Smart Connected Cat Feeding & Monitoring System

Design an automatic, smart, and connected cat feeding and monitoring system with a refilling mechanism.

There are serious problems with “manual” feeding. In order to solve these problems, the device should be automatic and  “smart” such that

  • The system should feed only cats.
  • The system should be able to identify new cats and recognize them later. 
  • The system should deter dogs (without giving any harm) from the area. 
  • The system should be rechargeable and charging should be supplied directly from the power outlet. The rechargeable battery should be non-removable. When fully charged, the batteries should last for a minimum of 5 hours. 
  • The system should be portable enough to be carried by a single person for connection to the power outlet for charging.
  • Nothing can be attached to the animals.
  • The system should be adaptive to feeding regime variety of different cats.

We want a connected system such that the following features related to the status of the device should be observable via the internet.

  • Status of the food supply
  • Battery level both during charging and operation
  • Feeding logs
  • Cat Profiles

Autonomous Valet Parking Service

Design and construct an autonomous “valet” system that can park 9 cars in a 3×3 grid system. When a person leaves his/her car at the “entrance lot”, the valet takes the car and places it on an empty lot of the parking grid.

The mobile valet has to satisfy the following specifications:

  • Weight of the mobile valet needs to be less than the weight of the car.
  • The distance between the entrance and parking lots will be approximately 1 meter.
  • Lateral and longitudinal lengths of the parking space of a single car cannot be more than 1.5 times the respective dimensions of the cars to be parked.
  • The car to be parked will be immobilized relative to the autonomous valet and will only be moved between the entrance lot (valet acceptance/delivery area) and parking lot by the autonomous valet.
  • The valet system as a whole (including the car) has to fit in a single parking lot in the grid. 
  • No car drivers are allowed over the parking area. They deliver their cars to the valet at the entrance area and get back their car at the same area when brought back by the valet upon request from a web/mobile phone application. 
  • The application has to be developed to monitor the valet parking system. When a car arrives at the entrance lot, the system should provide a tag/code to the car owner and then it should be possible to monitor the status of the car in the parking area, from the app using this code. The system should also bring the car back to the entrance when requested by the driver, using the application.
  • No cars must be damaged during the process.
  • Cars have to be passive, having a realistic appearance with freely rotating wheels.
  • The valet system should be an all-in-one system, that is to say, no decentralized modules and no cameras overlooking the entrance and parking lots are allowed. (everything should be onboard the valet system). 
  • The total area of the parking grid should not exceed1 m2

Gimme Fast

Design a system which can transfer data (in packets) via two complementing technologies: transportation and communication.

The system possesses two end terminals that can transmit and receive packets by visible light communication (VLC), i.e., via low-cost light-emitting diodes (LEDs), photodiodes, light-dependent resistors (LDRs). In addition, there is a moving vehicle that should be controlled (accelerated and decelerated) simply on a physically guided track.

The task is to carry a number of packets that represent an arbitrary picture file as fast as possible between end terminals that are up to 1.5 meters apart from each other. The source terminal sends packets to the transceiver on the vehicle, the vehicle rushes to the destination terminal and dispatches packets. 

  • The picture to be transferred will be taken by a camera at one of the end terminals before the beginning of the file transfer. The other end should be capable of displaying the picture.
  • Up to 8 LEDs and 8 photodiodes/LDRs can be used in the whole system.
  • The vehicle may approach the end terminals by at most 5 cm.
  • All companies will use the same low-cost LEDs and photodiodes / LDRs which will be announced officially. 
  • It should be proved technically that the microcontroller’s memory chunk used for packet transfer does not exceed 10kB. 
  • The size of the picture to be transferred should be such that at least five full rounds are needed. 
  • The transfer operation will be completed in less than 2 minutes.

Some of the issues to be accounted for:

  • Since VLC is limited in range, various ideas from communication theory have to be exploited.
  • VLC is obviously affected by lighting conditions. Special precautions must be taken.
  • Handshake and packet ordering protocols between communicating sides should be implemented, otherwise inefficiency will adversely affect the task duration.

Where am I?

Design and construct a vehicle which can extract the physical and magnetic “map” of a game field containing physical and magnetic landmarks. Once the map is extracted, the vehicle is required to localize itself along its path based on the extracted map. 

The operation consists of two steps:

Map Extraction: In the first step, a map will be constructed which will later be used for localization. In this step, the position of the vehicle can be obtained at all times by a camera mounted outside the game field at a height of about 1 meter. The position information can be sent to the vehicle via wireless communication. The computations for constructing the map will be carried out on the vehicle.

Localization: In the second step, the vehicle will find its position using onboard sensors. The use of camera information is not allowed for position estimation in this step. The estimated position will be sent to a computer for visualization.

  • The physical landmarks will be identical hill-shaped objects with a height less than 5cm and a diameter less than 10cm, made of a rigid material. The landmarks will be hidden under a surface, creating a bump on the surface which can be detected by sensors. 
  • The surface of the game field is covered by a thin, plain and opaque sheet, made of a material that allows efficient operation. 
  • The magnetic landmarks which will be provided to the teams are cylindrical neodymium magnets hidden under the surface.
  • The total number of landmarks is at most 10. 
  • The game field is a 1.5m x 2.5m rectangular area. 
  • The vehicle is remotely navigated by an operator in the field. In the localization step, the operator is the customer. 
  • The localization step will begin at an arbitrary and unknown location within a particular quadrant of the game field. 
  • At the end of the second step, teams are required to provide localization accuracy by comparing their position estimates to the ground truth positions obtained using the camera. 
  • Both types of landmarks must be used during the localization step.
  • No cameras are allowed onboard.
  • The robot must fit inside a cylinder of 20cm diameter at all times.
  • Vehicles are required to localize themselves in minimum time with the highest accuracy.