I decided to completely rework my idea for my final project. While I am still very interested in self aware and self organizing networks, I realized that a completely self-aware engineered system was somewhat beyond the scope of what I could accomplish in a final project.
Instead, I decided that I could apply some of the same ideas that interested me in my self aware structures idea to a system I spend a lot of time using, my bike.
While I love biking around Boston as a faster and healthier alternative to using a car, I miss some of the convinences provided by integrated electro-mechanical power and control systems. Additionally, I feel like the bike is missing out on some of the new technologies that have pushed into the car space.
I want to increase the convenience and safety of my bike by creating a networked set of bike devices. This means equipment that is durable enough to withstand Boston winters and rain as well as being somewhat resistant to thieves. Some of my basic ideas are:
I've slowly been adding electronics to my bike, however, they all operate on a variety of voltages and batteries. This means I have a proverbial rat's nest of electrical chargers in my room and am constantly fighting to keep all my devices charged. Any bike system first and foremost needs to have a central power system, perhaps with a dynamo for charging while riding. Basic requirements:
Modern cars make use of the CAN Bus to communicate between things like the Electronic Control Unit, ODB-II port, and cabin electronics. This provides lots of expandability and has enable some basic drive-by-wire functionality in modern vehicles.
Right now I'm trying to decide between using an I2c or CAN bus. I2c is the obvious answer when it comes to support by the ATMega. However, CAN busses have already made inroads on bikes with Shimano's Di2, and many ARM and XMega chips have built in CAN trancievers. In my Week 6 section, I play around with AVR GCC and I2c programming.
One of the primary electronic systems currently on my bike is the lighting system. I've toyed with adding more lights, but having more batteries and more switches to turn off and on makes that more of a hassle. If the lights can be controlled centrally and with a switch of phone app, various light patterns and settings can be controlled simultaneously.
LIDAR and ultrasonic sensors have become increasingly common on vehicles for automatic emergency braking or blind spot detection. I think it would be cool for bikes to have a LIDAR sensor to detect a quickly closing car from behind.