Aspiring engineers seek solution to GKN problem


9 January 2015

Several year 1 students are participating in live commerical engineering projects under the banner of the Engineering Education Scheme.

SSFC this year has three teams covering product design, electronics, physics and computing. The process involves site visits, visits and conferences at universities, working as a team to a project brief, designing and producting a commerically viable solution for various companies.

One of the project teams, led by Electronics teacher Tony Pyle, are designing a camera system that will remotely monitor the inside conditions of the flywheel test area that needs to be of 1080p quality, programmable, directionally motorised and preferably have an active lighting option. Read on for further information:

Background …

GKN are currently developing a flywheel hybrid conversion unit to retro fit to all London buses. They estimate that due to the start/stop driving that is the norm in a city the system should save 20-25% on fuel costs. 
The flywheel spins at up to 35000rpm. If it were to come free from its fittings it could cause injury/death to the anyone nearby. 
This is therefore all housed in a test room which is completely surrounded by breeze blocks, which act as a protective barrier.   
Due to safety reasons no one is allowed in the test room when the flywheel is operational

Project Brief…

Design a camera system that will remotely monitor the inside conditions of the flywheel test area. It needs to be of 1080p quality, programmable, directionally motorised and preferably have an active lighting option. 

Progress to date…

The two student teams have both designed a system that uses Raspberry Pi’s to control the camera unit inside the test room, a standard wifi unit to send this signal to another Raspberry Pi which is connected to a monitor and keyboard in an office area. Although both teams have come up with solutions that are similar there are some distinct differences, particularly regarding the motorised control of the cameras. Both teams have had to come up with these solutions from scratch, selecting appropriate off the shelf sub systems and have then learnt how to interface all the subsystems together. They have also had to learn how to programme the Pi’s in order for them to control the camera unit, motors, wifi and lighting. The projects are on-going but should be completed over the next few weeks. There is a fairly urgent need for a solution so we anticipate that the “best” solution will be taken on and used as soon as it’s finished