Tuesday, July 3, 2012

2012 Red Bull Creation: A Better Fish Trap

RedBullCreationWith such short notice of the Red Bull Creation contest and so little time before the deadline, I had to come up with a project quickly that would fit into activities I already had planned for the Independence Day holiday weekend.  Also, there wasn’t time to order parts so it had to be a project that we could build with parts I already had or could obtain locally.

“A Better Fish Trap” was envisioned.  I had planned a fishing trip with the kids and this project would be fun for us all and should be a fairly quick build that shouldn’t occupy my entire weekend.

SleepingZWhen I go fishing there’s really only one type of fishing I’m interested in – CATFISHING!  Aside from saltwater fishing, there’s nothing better than sticking some chicken liver on a hook and tossing it out to the depths of a lake and waiting…for a monster cat.  Depending on how hungry the fish are feeling, you may wait minutes or hours before a hungry catfish finally takes the bait.  Depending on how relaxed you are, this could result in a missed opportunity.

2012-06-27 22.10.58With “A Better Fish Trap”, you’ll never lose another opportunity to yank a big fish out of the water.  The project was to build a stand that you would prop your fishing pole on.  When a fish bites the bait and causes the pole to be yanked, a “tug sensor” (aka momentary switch) would be switched and the Bullduino would play an alarm through a couple of Red Bull speakers (empty Red Bull cans with piezos inside them) to awaken alert the fisherman.  Since it is also popular to fish for catfish at night using multiple rods, I also added some RGB blinky LEDs to the bottom of the cans that provide a visual indicator of which pole needs the attention.  What catfish could resist the call of disco lights and piezo music?

Here’s the submitted video with build details in the last part of it.  If anything isn’t obvious, feel free to comment below and I’ll fill in the gaps.

2012 Red Bull Creation–A Better Fish Trap

Electrically, the Bullduino is very under-utilized.  If I’d had time to order parts, I would have probably gone overboard and ordered an accelerometer to use instead of the momentary switch.  This would have perhaps made the physical build a bit simpler and created more programming work.  This might have made the project a little more interesting academically.  However, the project worked perfectly as it is designed.  Here’s the full schematic.

Bullduino Fish Detector Schematic

The arduino code is equally simple.  Basically, it waits for the momentary switch to be triggered and then responds by activating the blinky RGB LEDs and playing tones through the piezo speakers.  Examples of doing both are in the built-in Arduino examples but if you would like the code, feel free to ask and I’ll send it to you.

This was a quick fun project that I got to have fun & share with the family.  Many thanks go out to the Red Bull folks for helping to inspire so many with such a wonderful contest.  I’m already looking forward to next year’s Bullduino!



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