Submit your winning BASIC Stamp, SX, or Propeller microcontroller projects and pictures to our Parallax Education Team. If your school project was a recent winner in a formal competition, it is eligible to be featured here!
David A. Zarrin - Creating a GVS: Gyroscope-based Water Vessel Stabilizer - Won 1st Place Prize
Recently, at the 2009 California State Science Fair (CSSF) competition in Los Angeles, young David A. Zarrin (Grade 8) took first place with his science project. With help from his family and by using his own scientific and technical prowess, David constructed and tested a device that reduced the rolling effects of waves on water-bound vessels using a gyroscope. His original effort was to reduce the effect of seasickness experienced by people on water bound vessels. To stop these effects, David decided the best course of action would be to reduce the rolling of the vessel itself.
He achieved a drastic reduction in rolling on a test vessel and continued to witness similar results in the prototype; rolling was reduced about 90% while the stabilizing system was running. Gyroscopic roll stabilizing systems are incredibly effective at cutting down the forces that rock boats, and as such they would perform well on vessels in all water-based applications.
David A. Zarrin's project summary (.pdf)
Brandon Chisum, Christopher Lieder, and Mark Johnston - Automatic Card Reader for Texas "Hold 'em" - Won 1st Place Class Prize
For a recent mechanical engineering project at Fresno State University, this group made extensive use of Parallax products and won a class prize. They used a Basic Stamp to create a system designed to perform a specific task, and also made sure the system was able to read and interpret user inputs. The group decided to make an automatic card dealer for the poker game "Texas Hold 'em". Starting with simple aspirations, they eventually progressed into building the entire table. Two Basic Stamp microcontrollers were used to control the dealing. The prototype ended up having an array of features, including music and a voice tutorial.
At the end of the semester, each of the 6 groups presented their project to the class and some of the engineering faculty. This group of three ended up walking away with a monetary prize for 1st place as voted on by the people watching the presentations.
Poker Project Report (.pdf)
Poker Project Presentation (.zip)
YouTube Video (off-site)
Jeremy Blum - Force Sensors Used to Control Prosthetic Device - Intel Science Talent Search Finalist
There are multiple problems associated with myoelectric control, currently the most popular form of prosthetic control. Myoelectrodes are expensive, require extensive processing to remove noise, must sometimes be implanted to receive the best signal, and often receive a noisy signal when used externally. One out of every twenty times, myoelectrodes inaccurately predict muscle bulge. Force sensors, a new control method being tested in this project, measure muscle bulge directly, rather than the electricity produced by the muscle. Force sensors are inexpensive, require little or no signal processing, and are used externally. To test this control method, an operational prosthetic hand prototype, controlled by a Parallax BasicStamp processor, was built. Additionally, MATLAB programming language was employed to write a program that could take readings through the computer, from both myoelectrodes and force sensors, and compare their accuracy. The program used Linear Discriminant Analysis to analyze the input voltages and convert them into a signal that would be capable of commanding movement for a given degree of freedom in a prosthetic device. Results show that force sensors can accurately differentiate between different forearm muscles with little training, indicating that in the future they could provide a low-cost, low-maintenance control method for amputees. Research was supported by Mu Alpha Theta and Dr. Peter Kyberd of the University of New Brunswick acted as mentor on the project. Visit http://www.jeremyblum.com/category/prosthetics_research for more information.
||Jeremy presenting his prototype at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC. He is using a force-sensor equipped cast to control the hand's motion using the muscles in his arm.
In this picture Jeremy is wearing the cast attached to a USB input board. It is able to capture muscle data from the sensor and analyze it in a computer using the MATLAB programming language.
The finished hand.
Nickos Giannakopoulos - Smart Photovoltaics
Microcontrollers are small autonomous computing systems, programmed to perform specific commands and programs, which have been registered in their pre-programmed memory. As every calculating circuit, they contain units I/O, a central processing unit, a number of registers and circuits of memory. Each microcontroller is capable of exchanging signals with its exterior environment, performing calculations and producing control signals for other devices. The object of study of this project is the Basic Stamp microcontroller of Parallax Company programmed with Pbasic and in its educational application in a school activity regarding the saving of energy through the construction of a solar tracking PV. The particular educational applications that were realised combine courses of information technology such as programming and algorithms, with courses of physics that concern materialization of resistance-capacitor circuits (RC circuits) and solar radiation measurement.
The project won the FORTH/ICE-HT 3rd award for Lyceum-Technical Vocational Schools' Students in the school competition 2008, which was organised by the Institute of Chemical Engineering and High Temperature Chemical Processes, on the 12/04/2008 in Patras. At the duration of this project we have materialized also some interesting experiments about solar radiation measurement.
Smart Photovoltaic using Bs2 of Parallax
Smart photovoltaic - student's experiment
Video of Project - You Tube
Toni Abney's Solar-Powered RFID Gate Control
American River College student Toni Abney took first place in the 2008 California State Fair Closed Caption Award with her Solar-Powered RFID Gate Control. Toni's project was a well-built working model of a closed-loop security system. The visitor uses an RFID keytag to activate the gate. A magnet and reed switch are used to detect the fully open position. The whole project is powered by a 6V solar cell and a charge circuit.
Instructor Fred Evangelisti and student Toni Abney.
Jordan Krell's Smart Swim
Each year over 750 accidental, non-boating drowning fatalities and over 4,000 near-drowning accidents occur among children younger than 15 in the United States. These tragedies occur in our backyards; some may be avoided through the use of a new device I have created called the Smart Swim.
The Smart Swim consists of a small radio frequency transmitter worn on the body which constantly sends an “all safe” signal to a receiver located outside the pool. The receiver sounds an alarm after not receiving a signal for an adjustable period of time as a result of the transmitter module being underwater.
The Smart Swim utilizes a Parallax BS2 Stamp microcontroller which was programmed using a BOE Development board. I chose to use Parallax Stamp products because of their ease of use, flexibility for various design platforms, power for running applications, and for the great technical support that is provided by the Parallax tech support team. I built my own circuit boards and incorporated the BS2 into them via IC sockets. This allowed for me to utilize the power of the BS2 in my platform.
Awards: 4th Award in Engineering at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
Grand Award, Trail King Best Project Award and four other special awards at the South Central South Dakota Science & Engineering Fair.
Click the image to the right for a larger view.
Jordan Krell's Smart Seat
Jordan Krell, a student at Plankinton High School in San Diego, CA. has won numerous awards for his Smart Seat invention.
The Smart Seat is a standard child’s car seat modified to keep a child safe in the family vehicle at all times. It accomplishes this by sounding an alarm when the ignition is off and a child is in the seat for a set period of time. An alarm will also sound if a child is unbuckled while the ignition is on. The Smart Seat utilizes various sensors from Parallax such as the Parallax Super Carrier Board and Parallax BS2 Microcontroller.
The Smart Seat was recently displayed at the South Central South Dakota Science and Engineering Fair and at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
The Smart Seat has also won numerous awards including the American Psychology Association Outstanding Research in Psychology Award, Avon Science Club Excellence and Enthusiasm in Science Award, Herbert Hoover Young Engineer Award, Outstanding Overall Engineering Project Award, Daily Republic Newspaper Best Researched and Written Project Award, Intel Excellence in Computer Science Award, Outstanding Computer Science Award, National Society of Professional Engineers Innovative Engineering Award, South Dakota Army National Guard Outstanding Engineering Project Award, Trail King Scholarship, United States Air Force Outstanding Engineering Project Award, United States Dept. of the Army Outstanding Engineering Project Award, and Grand Award.
Toni Abney - California State Fair Winner, 2006
Parallax would like to extend special congratulations to Toni Abney, a student at American River College in Sacramento, CA. Toni's Propeller-controlled "Morse Code Training Device," was designed to help people with learning disabilities learn Morse Code. For her efforts Toni was awarded First Place, Best of Show, Outstanding Achievement, and an ADA Award in the Industrial and Technology Education Competition. The "Morse Code Training Device" operates through a keyboard attached to a standard TV set and features the Parallax Propeller chip.
Submitted by ARC Professor Fred Evangelisti
American River College Staff Wins “Best Program” Award from CCAOE
California Community College Association for Occupational Education awarded American River College (ARC) Electronics Program with the “Best Program” award at their Spring 2005 meeting in Sacramento. The award was received by James Brown, Gary George, Fred Evangelisti (all of ARC) and Ken Gracey of Parallax. The ARC team insisted on Parallax being part of their award team, as they believe the BASIC Stamp has been an integral part of their success in retaining, motivating and placing students in technical employment.
Program director Fred Evangelisti says “Parallax makes teaching a lot of fun and their hardware really turns on the students. Without their Stamps in Class program we’d be having a real difficult time”.
The same weekend the Sacramento Bee newspaper ran a story on occupational education featuring Fred Evangelisti.