Sunday, 22 February 2015

Ultra Sonic Pinky Pig Anti-Theft Device

Meet Pinky Pig:

Pinky Pig is the most loved soft toy in the Geek household.  He's been owned by my eldest daughter since birth, is a a bit worse for wear these days but is loved all the same.  In fact Pinky Pig rarely leaves the house,such would be the trauma of losing him.

In a search for something new to do with our ultra sonic sensor (see last week's post), we came up with the idea of using the ultra sonic sensor to make a device to detect if Pinky has been stolen.  In simple terms, Pinky's resting place would be on the ultra sonic sensor.  If he was taken then this could be detected and an alarm raised.  

We had a lot of fun (and a lot of learning) coming up with the Scratch code below on one of our Raspberry Pi's.  It was a really good way to focus on the role of a loop and an if statement.

So if the measurement from the sensor is small, all is well and no alarm is raised.  However if the measurement is not small then the (audible) alarm is raised.

We we did learn which was interesting was that Pink Pig (and other cuddly toys) are transparent to ultra sonic sound waves.  Very interesting, this added an extra layer of investigation to this project.  Please comment below if you can tell me why this is the case.  Hence to make the alarm work, Pinky had to be wrapped in an extra layer of paper.  Here's a picture showing this in action.

So last thing, here's a video of it in action (wish the volume on the TV was louder - listen carefully and you can hear the alarm going off).

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