2015-06-13 (Sa) Vibrating Distance Sensor

Before instructions were published for the vibrating distance sensor there was a discussion with the president of Twin Cities Plus. Design and form were discussed regarding the angular shape of the printed enclosure which does not fit easily into a hand and is not pointed intuitively. The suggestion was made to use a flashlight as the enclosure since it is intuitive to hold and should provide ample space for electronics. Simple D-cell flashlights were searched and the Rayovac Value Bright flashlight was chosen because of its large bezel and large handle. This classic looking flashlight should feel natural to anyone even those those with reduced motor skills in the hand.

Once the ultrasonic distance sensor was confirmed to fit inside the bezel of the flashlight measurements were taken to create an adapter plate. An adapter plate was modeled to attach a distance sensor through a disc which would attach to the flashlight where the lens would usually go. The distance sensor footprint file was reused from the Self Contained Haptic Distance Sensor project. Similarly the same file was used in the previous version of this project and the Cyborg Distance Sensor. Only a 2mm thick disc was modeled and the footprint was subtracted to create the adapter.

Model of adapter

 Adapter put into gutted flashlight

Ultrasonic sensor taped into adapter

Electronics for a vibrating distance sensor were soldered using an inexpensive wire 9V battery connector. The previous version used a 9V connector with a clip integrated into the shell. Changing to a cheaper 9V connector is a significant cost saving and appropriate for this project. Completed electronics were programmed using the code already written for the vibrating distance sensor. No changes were made to the code. The ultrasonic distance sensor was held in place with a wire and tensed in place with a bottle cap. To hold the vibrator a piece of double-sided tape was placed on the printed adapter.

Flashlight shell and electronics

Electronics attached to adapter

Unfortunately the 2mm thick adapter plate was not thick enough to prevent wobble. Printing a thicker version will eliminate this. Transducers on the ultrasonic distance sensor extend beyond the bezel of the flashlight which could become problematic if users were to set the device down on the sensing end which seems like a natural tendency. Retracting the transducers into the enclosure would be logical or printing the adapter with extensions to protect the transducers. Holding a battery will also be important.

Integrating the flashlight's switch would be beneficial but replacing it with a commercially available switch may be simpler.

Files for Vibrating Distance Sensor:
The OpenSCAD files below are not necessary unless you want to change something

To Do:
  • Improve adapter for flaslight
    • Hold battery
    • Retract ultrasonic transducers
    • Thicker ring
  • Find and integrate switch
  • Write instructions

The rest of the posts for this project have been arranged by date.

First time here?

Completed projects from year 1.
Completed projects from year 2

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2015-05-05 (Tu)