Heat-seeking firebot drowns out the flames

This robot can find and extinguish fires automatically. It is the culmination of an Embedded Design class project from last school year. [Dan] and his classmates developed a turret that holds both a spray nozzle and heat sensor which would be a fantastic building block for a real-life tower defense game.

The jewel of the sensor array is a TPA81 thermopile array. Note the use of the term ‘array’ in the name. This is more like eight temperature sensors aligned with each other. By monitoring them all, the direction from which the most heat is coming can be determined. Once it’s zeroed in on the fire getting water to the right place can be a difficult task. That’s where the other sensors come into play. An accelerometer allows the bot to determine the angle of the spray nozzle (a weed sprayer was used in this case). An ultrasonic range finder and few algorithms let the Arduino which drives it all make sure that the arc of the water lands on the hot spot. This is all shown quite clearly in the clip below the jump.

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Weapon of mass graffiti

What uses a fire extinguisher, a bike pump, and provides hours of probation, community service, and possibly jail time? If you said an automatic graffiti writer you’re correct! [Olivier van Herpt] calls this little job the Time Writer. We call it defacing property… but tomato, tomahto.

Details are a bit scarce, but you get a fine overview of the system from the video after the break. [Olivier] tagged the post as Arduino; it’s obviously running the dot matrix printer made up of seven solenoid valves on a metal rod. These are fed ink via a tube connected to a fire extinguisher which serves as the reservoir. The bike pump is used to pressurize the enclosure so that a pump isn’t necessary when out and about.

Obviously you shouldn’t try this at home, but let’s talk about possible improvements as an academic exercise. First off the mix of the ink/paint needs to be reigned in to get rid of the dripping. We’d also like to see the inclusion of some proper spray can nozzles to tidy up the results. That, paired with an IMU board should be able to smooth out the printed designs.

This might make an interesting add-on to that rainbow graffiti writer.

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Build a confetti cannon for your next party

[Scott] built a confetti canon to spice up the party. It’s pneumatic and re-purposes a fire extinguisher as the air tank. He had a refillable extinguisher that used water instead of chemical retardant. After emptying the water and ensuring all of the pressure had been release he swapped the hose and nozzle for a sprinkler solenoid valve. Securing the extinguisher’s actuator lever with a pipe clamp holds the internal valve open, leaving the solenoid to control the pressure release. This way the canon can be fired electronically, or manually.

This type of solenoid valve is a popular choice with pneumatic canons. We suppose you could even adapt this for use as a T-shirt cannon.

[Thanks BoBeR182]

Rovio fire extinguisher

rovio1

[Colt45] shows us some pictures of his Rovio fire extinguisher mod. Being a fan of model building, he built a new shell for the Rovio and mounted a halon distribution system to the top of it. He says he loaded some custom software for identifying and extinguishing flames, which he’ll upload eventually. We really wish we knew more, or at least had a video of it working. We’re a little bit surprised we haven’t seen more done with these things.

[Thanks Robert]

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