Physics projects for Y3 and Y4 students

Project description

Wearable accelerometer

(supervisor: Dave Langstaff)

Nature of project: experimental, experimental

Available to students on full-time physics degree schemes or joint students.

Project description and methodology

In many sports, the dynamic motion of the body is important. In addition, an accelerometer mounted on an air-track cart will provide more information about elastic and inelastic collisions than is available from the simple light gate system.

This project seeks to develop a miniature accelerometer which communicate with a host via wireless communications.

It is expected that the heart of the project will be an Arduino microcontroller, equipped with a suitable accelerometer/gyroscope and a wireless interface (such a Bluetooth).

The student will be expected to construct and test a system using plug together 'shield' type modules before working on miniaturising the completed device to make it wearable.

Software on the Arduino will need to be written to interface with the accelerometer/gyroscope sensor and also the Bluetooth module. It is envisaged that a package such as Processing will be used to assist in interpreting and visualising the data returned from the device.

If students cannot gain access to the laboratories, the components for the project may be supplied as a kit for home development and experimentation.

A successful project will develop beyond the above in one/some of the following directions:
The software at the receiving end will initially produce graphs of x-y- and z- acceleration. By suitable choice of software, it shoudl be able to produce a visualisation of the position and movement of the sensor.

When considering where to take your project, please bear in mind the time available. It is preferable to do fewer things well than to try many and not get conclusive results on any of them. However, sometimes it is useful to have a couple of strands of investigation in parallel to work on in case delays occur.

This project is only available as a Y3 project.

Please speak to Dave Langstaff (dpl) if you consider doing this project.

Initial literature for students:

  1. Chambers, R., T. J. Gabbett, M. H. Cole and A. Beard (2015).
  2. Yang, C.-C.; Hsu, Y.-L. A Review of Accelerometry-Based Wearable Motion Detectors for Physical Activity Monitoring. Sensors 2010, 10, 7772-7788.
  3. P. P. Merino, E. S. Ruiz, G. C. Fernandez and M. C. Gil,

Novelty, degree of difficulty and amount of assistance required

The project will require a knowledge of programming the Arduino in C and interfacing to different sensor and wireless components.

Project milestones and deliverables (including timescale)

milestoneto be completed by
Selection of sensor components for systemend of November
Outline design completeChristmas
First code completed to transmit accelerometer readings over wireless link.end of February
System testedmid-March

Students taking this project will have to submit a full risk assessment form