An automated targeting mechanism with free space optical communication functionality for optomechatronic applications

Hicks, Dion (2017) An automated targeting mechanism with free space optical communication functionality for optomechatronic applications. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This thesis outlines the development of an agile, reliable and precise targeting mechanism complete with free space optical communication (FSOC) capabilities for employment in optomechatronic applications. To construct the complex mechanism, insight into existing technologies was required. These are inclusive to actuator design, control methodology, programming architecture, object recognition and localization and optical communication. Focusing on each component individually resulted in a variety of novel systems, commencing with the creation of a fast (1.3 ms⁻¹), accurate (micron range) voice coil actuator (VCA). The design, employing a planar, compact composition, with the inclusion of precision position feedback and smooth guidance fulfills size, weight and power (SWaP) characteristics required by many optomechatronic mechanisms. Arranging the VCAs in a parallel nature promoted the use of a parallel orientation manipulator (POM) as the foundation of the targeting structure. Motion control was achieved by adopting a cascade PID-PID control methodology in hardware, resulting in average settling times of 23 ms. In the pursuit of quick and dependable computation, a custom printed circuit board (PCB) containing a field programmable gate array (FPGA), microcontroller and image sensing technology were developed. Subsequently, hardware-based object isolation and parameter identification algorithms were constructed. Furthermore, by integrating these techniques with the dynamic performance of the POM, mathematical equations were generated to allow the targeting of an object in real-time with update rates of 70 ms. Finally, a FSOC architecture utilizing beam splitter technology was constructed and integrated into the targeting device. Thus, producing a system capable of automatically targeting an infrared (IR) light source while simultaneously receiving wireless optical communication achieving ranges beyond 30 feet, at rates of 1 Mbits per second.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 12583
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 191-214).
Keywords: Mechatronics, Voice coil actuators (VCA), FPGA, Design of experiments (DOE), Free space optical communications (FSO)
Department(s): Engineering and Applied Science, Faculty of
Date: May 2017
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Astronautics -- Optical communication systems

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