Development of an Integrated Platform for Modular Prototyping: the ‘Mod Duino’

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The Ohio State University

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One crucial portion of a design project involves the design and build of a prototype. Prototypes are advantageous because they help to reduce a project’s time and cost, identify and address problems early on in the design process, and increase user involvement by confirming a common vision among users and developers. These factors all contribute to delivering a better quality final product. Embedded electromechanical prototypes use programmed electronics and a mechanical device to perform a specific function. Microcontrollers are small computers on integrated circuits that are often used to control the electronics of these embedded prototypes. One set of problems with these prototypes is that the breadboard circuitry can easily become messy and the connections between sensors/actuators and the microcontroller are not reliable. These factors make it difficult to troubleshoot the prototype when a wire accidentally gets disconnected and also makes it difficult to create a portable prototype. There are not many existing products that focus heavily on the integrity of the connections between the main prototyping platform, such as an Arduino microcontroller, and the sensors and actuators used to create the operational portion of the prototype. Previous research indicates that one line of products, the Tibbo Project Systems, focus on robust connections. However, the Tibbo products are complicated to use and are not open source. The widespread popularity and ease of use of the Arduino microcontroller for these simple electromechanical applications make it a perfect candidate for use in a comparable platform. The objective of this research project is to create a robust, easy-to-connect prototyping system for embedded products that can be used with a variety of sensors and the Arduino Uno microcontroller board. The product is expected to form a rigid and clean looking platform that provides a reliable connection between the Arduino and any number of additional modules needed to complete an embedded electromechanical prototype.



3D Printing, Prototype, Arduino