Our makerfaire project has come to an end, and now we can reflect. I worked with Phillip Augustynowicz and Ethan Mui on this project (and their blogs are at phillipaugustynowicz206384.blogspot.com and ethanmui.blogspot.com). Our project was the Self Parking Chair, or SPC. The SPC uses IR signal receivers to detect when it need to move ad where it needs to go. It uses ultrasonic (distance, using sound) sensors to detect when it is near or under the table and pushes itself in neatly. It is built using VEX metal parts, wheels, and motors. It is powered by an Arduino Mega ADK microcontroller with our hand-written code that determines what to do in every situation. It can even do multi-point turns! We used a second Arduino for emitting IR signals, but you can use a regular TV remote too. It follows the 8 elements of a good maker project, except for time, as we just barely finished it on the last day with working outside of class. This is an innovation, not an invention, as it has been done before (see our research below). It's not a new idea, but we took a different approach by using more consumer-friendly parts and IR sensors.
Science: The chair makes use of IR transmitters and receivers, which employ infrared light to output and receive data. We cannot see this type of light. The chair also uses ultrasonic sensors, which use sound pulses to detect a distance away from an object.
Technology: Devices such as an Arduino board, VEX motors, and various sensors are being used in order to operate the chair.
Engineering: We built the base of the chair and encasing for the Arduino and motors, and did our own coding for the Arduino board powered movement of the chair.
Math: Measurements have been taken in order to assess the size of the base in proportion to the seat.
On February 14, 2016, Nissan unveiled a chair that they called the intelligent parking chair. This was our inspiration for this project.
This sparkfun tutorial guided us when using the motor driver shield.
This Instructables guided us with setting up and coding the IR Sensors.
This sparkfun blog guided us to using specifically VEX motors with our specific motor shield.
This descriptive tutorial helped get our IR sensors working.