2020-06-18 (Th) InCompass

First off, I am still awful at naming, and hopefully, someone can come up with a better name than "InCompass" for a compass that goes inside. This idea goes back to 2014 when I made a similar quip about my naming conventions.

I've changed my stance on implantable batteries, but I tried to make a mechanical haptic compass for years. Now, I am going to work on an electronic version with the M5StickC. I picked this unit because it has more than enough hardware built into an inexpensive unit. Eventually, I will remove the excess parts and miniaturize on a custom PCB, but that is a long way off.

I sketched out a plan to break up the work into logical iterations. One of the biggest problems is that magnetic compasses do not work well in cities, and they are even worse when they're next to the metal frame of a bicycle. The Inertial Measurement Unit in an M5StickC has a 6-axis IMU, which foregoes the magnetic sensors, so it is a prime candidate for an inertial compass. There are only a couple of GPIO, but I can add a vibrating motor to make it haptic.

The testing will start by programming the microcontroller to track north from my shoulder and display the calculated orientation on the screen. My shoulder makes a reasonably consistent position since it will be upright when I am awake, making long-term testing more straightforward. After I work out those bugs, I will strap it to my bicep, which will make the sensor perpendicular and add some motion. Next, I will reorient and strap it to my chest, like a NorthSense. When it works in that way, I can program it to work from my pocket. If the programming is robust enough to withstand all these directions, I will strap it to my ankle, which is probably where the first implant will go, and make it the final proving ground for the prototype.
Positions and sequence for a wearable

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

Completed projects from year 1
Completed projects from year 2
Completed projects from year 3
Completed projects from year 4
Completed projects from year 5
Completed projects from year 6
Completed projects from year 7

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