Real fire extinguisher as a controller for virtual reality

Hello,

I am currently working on a project where I am going to take a real fire extinguisher, attach sensors to it and use it as a controller for a virtual fire extinguisher in a simulation. The extinguisher I have acquired is a foam extinguisher like this: http://www.combatfire.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/9L-FOAM.jpg

I got a few questions about components and design for this project.

Things I need to track:

  • Position and rotation
  • Pulling pin
  • Rotation of the nozzle
  • Where the user is holding the nozzle
  • When the user is pressing the lever

I have looked at various sensors and narrowed it down to these:

For position and rotation: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10724

Pulling pin: No solution found yet. (IR?)

Tracking the rotation of the nozzle: Placing N of these : Flex Sensor 4.5" - SEN-08606 - SparkFun Electronics

Track where the user is holding the nozzle: Use the sensor above (no idea how sensitive it is) or N of these: FlexiForce Pressure Sensor - 25lbs. - SEN-08712 - SparkFun Electronics

Pressing the lever: FlexiForce Pressure Sensor - 25lbs. - SEN-08712 - SparkFun Electronics

I have attached an image of a sketch I drew - illustrating my idea (hopefully).

From the sketch you can see I have placed the Arduino and the 9DOF at the bottom of the extinguisher. Should the 9DOF be placed more in center of the extinguisher for more accurate readings?

The pressure sensor is placed on the top of the lever. My idea here is to map the change in resistance to update my model’s lever animation properly.

For the nozzle I have placed N flex sensors, for tracking the rotation of Y joints. These joints will be used to update my model’s nozzle animation. But from my understanding a single flex sensor can only track in one axis, so I need quite a lot of them to update my model properly. Is there an easier solution to the problem?

And the same goes for tracking where the user is holding the nozzle, by placing N pressure sensors.

I got no previous experience with a project like this, so I am a bit clueless when it comes to the best design and the choice of sensors - all help is really appreciated!

-Baardsen

baardsen: Hello,

I am currently working on a project where I am going to take a physical fire extinguisher, attach sensors to it and use it as a controller for a virtual fire extinguisher in a simulation. The extinguisher I have acquired is a foam extinguisher like this: http://www.combatfire.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/9L-FOAM.jpg

I hope that, in the event of a real fire, nobody mistakes it for a real extinguisher.

This sounds like a VERY fun project. Looks like you have most of it, so I’ll focus on the pin.

baardsen:
Pulling pin: No solution found yet. (IR?)

Is the pin aluminum? If so, it is conductive, so you can use the pin as a switch, but you would have to make it yourself, just have it connect ground to a digital input to indicate that the pin is in. I’ll try to ascii draw it here:
D1 GND

| |
| |
O------------------ <----when pin is inserted, D1 is HIGH.

You could also use a reed switch, glued inside the upper handle that closes when the pin is inserted. Would be more robust, would need a bit more fabrication.

Hope this helps, and hope I get to play with it someday. I’m imagining something like Kitchen Fire Hero.

Henry_Best:
I hope that, in the event of a real fire, nobody mistakes it for a real extinguisher.

I am going to spray paint it and remove the label, so it can’t be mistaken for a real extinguisher.

DadsMake:
Is the pin aluminum? If so, it is conductive, so you can use the pin as a switch, but you would have to make it yourself, just have it connect ground to a digital input to indicate that the pin is in. I’ll try to ascii draw it here:
D1 GND

| |
| |
O------------------ <----when pin is inserted, D1 is HIGH.

You could also use a reed switch, glued inside the upper handle that closes when the pin is inserted. Would be more robust, would need a bit more fabrication.

Hope this helps, and hope I get to play with it someday. I’m imagining something like Kitchen Fire Hero.

Yes, it is aluminum. I had not thought about that at all - that it could be used as a switch. I will try both solutions and implement the best one. Thank you!