Sunday, September 5, 2010

New flow controller for the Emriver Em2!






Today we built the first street-ready model of the new Em2 flow controller.

Months in the making, this open source electronic tool will allow precise control and measurement of water flow in the Emriver Em2.

Out of the box it can control flow with up/down buttons, and can run typical hydrographs.

Teachers and students can call up, for example, a "five minute flashy urban hydrograph" and observe/measure the results.

How about a model river with real time hydrographs generated and displayed on a nearby monitor?  You think students watching this will learn about hydrographs?  Will they have fun?  This controller has a USB connector for  things like that.

The software will be completely open source, running on an Arduino Duemilanove.  A USB port allows reprogramming and data exchange.  Students will be able to connect a laptop and see hydrographs as they're run.  Advanced students can write their own software for the controller.

One example:  The controller could trigger a digital camera taking photos of the developing channel at different points in the hydrograph.  Students could make a time lapse photo series tied to the hydrograph.  The possibilities are unlimited, and all very affordable and accessible.

The controller doesn't use any expensive or exotic parts, is nearly waterproof, can survive drops to a concrete floor, and its use is super obvious because busy geoscience teachers don't have time to read manuals.

Many thanks to consultants Chris Krumm, Chris Alix, and members of the online Arduino Forum community (especially Stigern and Grumpy_Mike.)

2 comments:

pascal said...

Steve,

Along with connections to a PC, if there's any kind of electronic output, you could probably hook this up to the "Logger Pro" data tools.

Using the open source electronic circuitry, I bet there's no end of hacks and modifications that could be done.

Steve Gough said...

pascal, that's the point--I haven't published all the circuitry yet, but will after beta testing, and it's been specifically designed to be easily modifiable. We're even designing the code to be easy to understand--it all works on the open course, strongly community supported Arduino IDE. The Arduino inside could act as a data logger, too, btw.