THE FLYING DUTCHIES A MINI HOVERCRAFTÂ
MEET THE CODER
Olivier [oh-liv-ee-air] A mechanical engineer, who really wants to be an electrical engineer! This is the guy who spent countless hours creating our awesome code! You can thank him for the TURBO BUTTON!
MEET THE DESIGNER
Emily [em-uh-lee] The industrial designer who loves getting her hands dirty and making absolutely everything aesthetically pleasing (even if her team partner things it totally pointless!)
Meet Our Product
Our vehicle is a light-weight, ergonomic, and simple hovercraft targeting the average adult who just wants to have fun again!Â We even integrated a turbo button, for those who like a bit of an adrenaline rush! Through the integration of Arduino technology we have created a code which enables powerful propulsion, which a maximum traveling speed of 8 miles per hour! We hope that you enjoy this uniquely small and lightweight hovercraft!
Bill of Materials We actually have no idea, but keep that between you and me
THE BODY 2 x 4" wood used for support of motors
Lots and lots of card board for the main body
A few drops of glue, we swear!
And obviously a laser gun to cut all that cardboard
THE COOL STUFF 2 x Superawesome, turbo DC brushless motors + propellors 2 x 11.1 V Lipo Battery (1600 mAh) 2 x LiPo Brushless Speed Controllers Adafruit Feather (32u4)
One super cute microservo
of building the amazing, the frictionless, the one and only hovercraft!
Low Fidelity Chassis /CHasÄ“/ When blown into, via the plastic tube, the pressure and volume of air within the skirt increases, causing the hovercraft to lift to its maximum obstacle clearance height, also known as cushion depth. The oval cut out allows air to escapes from the edge of the skirt, making it float on air and hence frictionless.
The iterative design process started with the creation of a low-fidelity prototype made of simple materials. Our main concern and also focus was the hovering mechanism of the hovercraft. How does it work? The plastic ziplock bag represents the skirt of a hovercraft.Â
Motorized Control Motorized Rudders /mōdəˌrīz/ After creating a physical prototype it was time to get down and dirty with the computer! Now I know what you thinking... but no, that's not what we are talking about! What did we actually do? We got our nerd on and started coding like real Berkeleyians. After a tedious hour, we managed to connect a Feather/Bluefruit board to a micro servo which controlled the left and right movements of the hovercraft. Each tap of the left or right arrow button in the bluetooth app represented a movement of 10 degrees. In order to prevent extreme skittish movements, the maximum angle the micro servo could reach was 210, whilst the minimum angle was 140.
Movement: we poked a metal wire through both rudders and then connected it to the servo
Medium Fidelity Prototype We had to make multiple adjustments to the physical prototype to accommodate the micro servo, Â DC motors, and propellers. These changes included increasing the size of the cut-out circle on the main body, the supporting structures of the DC motors...
... and lastly, the shape of the rudders as well as the connectors.After creating the physical and mechanical prototypes separately, it was finally time for them to go on their very first date! Like all first dates, it definitely did not go as planned.Â
High Fidelity Prototype During the final stretch of the project, we spend a lot of time working on the code to perfect the movement. Because a hovercraft is at its core frictionless, we had to prevent extreme movements. We did this by tinkering with the force of the motors. By decreasing the pressure created by the main motor, we could increase the friction between the skirt and the floor, hence enabling a less extreme turning effect. This allowed us to have more control over the hovercraft.Â Another aspect which we improved on was the body of the hovercraft. By laser cutting triangular supports, we created a strong body which was able to survive an impact. We also created a cover, which hid the many cables and mechanisms!
Working on a project over a period of 1.5 months was an awesome experience which allowed us to truly ideate, design, test, reiterate and finalise our prototype. This enabled us to identify challenges, come up with novel solutions and eventually create a new and improved version. This process really improved our critical thinking and design skills. Furthermore, working in a two-person team over such a long period of time helped practice communication skills. Of course like any team, there were some misunderstandings and miscommunications between us. Each time this occurred, it was a crucial point for our team dynamic because we had to take into account someone else opinion and perspective. Previous to this project, we had many smaller, weekly projects which focused on learning different fabrication methods. What made us both extremely happy was the great improvement we noticed in our fabrication skills, e.g. fluency in Illustrator, fast fabrication of prototypes with laser cut materials and lastly electronics.