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TiredTomato

Tri-Terain Vehicle

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Hello, I am looking for help because I am in WAY over my head (ANY HELP IS APPRECIATED)! I started a science fair project with two other people and we're planning on completing it this year. We decided to do a project involving unmanned drones. We have narrowed our project down to creating a 3D imaging vehicle that operates autonomously in land, water, and air. I am planning on using the XBOX Kinects in order to do the 3D imaging and hook it up into an "omnothopter - esque" machine, basically our mechanical engineer plans to implement a variety of different small engines for air and a few gripped engines for aquatic conditions ( I will post a rough blue print once he finishes creating it ).

 

The problem I am facing right now is just to large to describe, I have no idea where to start on such a big project, I need to find the SDK the Kinects functions in, get the 3D imaging source code... find the software for it all, then I need to successfully test and create the vehicle. If anyone has any knowledge whatsoever to help me out I would appreciate it so much, anything from a good cheap way to grab a small engine to a link to the open source code for the Kinects would be appreciated. Im doing as much research as I can but I have about 5 million other things I need to focus on as well.

 

Email is shift@dcgames.com

 

I will be updating this thread actively as I get the blue prints and as we progress so anyone's advice would be wonderful, thank you all :)!

 

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EDIT: 12:21 AM 7/10/2011

 

According to my mechanical engineer the design we're going for is kind of car like. I attached a picture of what we're thinking of, the front two rotors would be for flight and we would have a pair of much smaller back two with grips on them so they can function in water.. the idea is to attain bouyancy using a series of air pumps / baloons so that all the engines have to deal with is horizontal motion.

 

Thopterroughsketch1.jpg

 

"one steering wheel in the front

two wheels inthe back

jet engine in the back

and two rotating propellers on the front

i'm sure there will be slight if not more modifications"

 

^ My mech. Basically says that he's going off a model he found for an air / land vehicle and going to modify it further. The kinects would sit inside the glass dome in the middle and would be encased in a solid plastic chassis made to prevent water damage. This of course would affect our 3d imaging so I have my other friend working on finding a suitable material will have a constant inputable rate of refraction so that we can work the Kinects.

 

The last problem we're facing is the refraction of the kinects in water, my thoughts were to either use a thermal imaging system or a sonar imaging system for underwater, however I believe sonar imaging systems are pretty big and want to try and keep this to... like 3 feet large MAX, so any suggestions there would be helpful.

Edited by TiredTomato

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You chose a really tough challenge. Although I must admit that I am no expert in these things (you might want to try a dedicated Remote Control forum), I want to make some remarks:

 

1. Making something that can fly, and can go under water is really difficult. In order to make it sink (go under water) it must be heavy enough, but in order to fly, it must be light enough. These things seem to contradict, but they don't necessarily. If you make a very open structure, then at least water can get everywhere making it easier to sink, and if you get out of the water, the water can escape out a lot easier too.

 

2. Getting out of the water sounds like a really tough challenge though... you either have to change the buoyancy of your vehicle by a lot, to make it float rather than sink, or you have to use brute force to lift it out of the water...

 

3. Regarding the controls: for your 1st version, I would take a (cheap) remote controlled toy, like a helicopter, and "extract" the controls from that. In fact, I would take a helicopter for 30 euro, and see if I can make it waterproof. (Since your project is so complicated, I think that the 30 euro are a negligible amount of money compared to all your other costs, and it can be quite educational to fool around with such a helicopter). This will probably lead the the destruction of that helicopter, but at the same time you learn a lot.

 

In fact, I would take some existing toy (RC submarine - if they exist - or RC airplane/helicopter) and just build on that. At least you get half the job done for free. Make the sub fly, or make the airplane/helicopter sink. I think that if you design and build this thing from scratch, and you have to ask these basic questions, you will fail. You must be more pragmatic, otherwise you will certainly miss your deadline of December 2011.

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2. Getting out of the water sounds like a really tough challenge though... you either have to change the buoyancy of your vehicle by a lot, to make it float rather than sink, or you have to use brute force to lift it out of the water...

 

We were thinking of possibly giving it sonar or maybe just turning the 3d imaging device downwards so that it could stay buoyant on top of the water, that would remove a lot of the difficulty especially because we could stick to a light weight model with only SOME water protection. I feel like if we did this we would need to compensate in speed or some type of more impressive mapping software and imaging.

 

 

You must be more pragmatic, otherwise you will certainly miss your deadline of December 2011.

 

We're actively having brainstorm sessions to try and find a way to make it unique but lower the work load required. Its rather difficult :( Hopefully we will come up with an idea soon, at the moment I am learning C++ to read and modify the 3D imaging programs and my friend (the mechanic) is messing with toys like you suggested in order to find a lightweight water blocking solution that still leaves a clear or known diffraction of light (if it is known I would think that it is possible to program the imaging software to compensate for a known diffraction. Ill update soon because we have another session this Thursday and hopefully are going to get some progress made, thanks for you help! :)

 

 

While this is interesting we were going for something a lot smaller and for imaging purposes. Not only that I would hope that it is unmanned, either by remote control or by autonomous means.

Edited by TiredTomato

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Pointing you 1 thing,you need to have diffrend types of propelers for air and water to have maximum efficiency

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Pointing you 1 thing,you need to have diffrend types of propelers for air and water to have maximum efficiency

 

We thought of that and have started buying toy subs and toy planes in order to find out different propellers and what works. At the moment we're also looking to see whether we want to use the XBOX kinects in order to do the imaging or another third party device ... I'm pretty much in charge of coding the entire thing and it's proving to be a challenge to find everything I need (looking for just pure information on how to modify and write code for the XBOX kinects) Anything would help, even if just to re-assure what I already think I know, thanks for all your help :)

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But you cant use air propeller in water or water in air,it would be very inefficient. You can either change propeller or use universal one.And just giving you an idea,you can put turbines instead of front 2 propellers and make them moveable cause you need specific angle to fly in the air due big back thrust which I assume hold vehicle in the air to achieve stability.

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If I'm understanding you correctly, TiredTomato, you want to build an automated vehicle for land, sea and air for your science fair, you're going to be programming the thing, and you're in the process of learning c++. Is that right? Assuming this isn't a joke or an attempt at trolling:

 

No one has yet pointed out the challenges of the land phase of the thing, so I'll just say that some of the best scientists in the world have been trying for years to build an automated vehicle just for the land, to say nothing of sea and air. After several years and millions of dollars, a team from Carnage Mellon and General Motors built something that can travel at an average of 14mph, and they were surprised it did that well. The challenge you've set for your self is immense, and you should probably be prepared for disappointment. (Google "darpa challenge")

 

I'll also point out that one of my science fair projects in high school involved solar ovens made out of aluminum foil and it won me a sizable scholarship. Complexity isn't always a good thing, and more complexity than you can handle dooms you to failure.

Edited by bob000555

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