Searching for Light with OPTI 424/524

    Date Posted: 
    Wednesday, May 11, 2016

    On Friday, May 6, students from OPTI 424A/524A gathered on the UA Mall outside the Meinel Building to find a bicycle light. Associate Research Professor Matthew Dubin had students break into teams and, using devices they designed and built, scan and find a bicycle LED within a 50' x 80' area. The students had to report the frequency and waveform through 10 rounds of ever-decreasing LED brightness. They received points for accuracy, speed, cost of their system and getting the waveform correct.

    A more detailed description comes from Professor Dubin:

    All three teams used a narrow band optical filter that was matched to the wavelength of the LED and a photodiode. One team was on the eighth floor patio to image the entire field onto their photodiode. There was another team on the field that had a camera boresighted with their photodiode all on a rotation stage. They scanned across the field until the LED was detected on the camera, and then they rotated until the photodiode was aimed at the LED. The last team had a camera on the 8th floor that found the approximate location of the LED, and coordinates were radioed down to the field. They then entered the coordinates in the on field computer which aimed the photodiode at the LED.

    The teams had to pick an architecture, hold a design review, build the system, write the software and test their system to show that it met the requirements that they picked. Their grade was based on meeting their own requirements, and if their system didn't, they had to say what went wrong, why they think it happened and what they'd do differently next time. The graduate students had seven weeks to do all of this and the team of undergrads had nine weeks. 

    Photos are available on the website.

    The winning team (l to r): Logan Graves, Justin Knight, Phil Scott and Matt Salem.