FNG needs guidance on first project

In this arena of excessive acronyms, I thought it only appropriate to use one to describe myself. I am totally new to physical computing and electronics, but I’m learning. I have been working my way through the Processing tutorials and beginning to think like a programmer, but it’s a slow road. But I finally have an idea for a project, and I’m going to need a little help. I work as a raft guide in West Virginia [check out “Upper Gauley Carnage” on YouTube and you’ll get a a sense of what I am trying to measure]. I want a “black box” of sorts for my raft, to be able to quantitatively measure the g-forces when we hit big waves and rocks, and also a way to measure the tilt of my boat, or when it turns upside down. I am guessing a 6DOF IMU will fit the bill for the sensor package, and I’ll need an Arduino, a SD card datalogger, some kind of on off switch, a s**tload of code, and a waterproof housing. The housing and switch are the only things I know how to do at this point. At first, all I would want to do is to turn the device on at the top of the rapid, record data for about 2 minutes, then turn it off at the bottom of the rapid. Then when I’m back home, remove the SD card, read and graph the data from my computer. Eventually, I would like to record more data, and maybe have a readout which would tell me my maximum g-force value, so that I wouldn’t have to go home and get it off the SD card. I realize this is probably way to ambitious for a first project, but it is the only thing I have come up with so far to get me to actually buy some components and build something. The arduino starter kit is in my future, as well as the Igoe book on Physical computing, and I have been diligently studying the tutorials on sparkfun, but I am stumped about the code part. So I am asking the greater Arduino community for some help, and maybe we can go down the river sometime and test this thing out.

How you finding the learning of Processing? Its still a very vague software program to me, though I have only ordered my gear about a week ago, so first IDE, then Processing. But Processing does cast a light on some very interesting projects that I can come up with.

Anyway, how are you finding the learning curve of Processing?

Your project sounds interesting, so does your job. :)


add a RealTimeClock like the DS1307 to get timing of your samples, makes them better interpretable

Pitch, yaw, and roll gyro outputs

x-, y-, and z-axis accelerometer outputs

==> you need all 6 analog inputs, and use - http://arduino.cc/en/Reference/AnalogReference - EXTERNAL and use 3.3V
… Please read the comments on the product page, there is a comment from johndavid400 which is quite interesting.

for the sdcard and RTC you might use - http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=243 - which contains both the RTC and a SDCard . On that site there is also sample code how to use these two, you mainly need to change the sensorreading.

Your prototype could become the black box for rafting :slight_smile:

succes and let us know if there are more questions,