Electronic Chaos System
The electronic chaos system is a product created to demonstrate chaos theory. Taylor University first developed this product in the early 2000s under the direction of Dr. Kiers. The circuit used for this system was developed for research purposes and is featured in this paper by Kiers, Schmidt, and Sprott.
The initial version of the Electronic Chaos System was tremendously useful, but it has become somewhat outdated. Many of the components in the system are no longer manufactured. The original system used serial communication for simplicity, but serial ports are no longer found on most computers. Microprocessors have also improved significantly in the last 10 years, so significant speed improvements are possible without increasing cost. Our task for our senior engineering project was to upgrade the system to use modern components, communicate over USB, and to ultimately run much more quickly than the previous version.
Our main improvements to the project were the following:
- Updating the system to use modern components
- Increasing the fundamental frequency to 1.2kHz for demonstration mode (demos used audio output and/or and oscilloscope)
- Increasing the sampling speed handle the new 1.2kHz fundamental frequency
- Replacing the serial communication with USB
- Creating real time data acquisition software for demonstrations and analysis
The design process for this product took place during our fall semester. We met with our client (Dr. Kiers) many times to discuss features and ideas for the product. We created a product specifications document, wrote a product requirements document, presented several design reviews, and ultimately worked through the entire engineering design process.
The main build phase for the product was over January. We worked 60+ hour weeks breadboarding, soldering, and writing code for the device firmware and PC software. We finished out January with a working product. A demonstration of the PC software communicating with the device and graphing the behavior of the circuit is available on YouTube. The code for both the PC software and device firmware is open source and available on GitHub.
We are currently working to finalize the product mechanically and are hoping to have a design that is ready for production by the end of spring semester.
Check out my other pages tagged "projects".