Here is a list of projects completed over the past few years by members of the UCSB IEEE Student Chapter:
Update: UCSB IEEE achieved 4th place in the 2010 ViaCar competition!
Here are a couple of images of the Natcar '12:
Here are a couple of images of the Natcar '14:
This Tesla Coil was a solid state tesla coil built to act as a speaker. The idea for a Tesla Coil was born on some calculations quickly written down in Mar Vac. A group of UCSB IEEE students got together and within 24 hours built a tesla coil that electrified (and sent more than a few devices haywire).
But while the original Tesla coil is no longer with us, and many parts and documentation have been lost to us, there is still more fun to be had from tesla coils. There is a solid state Tesla Coil created by our very own lab manager Peter Krogen. It is mainly used to show off to possible recruits with an ipod attached. But every once in a while someone does a project that involves some sound output, or remote power transfer, or we just feel like taking it out. That is when things get fun.
Some pics of the tesla coil in production:
The first experiment is after fixing up an amp from the ECE free stuff table and then hooking it up to a member’s, Maurice Le Doux’s, guitar. So far I have two videos up, though they don’t look very good and are slightly buggy from the Tesla coil. Hopefully more are on the way.
Chronologically this experiment happened before the first experiment but unfortunately it was the second to be added. In this experiment Peter found a laser in the chemistry trash pile. The laser was damaged internally (the filament had sagged) and we didn’t have the exciter (power supply). Luckily, the laser tube still had argon gas in it so we put it next to the Tesla coil and it lit up like a fluorescent light.
This project is actually a project I am doing for a class called ECE194o/CS190c, taught mainly by Amichi Amar and Bob Frankel. They are teaching the class how to program microcontrollers in a language that they wrote called Em. The interesting thing about the language is that it will implement a scripting language’s ability to get you far away from the code and an object oriented languages ability to create reusable code, for something with so little memory as a microcontroller. There is however a downside to the fact that we are writing in a language that as far as I know, only 22 people seem to know. Documentation is practically nonexistent, and we can’t roam the web for forums with people who’ve already had a problem we’ve had. As it is, this’ll be an adventure that’ll probably be documented here.
This project is going to be a security system that makes knowledge of someone in your room without your knowledge more accessible by implementing text messaging or email into the system.
The idea for my project seems to be that I look for input from PIR sensors, which will be bought soon or found in the IEEE lab. I will have an ethernet port on at least one of the microcontrollers. Lastly, I found an old keypad that a friend took off of an old phone off of the ece departments free stuff table. What this will all eventually lead to is probably a microcontroller (the Atmega168) to poll the PIR sensors and if there is any information to send it will use an ethernet port to route it to an email address that will send a text to a phone that someone is there. the keypad will allow for disabling in case internet is down.
Autonomous Estuary Research Vessel
The UC Santa Barbara campus possesses a feature relatively unique to the west coast of North America: a lagoon. The ecological properties of estuaries like the UCSB lagoon are rarely studied formally and are not very well known to the scientific community. One of the main reasons for this lack of study is a lack of efficient means of collecting a large amount of meaningful data from such small, shallow bodies of water. An efficient, autonomous, cost-effective means for obtaining a large amount of meaningful data from estuary environments is presented.
The AERV System will be a robotic, autonomous, self-propelled catamaran type boat equipped with a suite of ecological data sensors and a signal processing and self-guiding navigation computer. The boat itself will be able to function alone for weeks, collecting data from every point in the estuary with only occasional human intervention. The AERV will communicate via radio with an internet-connected base tower on land, which will store all of the collected sensor data and function as a command-and-control data server. All of the sensor data will be available to authorized users through the internet from anywhere around the world, and the boat can be manually controlled to perform any task through the same system.
Research and design for the project is divided into several distinct segments: Computer systems, Sensors, Structure, Communications systems, Power systems, Propulsion systems, and Interface.
Unfortunately, the project had to be disbanded due to lack of time that could be spent on the project itself. If, though, you would still like to contact the club about this project email it at email@example.com.
More information on the project:
The communication system will handle two integral functions of the boat: location measurement and data communication. The ecology data the boat will collect is fundamentally spatial, so the accuracy of the location measurement tied to each data point is essential to the usefulness of the data. To maintain a high level of precision, the boat will use two GPS units to infer its location. The GPS units are identical 12 channel micro-miniature GPS receivers spaced approximately one meter apart, which will be oversampled by the computer system while measurements are being taken to resolve the boat’s location with a projected error of less than one meter. Sensor data and command-and-control instructions will be sent over a radio frequency data link with the interface tower using a Zigbee radio transceiver. At the tower, a computer will store sensor data and make it available over the internet.
The boat’s onboard computer system will be responsible for:
Navigating the Lagoon
radio communications with the land-based server tower
The computer system that will be implemented has not yet been decided on. We are considering a high performance Atmel AVR microcontroller and a low power computer. There are many advantages to each. The microcontroller has extremely low power consumption, design simplicity, and reliability, whereas the computer offers more flexibility, the ability to be reprogrammed remotely.
The interface is the hardware and software which will receive and handle the data transmitted by the boat and issue commands to the boat. The boat will transmit sensor and state data through a ZigBee radio link to a land-based tower, which will consist of a Zigbee radio connected to a computer connected to the internet, contained in a weather resistant housing.
The interface will be a frontend for managing the boat remotely, using a custom data protocol. Authorized IEEE members or researchers can upload waypoints or manually control the boat’s propulsion system, and schedule data collection as desired. The interface will also act as a data server: all of the collected sensor data will be stored on the interface computer and will be available on a website open to authorized members.
The boat’s power system will consist of batteries, solar panels, along with charging and switching circuitry. We have not yet estimated the power requirements for the boat as a whole because the propulsion and computer systems have not been decided on.
The solar panels will be constructed with a solar cell array placed on a backing covered with a polycarbonate shield. Energy will be stored in nickel-metal hydride cells arranged in multiple 12-volt packs, which will be connected in parallel with other packs.
Due to the nature of UCSB’s partly-cloudy weather patterns, the boat will run directly off of the batteries. The charging controller will charge the batteries with the available solar power to allow the power controller to supply a constant voltage to the other subsystems using extremely efficient switch-mode voltage regulation circuitry, regardless of the weather conditions.
The boat will need numerous sensors. We will need extremely accurate sensors for the lagoon measurements to maintain integrity of the measurements. The rest the sensors are for surviving in the lagoon. Mainly, we are interested in safely navigating the lagoon, and not running out of power.
Below water sensors:
Above water sensors:
The boat is being designed around a dual-pontoon catamaran model which will be constructed from three main assemblies: the exoskeleton, the pontoons, and the sensor drop reel assembly. The exoskeleton will contain the electronic components, and will be made entirely of aluminum. The exact design of the exoskeleton is not finished, but will consist of an aluminum box with aluminum tubing supports coated with weather resistant paint to resist corrosion.
The pontoons will consist of one-meter-long clusters of four, 4-inch diameter ABS or PVC plastic pipe, capped at the ends. Each pontoon will be covered with a reflective coating or paint and strapped to the exoskeleton. The main energy storage batteries will be stacked into some of the pontoon pipes and will be waterproofed at wire openings.
A reel assembly will use an electric motor to raise and lower the sensor drop probe into the water. The reel will sit in the exact center of the boat to keep the center of mass near the geometric center of the boat to avoid tipping problems.