Garage parking monitor guides you in every time

THEPARKINGSPOTTER2

The live Adafruit Show and Tell stream from last weekend featured this project put together by [Silent Jeff]. He’s called “Silent” because when it came time to present his project on the show his microphone wasn’t working. As you can see in the video after the break, [PT] and [Ladyada] worked together to explain the project (of which they had no prior knowledge) using a game of charades. This is one of the follow-up images he sent them which details his parking spotter project.

[Ladyada] compliments [Jeff] on the finished look of the device and we agree. Not only does this do a great job of letting a driver know if they have pulled far enough into the garage, but it’s finished appearance ensures it won’t ever look out-of-place. The two silver discs near the lower end of the box are the sensors of an ultrasonic rangefinder. You mount this box so that the sensor is measuring distance between itself and the bumper of your vehicle. As the distance decreases the LEDs change to let you know when to stop. Inside the case you’ll find a voltage regulator and single-chip running the Arduino bootloader. [Jeff] says this is just his second Arduino project and we hope that at this rate we’ll be looking for big things from him in the not too distant¬†future!

This is basically the same idea as cars that use parking assist sensors in the bumper. It’s just attached to the building instead of to the vehicle itself.

[Jeff's] part of the show starts at the 17:46 mark of this video:

Comments

  1. deathventure says:

    Not bad for a beginner project, now add 2 more, for the 2 sides and have them wireless transmit to an indicator inside the vehicle so that you know you are pulling in straight (helpful when back the vehicle into the garage vs forward).

    • Alex says:

      Not bad for a beginner project? Looks pretty damn good to me, and besides, I don’t think your suggestion adds anything useful.

      Judging relative distances is easy: you can tell at a glance which garage wall is closer. Plus, you can see down the sides of your car with your mirrors. You cannot, however, see your front bumper… And making an *absolute* judgment about the distance between bumper and wall is much more difficult. That’s why the sensor is helpful there.

      • deathventure says:

        Doesn’t add anything useful? The longer the vehicle is, the more difficult to judge especially when reverse parking. All vehicles are not created equal as the size of a dually pickup is vastly different than the common compact car. You may be able to “judge distance” to a point on the driver side, but the passenger side not so much even with mirrors. By adding in the 2 other sensors, you can “guide” yourself in without putting so much effort looking at all three sides. Extremely helpful for tight width garages.

  2. Anonymous says:

    All I have is a ping-pong ball on a string…

    Looks like it could be re-purposed as a drag strip Christmas tree.

  3. 0xfred says:

    I have some very accuate reversing to do when parking in my garage so was also hoping it would “guide you in” rather than just using an off the shelf distance sensor for er… sensing distance.

  4. I’d love one that has the Airbus cockpit landing calls as you back the car in.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-xGZhoaKv4 for an example.

    • wretch says:

      The Airbus flight computer was a bit snippy, wasn’t it? Had I been one of the pilots I’d have replied, “The correct term is ‘mentally challenged’!”

      (c:

      Just kidding!

  5. vonskippy says:

    I must be getting old – in my day we just had to learn such basic skills as parking.

    Projects like this remind me of the movie IDIOCRACY where everyone just keeps getting dumber and dumber.

    • anon says:

      Some of us do not have huge garages. My wife’s minivan only fits in lengthwise with two feet to spare. Drive in too far and you can’t walk around the front to get into the house. Don’t pull in far enough and the garage door comes crashing down on the car. Has nothing to do with not knowing how to park, its ridiculously hard to judge the distance of something you can’t see.

      Now go troll somewhere else.

      • Vonskippy says:

        “Has nothing to do with not knowing how to park,”

        It has EVERYTHING to do with knowing (or not) how to park.

        Do you think big cars and tiny parking spaces ONLY occurred after the invention of the micro controller?

        How hard is it to learn (you know, rub two brain cells together) how far in you are by looking at one of the side walls out either of the door windows? You shouldn’t need a tech gadget for such a simple skill.

        • RooTer says:

          Do you seriously think that making a device to make your life easier is dumb?
          It’s nice and simple hack. I have similar situation with less than 50 cm between garage doors and some “garage stuff”. I appreciate it, especially because it would help a lot in the learning process (without damaging anything).

  6. Matt Shirley says:

    You’ve achieved a really nice finish on the enclosure. Very similar devices are available for purchase that do much the same job, but yours actually looks better! http://amzn.com/B00005AXI6

  7. While I think this is a beautiful project, I think there’s also a serious flaw in this sort of design: suspending a tennis ball from the ceiling at a height where it just touches the windshield when the car is parked correctly. I’m getting a real Burt Rutan sense now that I’m in my thirties where the lowest possible tech is always the best: costs the least to deploy, is the most reliable, and is the least likely to fail on you. Look at this example: it needs power and it has a moving part to fail.

  8. DaveO says:

    I know an old guy who had a piece of timber fixed to his floor and just rolled up to it – but again car-specific.

  9. raster says:

    I’m a fan of the “ball on a string” approach as well, but I can appreciate someone else wanting something different.

    Of course if this thing had an iOS app it’d be on Kickstarter and he’d be at $500,000 by now. ;p

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