Blog Posts

Blog Post #28

Final Design Review video
FDR poster

This past Tuesday, April 19, 2022, UF IPPD held their Final Design Review(FDR) event. Team MATR delivered their FDR presentation and final prototype to Northrop Grumman engineering liaison Jessica McDaniel and team faculty coach Dr. Eric M. Schwartz. Unfortunately, Northrop Grumman engineering liaison Mary Alice Beck was unable to attend the event, but she was there in spirit, and the team would like to thank both liaisons for all of their help and support throughout the past 2 semesters. Team MATR is happy to report that the Final Design Review event was a success! And all of their hard work was well received by their coach and liaisons. The event was also a blast, thanks to UF IPPD faculty for organizing the event, including guest speakers and catering for students and any invited guests. The team has sent off their final deliverables to Northrop Grumman for their review and approval. Upon making any necessary amendments, MATR will have finally completed their project with the UF IPPD program!

Team MATR at the FDR prototype tabling event

Blog Post #27

Team MATR in action; presenting at the Cade Museum of Creativity & Invention.

This one was a big week for Team MATR. On Tuesday, they visited the Cade Museum of Creativity and Invention in Gainesville, FL, to showcase the IPPD program to local business investors. Team MATR, along with 3 other UF IPPD teams – Simplicitea, Multivision, and Gearware – were able to show the investors one of the many reasons why Gainesville is a cluster of innovation, and that industries could thrive in the area thanks to the bright young people coming out of the University of Florida. It was a great experience for the team to get more exposure to how real-world engineering opportunities evolve, and to give back to the UF IPPD program by showing their work to potentially bring in new sponsor companies for the coming years. Beyond that event, this week the team finished a draft of their Final Design Review (FDR) report. There is still a lot of work to do on the report, following the full completion of the prototype. The Electrical and Computer Engineers have been working hard to finish up the final prototype for FDR. A lot of work is going in to the embedded software and PCB to make sure everything is bug free for the final potting of the electronics in the epoxy enclosure. The Mechanical Engineering sub-team has completed the final epoxy shell for the device, including upper hull, baseplate, and 3D printed electronics case, to be ready for potting when the software and hardware are ready.

Blog Post #26

Snapshot from Team MATR’s promotional video for the Final Design Review event.

Team MATR is getting ready to wrap up their project with some full-system testing on the prototype Sea Turtle tracking device, which they have recently decided to name “Casper”. The name was mainly adopted due to its clear and light-weight, ghost-like form, and it can also stand for “carapace attached sensor package, exceptional reliability”. In preparation for testing, the PCB was fully assembled and tested with a simple program, and will be fully integrated and programmed for testing all peripherals in the coming week, including data collection, storage on SD card, and ARGOS satellite transmission. After testing the electrical system, some minor changes to the software are expected before fully enclosing the device and testing the full system. The final enclosure shell was fabricated this past week to be ready for potting the electronics as soon as the are fully tested. And with the Final Design Review (FDR) just around the corner, the team is also beginning preparations to present the results of the final prototype. A poster and video are being prepared for the event. The team is also finishing up the first draft of the technical report to discuss content with team coach and liaisons. The team is also excited to have been invited to give a presentation to the Greater Gainesville Chamber of Commerce at the Cade Museum of Creativity & Invention on Tuesday of next week. The purpose of the presentation will be to showcase the IPPD program, and show the kind of work we do and how it can benefit businesses and foster growth in the community. It is an honor to be able to participate in the event, and the team is aiming to provide good exposure for UF IPPD with the hope of bringing in more interesting projects for future cohorts to be able to do work that can benefit the local area.

Blog Post #25

Images of MATR PCB

Team MATR is now in the final few weeks of their project for UF IPPD and Northrop Grumman. Preparations have begun for the Final Design Review (FDR) presentation. The team is getting a promotional video together for the FDR event with the purpose of generating interest about their prototype Sea Turtle tracking device. Team members have been having fun with the ideas for the video and are excited to share the final product when it is complete for the FDR event on April 19th. The team has also begun writing and compiling documents for the FDR report that will be handed over to their Northrop Grumman engineering liaisons upon their approval of the content. Technical updates include the arrival of the PCB that is currently being assembled to conclude the full integration of the electrical system. And final 3D prints are being made for manufacturing the enclosure of the final prototype. Next week full system integration and testing will be done and comprehensive process documentation and results will be included in the FDR report and presentation.

Blog Post #24

prototype presented for PID. Wires extending out of enclosure to connect potted sensors to MCU via a breadboard for demonstration purposes. Final prototype will have all electronics integrated on a PCB that will be sealed in the epoxy enclosure.

On Tuesday of this week, Team MATR participated in IPPD’s Prototype Inspection Day (PID). The team delivered a 15 minute presentation of the current prototype 4 times, each time with a different audience of UF faculty members who were able to provide feedback on the prototype implementation. The presentation included a quick project overview, and a demonstration of some of the sensor functionality from within the epoxy enclosure. Sensors showcased in the demo included the salinity and light sensors. Overall, the prototype was well received and the feedback was encouraging, the audience and team were able to discuss possible improvements for the final prototype that will be presented on April 19th for the Final Design Review (FDR). Moving forward, the team will be focused on integrating the full electrical system on a single PCB, which should be arriving next week on Wednesday. Once that is done, the full system can be placed in the enclosure for full system testing, which will be the last step in the implementation of the final prototype. Following the completion of full system testing, the team will focus on writing the full FDR report, which will contain comprehensive documentation of the entire product and process design for the entire two semester project.

Blog Post #23

Device enclosure with multiple sensors fully potted in the epoxy (salinity probes, pressure and temperature sensor, light sensor). Wires extending out of the bottom for system integration testing and prototype demonstration.

Members of team MATR had a restful spring break last week and are back to work this week getting ready for Prototype Inspection Day (PID), which will be held next Tuesday, March 22, 2022. The event will follow the same format as the PID that was held in the fall semester, where the team gave a series of 15 minute presentations to different UF faculty who were able to give detailed feedback on the design and project plans. With just over a month left until the Final Design Review (FDR), the team will be presenting a nearly fully implemented prototype to participating faculty. The prototype will consist of the epoxy device housing with most of the sensors fully potted in the epoxy and protruding from the housing where needed(salinity, pressure, temperature, and antenna), and a 3D printed box that will house the PCB and battery. Due to an issue with the 1st revision of the PCB, it will not be used in this iteration of the prototype, and instead sensors will be wired up to a breadboard to be connected with the microcontroller launchpad. the MCU will be programmed to take readings from each of the sensors, and display the values on a laptop screen for the audience to see and determine how well the design is working.

Beyond the live demonstration, the team will be conducting more ARGOS tests to report on how exactly sensor data will be sent to satellites, but unfortunately ARGOS will not be fully integrating with the MCU and sensors in time to present on Tuesday. GPS integration is also still in the works, and was put on hold due to questions about the GPS module antenna, that the team got answered by a researcher this week. After talking with the researcher, the team concluded that it would be best to make the block antenna work by potting it as close as possible to the top of the enclosure. Integration of the ARGOS system and the GPS module with the MCU are top priorities in the plans following PID, along with acquiring the final PCB and fully integrating and testing the entire device.

Blog Post #22

Team MATR gassing up rental cars on their way Northrop Grumman’s campus in Melbourne, FL. (L-R: Jacob Stephens, Alex Diez, Dylan Lerner, Alex Kuzmicki, Jack Gonzales, David Carvajal, Neil Kotun, Photo cred: Dr. Eric M. Schwartz)

This week was an exciting one for Team MATR! On Tuesday, March 1st, they were able to visit Northrop Grumman’s(NG) Melbourne, Florida campus. Northrop Grumman engineering liaisons, Jessica McDaniel and Mary Alice Beck, were kind enough to set up tours of a few of the labs that were not fully classified, and provide insight into the kind of work they do at NG, including a hangar where work was being done on a G5 and E2 aircraft. Unfortunately, taking photos is not permitted in any area of their campus, so we are unable to share any of the cool stuff we were able to see. In addition to the tours, we were also given a presentations on modeling and simulation in the design process, as well as an overview of Northrop Grumman’s Turtle Tech project which Team MATR is supporting. It was great to hear how our work will fit in to their company and be used to help NG develop further technologies for conserving marine life. Following those presentations, Team MATR was able to present on their own project, communicating to the audience their design process, where they are at in the implementation phase, and how they will be conducting tests. Their liaisons were able to get the word out to other NG engineers who were able to attend our presentation, providing the team with a diverse and knowledgeable audience who were able to give some very helpful feedback. Overall the team is grateful for the experience NG was able to provide them with, and thanks everyone from NG who was able to contribute.

Since Tuesday, the team has gotten back to work on their implementations. The mechanical sub-team has been considering advice from NG engineers regarding potting the electronics in the enclosure, and has been making minor adjustments to their design. Electrical and Computer sub-teams are continuing work on system integration, focusing on microcontroller programming while waiting for their first PCB to arrive. Next week, Team MATR will be enjoying spring break, and also doing some preparations to ensure they will be ready to complete system integration soon after returning from break. Upon returning from the break, the team will have to work hard to complete full system integration and testing to ensure a working prototype will be delivered for their Final Design Review.

Blog Post #21

CAD draft for Revision 2 of enclosure design with internal electrical system layout.

On Tuesday, February 22, Team MATR delivered their second Qualitative Review Board (QRB2) for the semester. Thanks to the UF faculty members and IPPD coaches that participated and were able to give us meaningful feedback that the team can take in to consideration for the final weeks of their prototype development. Prior to the QRB2 presentation, the Mechanical Engineering team was able to complete a waterproof with the first iteration of the device enclosure. The test was conducted by placing the fully sealed enclosure at the bottom of a pool, at a depth of about 8 feet for about 11 hours in total. There were no electronics inside for this first test and only a mock antenna was used to test the method for sealing the enclosure around the external components (external components include antennas, temperature/pressure, and salinity sensors). The results of the test show that the design will need some reinforcement for the waterproofing, as a few milliliters of water were able to seep in over the 11 hours. The mechanical team has already discussed possible solutions and are moving on to the next iteration of testing. The electrical and computer teams are continuing work on the system integration. At this point each of the sensors has been individually tested with the microcontroller and functionality has been confirmed. Next step is to get all sensors connected to the microcontroller at once, and a main program is being written to collect data from all sensors at specified timer intervals. A PCB for the full system has been ordered to facilitate testing the entire system, but the team is anticipating a second and possibly third revision of the PCB before the prototype is complete, to ensure an optimal design. Some questions remain about the GPS module that will be included in the tracker, mainly surrounding the antenna. The current antenna for the GPS module does not fit the design well enough, and the options are to find a compatible antenna that does, or possibly decide on a completely different module that has an ideal antenna for the design. The team will be communicating with UF faculty and turtle researches about possible solutions and coming to a conclusion on the best option in the next week.

Blog Post #20

Team MATR’s own David Carvajal was featured in a student spotlight on UF IPPD social media pages! check out UF IPPD on twitter:

This week Team MATR has been hard at work to meet the goals set for the second Qualitative Review Board of the semester (QRB2). The presentation for QRB2 will be delivered to IPPD faculty on Tuesday, February 22. The Electrical and Computer Engineers have continued work on system integration, writing programs for communication between the microcontroller and the peripheral sensors. Testing has been done on the ambient light sensor, pressure and temperature sensors. The PCB design for the full electrical system is still in its early stages, and will continue to take shape as the remaining sensors are tested and the GPS and ARGOS modules are integrated. On the Mechanical Engineering side of the project, the 2-piece epoxy enclosure has been sealed in preparation for waterproof testing, which will be conducted in time to report on the results at QRB2. Beyond waterproof testing, a new design for the shape of the enclosure is in development as the electrical system evolves through the system integration process.

Blog Post #19

First successfully manufactured epoxy device enclosure.

This week the electrical and computer engineering teams made progress on the system integration. Writing programs for communication between the microcontroller and peripheral ICs. This will allow them to move forward with integrating the specific components and conduct testing next week. Meanwhile, the mechanical team has been able to make improvements to the enclosure manufacturing process. The hardened epoxy has now be successfully removed from the 3D printed mold. There is still room for improving the process when it comes to removing the epoxy easily, and further testing is being done to determine the ideal method. Now that an enclosure has been obtained, the team can move forward with waterproof testing to meet the technical performance measure for the device reliability specifications for the prototype. Also, electrical and mechanical engineers are working together to incrementally improve the enclosure design as the electrical system evolves through the system integration process. In other news, a date of March 1st has been set for the team’s visit to the Northrop Grumman facility in Melbourne. Team MATR is communicating with Northrop Grumman liaisons and IPPD faculty to sort out the logistics and ensure the trip goes smoothly.