If you are not familiar with the arduino, basically it is just a very simple and cheap programmable chip. I have been meaning to play around with one of these, but really I am afraid. Afraid I will like it just a little too much.
In this fan cart (made by Eric Ayars - who was at NC State when I was there), the arduino tells the fan when to turn on and off by sensing magnets on the track. Who cares? I care. This allows you to do some cool demos and activities with non-constant forces.
Some other things I can think of:
- You could make two and use it for two fans on one cart. I have always had problem putting equal strength fans on the same cart. It would be cool if you could rapidly turn one on and off to adjust the strength.
- Or, you could have two fans that turn on at different ends of the track. This way you could make the fan 'oscillate' from one end to the other.
- I wonder if you could time it so that it simulates an increasing (non-constant force). Students tend to think you need an increasing force would be needed for constant acceleration.
I, for one, welcome our arduino-powered overlords.
Use the Arduino as a general-purpose measurement and control unit via linux. Install SimpleMessageSystem from arduino.cc/playground/Interfacing/Linuxtty or my website, then use my shellscript package. AD is scaled to mV and formatted for import to spreadsheets. 100 AD readings x6chans in <40secs. Fully scriptable, see included examples. Use as proof-of-concept for your project.
This blog truncated my post at less-than. Should say "100 AD readings x6chans in less than 40secs." Fully scriptable, with examples. See http://user.cavenet.com/rolandl for the code packages.