My Design Idea got selected for a contest! YAY!!

Well I got selected for the road test and design contest so yay! I am not sure as to when we begin since I have not received any notification of the kits having been dispatched. Once that happens, I will start counting the days when I actually receive the materials and I can do some measurements for the final design enclosure.

So what is my Idea?
For transporting perishable materials, there is a need to monitor the good. I initially had an idea as to how I can use wireless power in an application where the device or in my case, a smart container has the electronics integrated into the product and we can charge up the battery wirelessly. The concept still is more or less the same, but I am beginning to add other components to the mix. I am now looking into using the Raspberry pi as a wireless base station that will talk to the container and convey various parameters such as temperature, orientation and sudden acceleration and de-acceleration for the box. The applications are vast and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The challenge will be doing programming for the MSP430, python for Pi and what not all the while designing the SYSTEM not the modules.
Right now I am waiting for the kits to arrive. The cadsoft eagle will be useful but I would have liked it if they had gone with a free forever license rather than the 12 month one.
I need a drawing board…

Phases Of Design:

a. The Design:
I am almost clear as to what I want. The following parts are going to be essential

i. The Container using MSP430. I am going to use MOSTLY Ti parts this time around even though I am comfortable using arduino instead. This is suppose to be a challenge and I would love to push my limits as well. I have never used code composer studio but I will be starting with that. I will be using the fuel booster pack from TI.

P1: The controller is expected to collect data from 2 temperature sensors, an accelerometer, limit switch for container hatch and some signal strength data from an Xbee module.

P2: It will also monitor the status of the battery and will do sleep and wakeups.

P3: It will send this data over XBee to the base station for logging.

P4: It will detect and manage the wireless charging functions. (More on this once I get the kits)

S1: It will sync its RTC with the base station at regular intervals. No external RTC will be attached but the system will try to maintain time in software thereby reducing system costs.

S2: I might replace the Xbee with CC2500 modules that I already have.

ii. The Base Station: The base station will be responsible for collecting data from the containers. In our case, a single container. If I have enough time I might jump into an arduino base station as:

P1: Arduino interface with xbee to talk to the container.

P2: Log data to memory card.

P3: Send data over GPRS for display

S1: Integrate GPS to give global position

If I dont have enough time, I can:

P1: Use python code on a PC to communicate over Xbee and log data.

P2: Use the python script to send data over Ethernet instead of GPRS.

P3: Use Python to get approximate position as well.

iii. The enclosure: Make the whole thing presentable. This is actually tougher than it sounds and needs to be done right. I would have liked to use a 3d printer but since there is not one in a 100mile radius, I will have to do stuff by hand.

Thats a lot of planning but the actual implementation is going to take more energy and time.

Please vote and support and all suggestions are welcome.
Thanks

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4 Comments

      1. Excellent, I was think about wireless system like xbee and had a question that pertains to your project. If there are multiple containers all sending serial data at regular intervals will the multiple boxes interrupt each others transmissions or does the xbee buffer it?

  1. Well that is what we have protocols and standards for. Like in the case of Ethernet (802.x) what happens if two computers start talking at the same time. The Mac layer protocol takes care of it. The same way the xbee I am using also use a 802.15.4 who’s Mac layer or media access layer control layer takes care of access to the physical chqannel, time slots and even a bit of security. CSMA/CS takes care of superframe contentions.

    With all that said, the xbees work right out of the box. You need to configure them for networking using the software provided on their website and you get a transparent bridge where serial transmission land on your pin. You can have a small addressing system on top that handles multiple destinations or get addresses using at commands.

    Hope that helps.

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