GLONASS modules now becoming available commercially demonstrate higher accuracy using this scheme. In one of our future posts, we will analyze one such GLONASS/GPS Hybrid module.

Friday, October 29, 2010

About the 'Ideas Unlimited' Blog...

Official blog of Ideas Unlimited, Mysore. (URL: http://www.ideas-unlimited.in). We will be posting regular updates with in-depth views on specific technologies that interests us and/or technologies we work on. It will not be yet another technology blog.

(ಐಡಿಯಾಸ್  ಆನ್ ಲಿಮಿಟೆಡ್  ಮೈಸೂರು ಬ್ಲಾಗ್ )