Monday, June 23, 2014

Ramrod: Beginnings

I am pleased to announce that I've started to work on something big- an automated tool sorter called Ramrod.


This is the first project of this caliber I've ever worked on- and as you can see by the concept model, it will be large for sure. While I am new to the size of the project, I am not new to contest entry (as I have done on Instructables), but I am new to Hackaday Projects, where I will be posting the guide and status updates for the project. However, I will be mirroring nearly all of the content on the blog here as well.

Here is the project description:

The Ramrod Tool Sorter is a machine that should help make small tool storage and access much easier. Using OpenCV, an embedded computer, and a scanner, this machine will be able to store and recognize tools, as well as dispense them when needed. Eventually, Ramrod will offer support for barcodes and QR Codes as well as normal tools.
The very first part of the project involves use of a scanning device and/or a weight sensor to obtain an outline of the tool shape. The tool outline will be filled in, and the tool area will be used to calculate a rough estimate of which tool it is. Using the estimate and standard graph theory techniques, Ramrod will attempt to identify the exact tool. The tool will be stored in a small case inside the machine, and the case will be emptied when needed on the top surface. 
Tool withdrawal will occur through voice recognition and will support network access and use of the front panel screen as alternatives. 
Ramrod will be using Open Hardware and OSS.
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Currently, I am very busy learning more about OpenCV and wrapping up other projects, but more updates will be coming soon.

Update (June 25, 2014): After a comment by Adam Fabio regarding (the lack of) information about tool withdrawal was posted on Hackaday Projects, I added a bit more to the description for the project, and updated it here as well.