Our product is a motorized luggage that follows a small clip on the user. This following system relies on infrared light pulses as a signal. The clip emits infrared light in pulses and the receivers on the luggage receive the signal. In between the receivers is a separating portion, able to block the infrared light. Normally, both receivers should face you directly, but if the luggage is tilted away, the divider will block one. See Figure 1:
If one receiver is unable to receive any light (if the luggage isn't facing directly at you), the luggage will turn accordingly to follow you. Using this, the luggage can always adjust itself to have both receivers facing you (meaning that it is pointed toward the correct way). The two receivers will send the information they get on to the next step.
This suitcase will use an Arduino microcontroller which is similar to a "mini" computer. It can be programmed with inputs and outputs for controlling objects. Depending on the given status of the infrared light receivers, it will give an action to the mosfet (motor controller). The mosfet in the luggage will be used to control the motors. The Arduino can produce only 5 volts, and these volts will tell the mosfet to give voltage to each motor or not (5 volts is yes, 0 volts is no). The 12 volt battery attached to the mosfet will power the motors. Once the mosfet allows the 12 volts through, the motors will spin the wheels, and the luggage will follow. The Arduino continues processing the receiver information and the process starts over again.
Our luggage uses an infrared light system
- similar to automatic vacuum cleaners
- very inexpensive
- use infrared pulses so the steady natural and artificial lights of airports can be differentiated by our specially coded pulses
- four in total
- two fixed wheels (unable to swivel at the connecting joint)
- two swiveling wheels
- motors will have a small wheel of their own that presses upon the cart wheels to drive them
- coded to spin motor according if pulse is sensed
This video is mainly showing our divider functions with the almost complete circuit:
- Arduino (blue microcontroller) programmed to make the motor spin if IR light in pulses was sensed
- motor (small metal object with green and yellow alligator clips attached) with a wire and tape tied on to observe spinning easily
- IR receiver/sensor (hidden each inside aluminum foil tubes part of divider)
- aluminum foil divider (two tubes housing IR receivers and a flat plane in between as the divider part) taped together with black electrical tape
- IR pulse emitter (a.k.a. remote control held by person toward left of the video)
- person toward left: code name "Fork"
- pulse code for the Arduino
- successful building of IR divider for sensors (no leaks)
- one active IR receiver that is connected to Arduino
- a divider separating the active and non-active divider (see Figure 1)
- shine IR light on side of divider with active receiver and motor should spin (Arduino coding)
- shine IR light on side of divider with inactive receiver and motor should not spin because the divider is preventing light from getting to active IR receiver
- in the video, "Fork" constantly moved around with the remote control to both sides of divider and viewer can see that the motor stopped and started many times
- get both receivers attached to Arduino
- set LED lights (one for right, one for left) to turn on if pulse is detected
- test to make sure the correct LED lights up when the IR light is shone on corresponding side (and both light up if IR light is shone on both)
In this video (blurry and out of focus one...), we've assembled close to the entire prototype on this cart. The luggage part of AutoCase will be something we are planning to attach soon (maybe a substitute, like a weighed cardboard box). The infrared light emitter (the pen-like object to the right) is tilted to the side of the infrared light receivers. You can see the cart slowly turn toward the light.