June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Design in Engineering Education
15.1016.1 - 15.1016.12
Real-Time Video Transmission from High Altitude Balloon: an Interdisciplinary Senior Design Project
With engineering students facing increasing distractions, it has become more and more challenging to design and create attractive means to recruit and retain them. In the paper we present an interdisciplinary senior design project with collaboration of electrical and mechanical engineering students which attempted to transmit real-time video from a high altitude balloon from 100,000 feet altitude. Through this experience, students have learned principles of integrated engineering technology, and sharpened their skills in cooperative learning, effective learning and team work. The learning outcome of this project was measured by post-course questionnaires, course evaluations and student interviews conducted by the department chair before graduation. All students expressed positive learning experiences after participating in this interdisciplinary project and indicated that the learning outcomes were successfully achieved.
With engineering students facing increasing distractions, it has become more and more challenging to design and create attractive means to recruit and retain them. This paper reports an interdisciplinary collaborative capstone senior design project for electrical and mechanical engineering students to bring real-time videos from a High Altitude Balloon (HAB) to a ground station. The HAB project has proved to be a unique and exciting tool to attract students from freshmen to seniors to apply their engineering knowledge. At the same time, the HAB system has also become a great vehicle to accommodate scientific research in near space at about 100,000 feet above the ground with a relatively low cost.
The students have designed and implemented a real-time video transmission system to stream live video feeds from the high altitude balloon. With three separate cameras installed in the balloon payload providing different views, students have also designed a micro-controller controlled alternating video from these three video cameras. While the videos captured by all three video cameras are recorded onto a DVR at the same time, only one of the three cameras can be observed from the ground station. With a total payload weight of 6 pounds regulated by the FAA, it is a challenging task for the students to design such a system. Since it is essential for the students to retrieve the payload after every balloon launch, we had designed and implemented accurate localization/tracking and wireless communication systems to track and fox-hunt the balloon earlier. The tracking/communication system weighs about 3 pounds so students need to design and implement the real-time video system in less than 3 pounds including batteries.
Using analog television technologies, the students have designed the circuits, antenna, power amplifiers, and have implemented the system with strict weight and size limits. The system was thoroughly tested in a hostile environment such as extremely low temperatures because the HAB o reaches high altitude with temperature as low as -60 C. The experiment has been very successful
Guenther, B., & Rahn, B., & Falknor, M., & Kelly, A., & Wang, B., & Wu, Z. (2010, June), Real Time Video Transmission From High Altitude Balloon: An Interdisciplinary Senior Design Project Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16333
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