Oct 112018

Concept 1 – Sonar

For Figure 2.1 below shows Concept 1-Sonar, a turbine will collect the wind, an electric motor will propel the vehicle forward, and multiple motors will be used to turn and navigate the track. To convert the collected wind energy, this design will use a generator turned by the turbine to create DC electrical energy, which can then be stored in a battery. The electrical energy stored in the battery will be converted to motion through the use of a DC electrical motor, that form of motion will be converted to a more useful type of motion by a gear system, and wheels will transfer the motion to forward motion by the vehicle. This design will use a button to activate the device, sonar sensors to read data, and programming to determine the executable-that is, whether it should turn or drive forward.

Reality Check: This design concept meets all the criteria for the Requirements List. The battery, gear system, and motor ensure that the device is able to propel itself forward, and it has a mechanism to facilitate forward motion, I.e. the wheels. The parts selected for this design can all be purchased, making them standardized and easy to replace. Furthermore, this does not place any restrictions on the requirement that parts can be replaced with little effort. The turbine-generator-battery combination makes it possible for this concept to fulfill the requirements that the device can convert the moving wind into another form of energy and store it. Lastly, using programming and sonar sensors, this device will be able to complete the tasks recognizing when it needs to turn, and turning itself in a controlled manner will be accomplished by a gear system.

Figure 1: Concept 1-Sonar

Reality Check: This design is one of the most feasible ones. Through the figure above, it is easy to see how the robot will be assembled. The turbine is connected to generator which will charge the battery. This will be used to connect to the rest of the components together. The device is able to meet all the requirement list and will be functional. The multiple motors will be used to navigate the robot. Building this robot will also be very feasible and cheap from the available parts. Some energy might be dissipated as heat but most of it will be retained. The programming will also allow simple maneuvering. Despite everything, this is a feasible design we can go forward with.

PMI:

  • Advantages
    • Parts are relatively cheap
    • Parts are standardized and simple
    • Generator can double as motor also
    • Easily steerable facilitating easy navigation
    • Doesn’t contact wall as it will be able to remain constrained
    • Battery has discharge rate limit
  • Disadvantages
    • Programming can be fickle
    • Gear system has energy losses
  • Interesting Features
    • Most likely to work and work well

Reality Check: This device could be assembled with great ease.  Some parts, like the generator can have a dual purpose, which limits the number of parts and simplifies the assembly.  The motors can also be bought as a kit with wheels, which reduces assembly work.  The only parts that would take a decent amount of time to set up would be the sonar sensor, which requires getting its direction and position correct for useful readings, and the control board, which requires a bit of coding to ensure the device behaves properly.

Concept 2 – capacitor

For Concept 2-Capacitor, the solutions to material tasks are the same as Concept-1 Sonar; where these designs differ is their means of storing and managing energy and information. Rather than a generator, this design will use an alternator to create AC electrical energy from wind energy to be stored in a capacitor. A motor will be used to convert the stored energy to motion, and that motion will be redirected through the use of a pulley system. This design also utilizes wheels to transfer the pulley motion to forward motion by the vehicle. Concept 2 will feature a switch to activate the device, infrared sensors to read data, and programming to determine an executable.

Reality Check: This design concept leaves ample room to be able to accomplish every item on the requirements list. The electric motor paired with the powered capacitor allows the device to propel itself forward, and the wheels are the means by which it can move forward. Once again, the parts selected are off-the-shelf items which are mostly standardized, and the device can still be built so that parts require little effort to replace in case of breakage. The turbine-alternator combo allows the moving wind to be converted to a storable form of energy, which is stored in the capacitor. This device will use infrared sensors and programming to know when and to what degree to turn, and multiple motors will allow for turning in a controlled manner.

Figure 2: Concept 2- Capacitor

Reality Check: The rough assembly of the robot above is quite feasible with some pros and cons. The use of turbine is the most appropriate because of its high efficiency in converting the energy. The parts being used are cheap and therefore, the robot will remain under the budget. The change to an alternator is feasible since it has a high energy output. The robot will be easy to assemble since all the parts being used are standardized. The use of a capacitor will be excellent since it can charge quickly. With multiple motors, the robot shall be easy to maneuver. However, the robot will have some flaws too. The infrared sensor can be inaccurate due to variance in lighting. The belts from the pulley can slip and might hinder the efficiency. The discharge rate of the capacitor will also be hard to regulate. Despite everything, this is a feasible design we can go forward with.

PMI:

  • Advantages
    • Parts are relatively cheap
    • Parts are simple
    • Alternator has high energy output
    • Easily steerable
    • Doesn’t contact wall
    • Capacitor is fast to charge
  • Disadvantages
    • Programming can be fickle
    • Infrared reading can vary with lighting changes
    • Belts can slip
    • Hard to regulate capacitor discharge rate
    • Must rectify voltage from alternator
  • Interesting Features
    • Would work well

Reality Check: This device could be assembled with ease.  The motors can be bought as a kit with wheels, which reduces assembly work.  The parts that would take a decent amount of time to set up would be the alternator, which would require a rectifier and separate charging circuit, the infrared sensor, which requires getting its direction and position correct and testing in different lighting conditions for useful readings, and the control board, which requires a bit of coding to ensure the device behaves properly.

Concept 3 – Alternator

Concept 3 – Alternator uses the same first 3 components as Concepts 1 and 2, the turbine, electric motor, and multiple motors. Similar to Concept 2-Capacitor, this design also features an alternator as its primary means of converting wind energy to electrical energy, however the energy will then be stored in a battery rather than a capacitor. A motor will convert electrical energy to motion, a gear system will convert (redirect) the motion, and wheels will carry out the forward motion of the vehicle. Just like Concept 2-Capacitor, this design utilizes a switch, infrared sensors and programming to manage information within the system.

Reality Check: This design concept is also able to meet all the criteria of the requirements list. The device is able to store energy from the alternator in the battery, which will allow the device to propel itself forward. All listed parts are standardized parts and can be assembled so that they require little effort to replace. Furthermore, this design uses a wind turbine and alternator to convert the moving wind into another type of energy. This concept accomplishes controlled steering using multiple geared motors, and infrared sensors and programming tell it when it needs to turn or drive straight.

Figure 3- Concept 3-Alternator

Reality Check:  This is another feasible design that will be able to meet all the criteria on requirements list. Standardized parts are used in the robot. With multiple motors, the robot will be easily maneuvered and steered. Once again, the alternator will provide a high energy output, but the voltage output from the alternator will have to be rectified. The gear system will be connected to some dissipation of energy.  Despite these minor flaws, this is a feasible design we can go forward with.

PMI:

  • Advantages
    • Parts are cheap
    • Parts are simple
    • Alternator has high energy output
    • Easily steerable
    • Doesn’t contact wall
    • Battery has discharge rate limit
  • Disadvantages
    • Programming can be fickle
    • Gear system has energy losses
    • Infrared reading can vary with lighting changes
    • Must rectify voltage from alternator
  • Interesting Features
    • Would work well

Reality Check: This device could be assembled with ease.  The motors can be bought as a kit with wheels, which reduces assembly work.  The parts that would take a decent amount of time to set up would be the alternator, which would require a rectifier and separate charging circuit, the infrared sensor, which requires getting its direction and position correct and testing in different lighting conditions for useful readings, and the control board, which requires a bit of coding to ensure the device behaves properly.

Concept 4 – Pulleys

Like the previous concepts, Concept 4-Pulleys will also use a turbine, electric motor and multiple motors to complete the sub-functions in the material category. This design concept uses a generator to create energy and a battery to store it, a motor to convert it to motion, pulleys to convert the motion, and wheels to drive forward. Concept 4-Pulleys also uses a switch, infrared sensors, and programming to carry out verb-noun tuples related to information.

Reality Check: Concept 4 fulfills every wish and demand on the requirements list. A generator powered by a turbine converts moving wind into a storable type of energy, which is stored in the battery. An electric motor gets its power from the battery and allows the device to propel itself forward. This design also uses wheels to carry out motion. Once again, parts can be standardized and easy to replace because this design does not replace any restrictions on those requirements. Lastly, the device is able to turn using multiple motors, and is able to recognize when it needs to turn using infrared sensors and programming.

Figure 4- Concept 4-Pulleys

Reality Check: This design also meets all the criteria from the requirements list. The parts are standardized and cheap to purchase. The generator being used can also be used as a motor. The use of a battery is good since it can store the energy from the generator and has a certain discharge limit, unlike a capacitor. Because of the infrared sensor, we can be sure that the robot will not touch the boundary of the track. However, the infrared reading can vary with the lighting levels of the competition room. Despite these minor flaws, this is a feasible design we can possibly go forward with and build.

PMI:

  • Advantages
    • Parts are cheap
    • Parts are simple
    • Generator can double as motor
    • Easily steerable
    • Doesn’t contact wall
    • Battery has discharge rate limit
  • Disadvantages
    • Programming can be fickle
    • Infrared reading can vary with lighting changes
    • Belts can slip
  • Interesting Features
    • Easy to build and will work well

Reality Check: This device could be assembled with great ease.  Some parts, like the generator can have a dual purpose, which limits the number of parts and simplifies the assembly.  The motors can also be bought as a kit with wheels, which reduces assembly work.  The only parts that would take a decent amount of time to set up would be the infrared sensor, which requires getting its direction and position correct and testing in different lighting conditions for useful readings, and the control board, which requires a bit of coding to ensure the device behaves properly.

Concept 5 – Winding drum

Concept 5 – Winding Drum also uses a turbine to collect wind, however rather than using an electric motor to induce forward motion, a falling weight and potential energy will be used to create kinetic energy, and a pivot axle will be used to be able to turn the vehicle. This design concept is unique because it uses a winding drum to convert wind energy to potential energy, gravity to store the energy, and the weight falling will convert the potential energy to motion. A pulley system converts the motion so that the vehicle can drive forward on wheels. This design also uniquely uses a lever to activate the device, and a lever to read data, and mechanical linkage to determine an executable.

Reality Check: This design concept is able to do everything on the requirements list. A turbine in conjunction with a winding drum convert the moving wind to potential energy, and it is stored with a weight up in the air keeping potential energy until it is released. Gravity then acts upon the object once it is released, the weight falls slowly and the potential energy is converted to kinetic energy, allowing the device to propel itself forward, facilitated by wheels. This design does not cause any difficulty with using standardized parts or building the device so parts are easy to replace. Finally, this design uses a lever and mechanical linkage to determine when it should turn, and a pivot axle allows for turning.

Figure 5 – Concept 5-Winding Drum

Reality Check: While using a lever and mechanical linkage is functionally and technically feasible, this is not as precise as other discussed options in Concepts 1-4. The parts will be quite easily accessible and cheap to purchase. Weights can be easily carried on the robot, which also can be used to propel the robot forward. However, the belt on the pulley can slip, leading to inefficiencies. There are also various other ways there will be a loss of energy in the robot through the mechanical linkages. Since this robot uses the wall to navigate, there will be drag from the wall too. This is a purely mechanical design, which is interesting, however, might not be easy to implement.

PMI:

  • Advantages
    • Parts are very cheap
    • Uses wall to passively steer
    • Carried weights can propel the device
  • Disadvantages
    • Belts can slip
    • Lots of energy loss through mechanical linkages
    • Clear limit on energy storage
    • Drag from running along wall
  • Interesting Features
    • Purely mechanical
    • Passive operation with no sensor input

Reality Check: This device could be assembled.  While there would be some difficulty in determining which gear/pulley ratios would be needed to wind the drum to lift the weights use that to power the device, everything is purely mechanical and thus could be assembled to completion.  In other words, there would be nothing needed, like programming or adjustment, once the device is completely assembled.  It could also be made entirely from scrap wood or other discarded materials, keeping costs low.

Concept 6 – kite

Concept 6-Kite is by far the most creative solution; it uses a kite on a spool of string to harness wind energy, a pressure differential to cause forward motion, and castors to allow for turning. This design uses the turbine to power a compressor; converting the energy to potential energy, which is stored in a pressure vessel. A small engine harvests the potential energy in the pressure vessel and converts it to rotary motion, which is converted through the use of a pulley system. Finally, Concept 6-Kite uses legs to transfer the motion.

Reality Check: This design is able to accomplish all the requirements on the requirements list. A small engine powered by a pressure vessel allows the device to propel itself forward, facilitated by legs. A kite on a string powering a compressor converts the wind into potential energy, which is stored in the pressure vessel. This design concept also does not create any unnecessary difficulty with using standardized parts which are easy to replace. Furthermore, this design is able to execute turns using castors. The device will decide which direction to go randomly, but due to the confines of the track, once it runs into a wall it will have no option other than to continue along the path.

Figure 6: Concept 6-Kite

Reality Check: This is an eccentric idea that is possible, if not hard to achieve. As a group, we decided to work on this design to challenge ourselves and think out of the box. We wanted to think of atypical solutions, as they will have advantages and disadvantages compared to more traditional solutions. The kite would be pushed by the fan, unwinding a string, which would cause an axle to spin. This axle would run a compressor to create a pressure differential, which would be stored using a pressure vessel.  The pressure vessel would power a small compressed-air engine. Pulleys would be used to magnify the force produced, in order to power the legs.  The legs would most likely work similarly to a Strandbeest. For navigation, it would be voice activated. As it moves, the lever would choose the direction it turned randomly, using the castors to facilitate the turn. Its random motion is not efficient or intelligent, but it could theoretically complete a lap.

PMI:

  • Advantages
    • Legs can traverse various types of terrain
    • Simple navigation
    • Kite can pull large length of string for increase in power generation
  • Disadvantages
    • Compressor is highly inefficient
    • Compressor/engine can be costly
    • Kite is unreliable
    • Complicated system
    • Navigation is unreliable at best
    • Pressure vessel and compressor/engine are heavy
    • Belt can slip
  • Interesting Features
    • Voice activation for hands-free operation
    • Completely air powered
    • “Walks” along course while bumping into walls

Reality Check: This device could be assembled, but it would not be easy.  Finding a compressor and pressure vessel unit that is both cheap and lightweight would be a difficult task.  We would then have to interface the compressor/engine with the winding drum of the kite, which would likely necessitate a custom machined component.  Compressed air would also be difficult to work with, as it has a propendency to leak, which results in the loss of stored energy.  Finding a voice-activated electronic air valve would also be a challenge.  Making a leg-based propulsion system would surely be entertaining, but it would also take a good deal of time to make a linkage that moves correctly.  Further, getting the device to tend towards the correct direction randomly would be quite the task.

Pranav Mohan

Change and progress are two words that define my character and my ultimate goals. I have a vision to bring a global change by targeting the psychology, because that is the easiest to change. My aim is to incur a self-progressive routine for myself and then help the people around me to progress themselves. In my perspective, walking towards a defined target should be everyone’s goal while keeping in mind that things don’t go as planned but still the target should remain unchanged.


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