Complete beginner, help for project appreciated

Hello everyone,

I am currently a student at a university in Germany. In the context of my Electrical Circuits course for my bachelor in Mobility and Logistics, i was assigned a group project using the Arduino Uno board.Our idea for this project was to construct a device that recognizes certain colors by adding sensors to the Arduino board. With these additions, it should be possible to build up this device at a conveyor belt and detect various packages with colored stickers on them. When the colored package reaches the sensor, either a specific sound will be played that references the color, or a text output appears on a connected computer, so that the content of the package is known. These colours could for instance represent certain products that the company sells and our device could detect which products leave a warehouse or a production facility.

We barely have any experience programming or using Arduino. Of course we don't expect the people helping us in this forum to serve us a finished project on a silver plate but what we would like to have are suggestions and tips. For example, Is this kind of project possible in the first place? If it is ,what kind of sensor do we need and where do we get it from? Is this project too difficult for beginners?

Because we barely know anything, any kind of suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Greetings, Andre Angenendt

Hi Andre, willkommen.

This project doesn't sound too complicated for an Arduino. There's modules available that do color recognition, so that shouldn't be too difficult. Communication is no problem so sending your result to a remote unit is possible, and of course you can also play some sounds. But if you are scanning contents of a conveyor belt, how can you ensure you will be looking at the stickers. A standard box has 6 sides and you can't predict you'll be looking at the side that has the sticker attached. So that is something to work out. Maybe boxes that were not recognized can be flipped / turned and re-fed to your sensor. How fast are those boxes passing by and what to do with them ? Or do you just need to register / count them ?

How much time do you have for this assignment ?

Sensors can be found all around, sparkfun and seeedstudio are well known sources that come to mind, but there's many more.

Hi MAS3 and everyone else reading this,

first of all thanks for answering so quickly.

My group and I have already found a color sensor , which my professor thinks is appropriate. It's the TSA3200.

Our professor also recommended a device for communication, which is the Raspberry Pi.He seems to know how it works , so the issues concerning the color sensor and communication seem to be resolved.

The other issues you mentioned are still unresolved though, I will have to talk to my group to discuss how we are going to resolve them.

We have time to finish this project until the end of my semester, which would be the 30th of June. My group has this course every friday but we see each other almost every day ,except on the weekend, so we have plenty of time to work on the project. We can also ask our professor for help if we are completely stuck on something.

Even so your help is really appreciated, I will talk with my group and probably post our thoughts on monday.

Greetings, Andre Angenendt

We talked over the issues you mentioned with our professor. It seems like we do not need to worry about these things but instead we only have to concern ourselves with the arduino. In other words we only have to set up the arduino and the programming in such a way that it works in a hypothetical way, we do not have to actually use them in a real life scenario.

There's a demo sketch at the site you linked to. Try and see if you can get that to work and understand. Use that as a base for your solution.

You can use a led as a light sensor and colored leds to sense colored light. Using leds with colored bulbs to filter what gets in, only light of the emitted wavelength or shorter will be read but the bulb filters out the shorter - you can get color band strength. Do for Red, Green and Blue since what you see may be a mix.

It is slower than more costly sensors but faster than human and the cost is very low.

I have my own version of this project. Both work. It is not color-specific.

Mitsubishi Labs white paper on using leds as sensors for communication and light level sensor using the same led that emits the light being controlled.

Liquid ID Spectrometer.

See what your professor says. For less than 1 Euro you can add RGB detection to Arduino.