OT: Tricorder ideas

What would you want in a Tricorder?
Just for kicks, I am building a handheld tricorder-like device and am looking for ideas for functionality. I would like it to actually be
useable and preferably practical. Here's what I have so far...
-ATMega8 controller @14.7456MHz -24FC515 64k X 8 EEPROM for data logging -Serial connection for data downloading -12 char X 2 line LCD -IR LED -40kHz IR Receiver (to read and duplicate ir remote signals) -White LED (for stroboscope output) -UV and RGB LED (to measure reflectance, color, etc) -Small solar cell (measure light level, listen to modulated light) -CDS cell (light level measurement) -40kHz utrasonic receiver and heterodyne circuit to reduce to audible frequencies -Speaker and amp -HM55 compass (from Parallax) -ADXL202 dual axis accelerometer -Allegro 3515 linear hall effect sensor (magnetic field measurement) -LM35 Temperature Sensor -DS1822 Temperature Sensor -HDK Humidity Sensor -MAX1302 - 8 channel, 16 bit ADC -MAX 525 - 4 channel 12 bit DAC (possible ARB output) -MAX1305 Real time clock with 2 alarms and battery backup -BNC connector for signal capture and output -EMF detector (still looking for a decent circuit) -2.4 GHz RF tranceiver (sparkfun.com)
Possibilities for a future (more expensive) version: -"Poor-man's spectrum analyzer", made from a tv tuner. -Optical spectrum analyzer with a prism and a linear CCD -CF interface for data storage -Cellular (Sparkfun.com) -Wifi (from CF interface) -Bluetooth -GPS (Sparkfun.com) -Color graphic LCD (maybe OLED from Sparkfun.com (They sure carry a lot of cool stuff))
So, what did I miss?
Robotguy
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Geek :P
Two things I can think of: 1. Sonar or other range finder. 2. Perhaps a ZigBee module for cheap long range serial communication.
Here is one that we are trying out at my university's robotics club. http://www.maxstream.net/products/xbee/xbee-pro-oem-rf-module-zigbee.php
Though, I'd recommend getting them from digikey since maxstream is *really* slow, at least on our order. Two weeks after our order, a friend ordered one for a car alarm system from Digikey; well, his system is built and we're still waiting.
-jso
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

What you missed is the functionality & purpose. I'd start there & let the features & components fall out of the design as needed. What you've done is list a bunch of "stuff", & you're seeking something to do with it all. It's what I call "A solution in search of a problem". I prefer to define the problem first, but that's just me...
JM
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John Mianowski wrote:

Huh? It's a *tricorder*. You never watched Star Trek?
Basically, it was supposed to be a general purpose "everything" sensing and recording device -- which is why he's trying to jam as much stuff as possible into a single box.
I suspect the OP is still trying to get a feel for what functionality he can reasonably expect to get given a fairly small budget requirement and a need to use off-the-shelf parts; in other words, his requirements in this case will be dicated to a large extent by what parts are available.
--
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The Artist Formerly Known as Kap'n Salty wrote:

Oh, I WATCHED it, I just never considered trying to LIVE it. ;-)
Excuse me (putting on fake ears) while I head out to the con...
Live long & prosper!
JM

Basically, it's a device that makes noises & flashes lights. It's a stage prop, FCOL!!
As I recall, wasn't there a "medical" variant as well as the "general-purpose" tricorder?

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Therein lies one idea for a Tricorder. A medical instrament pack. A set of devices that would allow a non expert to provide medical aid with the help of medical personel that were monitering the device's reading.
EKG, EEG, Temperture, sonogram, visual and audio feeds, GPS, and a cellular hook up would be a minumum.
With the right routing software a set of these could allow doctors all over the world to aid disaster victims on site. You ship in the devices and medical kits, not the doctors. The walking wounded and the unwounded become "teleoperated" first aid workers. The remote doctors could help sabalize the injured and the devices GPS could be used to route EMS to the most critical cases first (treage).
Charles L.

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Charles Prevatte wrote:

Built in defribulator(sp) and anal probe :D
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Hi,
Is a mega8 really going to be big enough (I/O and code space wise), the price difference between a mega8 and a mega32 is almost nothing (1-2Euro).
For the network side to things have a look at the X-PORT/WI-PORT line from http://www.lantronix.com/device-networking/embedded-device-servers/wiport.html
A SD or MMC interface to a flash card would be useful to record all that data you'll be getting, an eeprom is OK but how do you want to use the data? A MMC card can be read by a PC if the format is correct.
First of all you should decide exactly what you want to do, then you can start thinking about how and what.
Regards Ian Dobson
Home of the Atmel based UDP mobile web cam http://www.planet-ian.com All mails scanned with av-filter.pl (F-Prot / perl)
- -24FC515 64k X 8 EEPROM for data logging - -Serial connection for data downloading - -12 char X 2 line LCD - -IR LED - -40kHz IR Receiver (to read and duplicate ir remote signals) - -White LED (for stroboscope output) - -UV and RGB LED (to measure reflectance, color, etc) - -Small solar cell (measure light level, listen to modulated light) - -CDS cell (light level measurement) - -40kHz utrasonic receiver and heterodyne circuit to reduce to audible - frequencies - -Speaker and amp - -HM55 compass (from Parallax) - -ADXL202 dual axis accelerometer - -Allegro 3515 linear hall effect sensor (magnetic field measurement) - -LM35 Temperature Sensor - -DS1822 Temperature Sensor ---HDK Humidity Sensor - -MAX1302 - 8 channel, 16 bit ADC - -MAX 525 - 4 channel 12 bit DAC (possible ARB output) - -MAX1305 Real time clock with 2 alarms and battery backup - -BNC connector for signal capture and output - -EMF detector (still looking for a decent circuit) - -2.4 GHz RF tranceiver (sparkfun.com) - - Possibilities for a future (more expensive) version: - -"Poor-man's spectrum analyzer", made from a tv tuner. - -Optical spectrum analyzer with a prism and a linear CCD - -CF interface for data storage - -Cellular (Sparkfun.com) - -Wifi (from CF interface) - -Bluetooth - -GPS (Sparkfun.com) - -Color graphic LCD (maybe OLED from Sparkfun.com (They sure carry a lot - of cool stuff)) - - So, what did I miss? - - Robotguy -
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ian dobson wrote:

We think alike, Ian!
BTW, have you ever gotten Bascom AVRDOS library to work on any of the DIP-based Megas? Even a Mega32 only has 2K of RAM, and the Mega64 and above do not come in DIP packages. AVRDOS just won't compile in 2K or less.
-- Gordon
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Hi Gordon,
It should be possible to get Bascom/AVR-DOS working on a MEGA32. If you use the minimal Configuration with 1 file handle and FAT and Directory handling in one buffer, you need appr. 1200 Bytes of SRAM.
If you set cFileHandles to 1 and cSepFATHandle to 0 it should reduce the memory requirements. I've never tested it, I plan to one day but, soo much to do and so little time.
Regards Ian Dobson
Home of the Atmel based UDP mobile web cam http://www.planet-ian.com All mails scanned with av-filter.pl (F-Prot / perl)
'> ian dobson wrote: '>> Is a mega8 really going to be big enough (I/O and code space wise), the '>> price difference between a mega8 and a mega32 is almost nothing '>> (1-2Euro). '>> '>> For the network side to things have a look at the X-PORT/WI-PORT line '>> from '>> http://www.lantronix.com/device-networking/embedded-device-servers/wiport.html '>> '>> A SD or MMC interface to a flash card would be useful to record all that '>> data you'll be getting, an eeprom is OK but how do you want to use the '>> data? '>> A MMC card can be read by a PC if the format is correct. '>> '>> First of all you should decide exactly what you want to do, then you can '>> start thinking about how and what. '> '> We think alike, Ian! '> '> BTW, have you ever gotten Bascom AVRDOS library to work on any of the '> DIP-based Megas? Even a Mega32 only has 2K of RAM, and the Mega64 and '> above do not come in DIP packages. AVRDOS just won't compile in 2K or '> less. '> ''> -- Gordon
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ian dobson wrote:

This was my impression also, but I've never been able to get AVR-DOS to work on my Mega32. While I haven't upgraded to the latest Bascom yet, mine is only a couple months old (it's a registered copy), and I made sure I downloaded the most recent AVR-DOS files, but no luck. Don't know if the registered/paid version of AVR-DOS is any different.
Someday I'll get this to work. My goal is to interface it to an MP3 hardware chip for on-demand robotic pre-recorded sound effects. Rogue Robotics has something similar, but of course, I want to build my own!
-- Gordon
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

<snipped>
Eeprom is too limiting for the scope of the data that could be collected, and it's not easily removable. Consider flash memory of some type on the *basic* unit, not just an upgrade. An SD connector isn't too expensive, and you can decide if you want to support FAT sectored reads of the memory in order to make it PC compatible. That way several people can share the same device, but keep their own memory card, which are dirt cheap these days.
There is no microphone. The first thing people do is record their own voice saying, "Beam me up, Scotty!" You already have a speaker and amp.
Develop your own simple connector for addons to provide expansion. A 6PC RJ11/12 works well, and the cables are easy to make with cheap and commonly available tools. Provide a way to snap the addons to the unit so they're one piece.
If this is a commercial product, or a kit or plan you will provide commercially, consider working up a curriculum for students and teachers. Have them use the features of the Tricorder (does Paramount own a trademark to that?...probably) to perform different experiments, and help them understand the meaning of the results.
If it's just a personal hobby thing you'll share on a Web site, you can provide a simple bullet list of environmental tests, to get folks started thinking about the science of how to gather data. I'll disagree with John M. to say your Tricorder does not need a reason for existence other than as a tool to help foster an appreciation of the physical sciences.
-- Gordon
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

[snip]
Note that the electronic compass will likely require a relatively level surfact to take a reading or some kind of gimbaled mount to be of much use (which I suppose is basically the case for most compasses).
You could also include ultrasonic ranging for distance measurements.
--
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On 11 Jul 2006 22:45:20 -0700, " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"

Perhaps getting a date? ;)
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Two things
Electrostatic field measurements to go along with your magnetic Electric fields can vary from dozens of volts per meter up to thousands of volts per meter and we humans are almost completely unaware of this. Scientific American had a project to measure this using an electric field mill. Searching the web can get you other examples of this. Electrometers try to do this without the moving mechanical parts (sometimes) but I don't know whether an electrometer can really replace the field mill for this or not.
There were some seemingly credible journal articles published that showed a significant correlation between geomagnetic field anomolies and a couple of acute health problems in Canada over a year period. Since electric and magnetic fields have such close ties, and it seems much easier to imagine electric field changes than it does geomagnetic field changes, at least to my uninformed mind, I thought that monitoring electric fields might provide some interesting results.
and
RFID chip scanner
Make magazine has a project in the current issue, page 160... with description and supplier for the parts to build this. And go to http://www.makezine.com/ and search for RFID. The latest issue of Make is sitting on the shelf at Powell's Technical bookstore. But it is only for a single frequency and a single vendor's protocol. Thus far I have not been able to find a table listing frequency/chip vendor for the commonly used RFID in things like pets, credit cards, Wal-Mart merchandise, etc. Several other vendors provide sub-$100 protoboards that handle one frequency and one or more vendors.
With all the curiosity and worry about "those chips" I thought a scanner that would at least read a handful of the common chips would be of interest to people. Some folks have a handful of "smart cards" in their wallet and can't read what is in them.
If one or more folks have enough interest to actually do some work on either or both of these then I'd be willing to try to help with the work. I'd be interested in seeing these work.
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