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Students Innovate with Digi: University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project

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Some of the most creative applications of our products come from students. Every year, we are involved with student-led projects that are breaking new ground in industries like automotive, solar power, smart energy, and more. We support these efforts as it leads to insightful feedback on our products and fuels a talented workforce. Here is one of the many projects Digi is helping to support.

The University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project (UMNSVP) gives undergraduate engineering students a hands-on learning experience not possible in the classroom. Every two years, the team works to research new methods, design the vehicle, and build the vehicle. Daedalus is the current model in competition and just finished an arduous journey across the Australian outback. The team competed, and placed 4th, in the 2013 World Solar Challenge in Australia.

During the race, Daedalus topped out at 130 kph, or 80 mph. The vehicle uses custom design PMAC motors and motor controllers created by members of the team. The shell and chassis are composed of lightweight carbon fiber with a honeycomb build. The array is made of Monocrystalline solar cells.

The team used XBee modules as part of their telemetry system, which passes data between the solar vehicle and the team’s chase vehicle. All of the data that is transmitted on the internal Controller Area Network(CAN)  is sent through XBees to the chase vehicle.

The XBees act as a wireless extension of the CAN network. The data being transmitted includes battery status, power consumption by the motor, kill messages to turn off the vehicle, operating commands for different modules and additional information.

On their experience with XBees, the team said, “We found that they were much easier to work with than our previous radios due to the X-CTU software making them much easier to configure. The ability to drop them into preexisting headers made it easy to swap out different XBee modules with different configurations.”

To take advantage of the increased range that the XBee module provides, the team plans to implement high gain antennas in future models of the vehicle.

To see what the team is up to and where they are racing, head over to their website at www.umnsvp.org.

Are you student? Are you working with Digi products? Let us know how you are innovating on Twitter, our Facebook Page, or in the comments below. And check out the other student projects we are a part of here.

This Week in the Internet of Things: Friday Favorites

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The Internet of Things is developing and buzzing all around us. Throughout the week we come across innovative projects, brilliant articles and posts that support and feature the innovators and companies that make our business possible. Here’s our list of favorites from this week’s journey on the Web.

Big Data Weather

Internet of Things is Fundementally about Economic Value via ZD Net

Big Data Weather Forecasting are Big Business from GE’s Industrial Internet

Transforming IT to Move at the Speed of Opportunity on Forbes

Optimize Field Operations with Remote Monitoring From Field Technologies Online

New X-CTU Beta Release on the Digi Blog

Please tell us in the comments below or Tweet us, @DigiDotCom- we would love to share your findings too. You can also follow all of the commentary and discussion with the hashtag #FridayFavorites.

World Maker Faire NY 2013: Make Your Project Awesome

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World Maker Faire NY is only a week away! We’ll have project demos for you to check out, a new development kit, and we’ll be giving a talk on connecting your projects to the Internet. It’s going to be an extremely fun weekend. If you’re going to Maker Faire, be sure to stop by the Digi booth.

We’re excited to be debuting our XBee Wif-Fi Cloud kit, which makes internet-enabling your project easy.  Maker Faire attendees also have a chance to sign up for the beta version of our new X-CTU software.XBee_Cloud_Kit (1)

Digi’s Rob Faludi, and Liz Presson will be presenting September 22 at 12:00p.m. EST on the Electronics Stage. They’ll show you how an internet connection can improve your project and turn it into something amazing. This will be a great first step to get your projects connected to the internet. Everything from how to get started, what technologies to use and examples of great internet enabled projects.

Learn more about the talk here!

There’s lots happening at Maker Faire and we hope to see you there!

Contact a Digi expert and get started today! CONTACT US