Platform Extension

The Snout platform provides ease of extendability via its numerous IO capabilities. The Snout platform also includes a USB host module. Primarily the aim of this module was to allow data logs to be saved onto a USB flash memory as well as to the permanent storage of Gumstix. This would allow the users to plug in a USB flash memory and log sensor readings while on the move and later import this file into a mapping application to create the desired visualisation. The USB host allows for ease of integration of other external devices with this platform. So it was decided to use the Snout platform together with an RFID reader for monitoring and tracking of cleaning practises in an environment(aimed at hospital environments). The RFID reader was attached to the USB host of the Snout platform and successfully functioned when reading RFID tags. The application would detect tag ids and send these id strings via Bluetooth to a desktop computer. The received ids would then be used to generate a visual track of the travelled route.

To demonstrate this application, a set of RFID tags were taped to the lab floor and the Snout platform was mounted onto a vacuum cleaner with its RFID reader placed at the bottom of the vacuum cleaner. Once everything was set and running, a biased hoovering process began which resulted in the sequential reading of tags placed in the lab. Figure 7.3 shows the results of this trial.

The extended Snout platform was later mounted on top of an iRobot Roomba[37](a robot vacuum cleaner) and put to the test. The tags Roomba read did not truly represent the path it had taken. This was mainly due to the small range of the RFID reader. Ideally the RFID reader should detect all tags that are withing the suction area of the vacuum cleaner. At the time of writing this we have obtained a suitable size antenna for the RFID reader and plan to rerun the tests soon.

Figure 7.3: Sequential reading of RFID tags taped to the lab floor.
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Jenson Taylor 2008-01-25