Week 23 - Raspberry Pi Device working

This week, we were able to integrate our Raspberry Pi device to run our GUI and send commands to the podcars. We did this by implementing an Xbee module onto the Pi through USB and applied the COM port of the GUI to that of the Xbee. Once the transmitter is set up correctly, we were able to send commands to the podcar and it is able to implement the directions as we needed.

Below is a video showing how the system works:

Week 20 - Multi Pod Capability

This week, we have successfully added multi-pod capability to our controls system. We can now flawlessly choose whatever pod we want and choose a destination. This is the final major milestone of our project. From this point, we just need to add the rest of the auxiliary components and get a lot of testing done.

In the upcoming weeks, the small scale track will become operational. At this point, we will be able to fully test our controls system and ensure it is robust. We will be testing feature operation status, battery life, heat output, and overall reliability of the system. In tandem, we will be adding safety features such as slowing around corners, set-distance pod following, and add a kill switch.

Week 19 - GUI is finished

This week, we got a look into the overall progress of the SPARTAN Superway. We sat down and watched all of the full-scale team presentations, which gave us a much needed update on what to expect from full scale by Maker Faire. We have completed our GUI at this point, we just need to attach all of the different buttons to functions. One of the main functions that still needs to be added is multi-pod capability. We have a layout and pseudocode for how the program should work, but it has yet to be coded.

In the next week, we will focus on adding multi-pod capability to our controls system. This is so we can pick the exact pod and time that we want to call it. We plan on being able to demonstrate this capability in next week's Superway meeting.

Week 18 - Spartan Superway Controls

This week, we presented our first presentation of the semester. In this presentation, we went over the current progress of the controls team and what we plan to do for the rest of the semester.

We started by detailing our new GUI interface created through Python. The user will be able to set their current position and destination in the GUI, which will then be sent to the podcars via the Xbee modules.

We also went over our current fabrication progress. The miniature prototype we finished last semester allowed us to create a working control system without the need to wait for a track or bogie. Near the end of the semester, we were able to take apart an older podcar and put the new components in it, allowing us to test everything to make sure the pods run the way we want them to. Once we have finished testing, we will purchase the rest of the components to complete all the podcars. We hope to have a working track by then to test multiple pods running at once.

Overall, this semester we w…

Week 17 - New concepts for the track

This week, we listened to a lecture from an architect about possible different designs that we could use for supporting the full-scale superway. The talk was very informative, but ultimately didn't contain any information that we would be able to use.

Moving forward with the week, we will focus on making more features possible with our GUI by changing the Arduino code to allow more inputs. By doing this, we will be able to allow the end user to have many different options when it comes to picking a pod, destination, speed, and path. We will also be making changes to the GUI to make it look more professional such as adding pictures and text packages.

Week 16 - Lightning Talks and Planning

This week, we presented our lightning talk as well as watched the other group's talks. This gave us much needed insight as to the overall progress and future of our projects. We then solidified our budget and we are now able to begin ordering parts. However, we will most likely wait a couple of weeks so that we are sure exactly what we need to order.

In the coming weeks, we will be finalizing our parts list and then ordering the parts. At the same time, we will be learning processing language and testing the viability of other languages. We will begin construction our controls systems in the next few weeks.

Week 15 - Semester two Kickoff

This week, we met with the rest of the senior project classes to check in and look at the schedule for the semester. After this, we went to the Superway room to further discuss each group's individual goals. Then we were told that our first lightning talk would be the following week.

This week, we will be getting ready for the first lightning talk and continuing research for our controls system. Our group will focus primarily on continuing to tweak our controls code as well as learn about user interfaces and how to create them.