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Teaching Tractor Roll-over Stability Using Lego Mindstorms

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2012 Dallas, Texas, July 29 - August 1, 2012  121337632.(doi:10.13031/2013.41828)
Authors:   A Bulent Koc, Bo Liu, Gregory C Langley
Keywords:   Tractor; Stability; Rollover; IOS; Lego Mindstorms; Curriculum

Students in agricultural equipment and machinery course at University of Missouri work in groups to build and program autonomous model tractors using the Lego Mindstorms kits. At the end of design and programming, they observe the performance of their tractors in a simulated tractor pulling a set of weight competition. With this activity, students observe the effects of drive mechanisms and ballasting on the amount of weight a tractor can pull. In addition to the simulated tractor pulling activities, we developed an experiment to integrate smart phones with the Lego Mindstorms kits to demonstrate instabilities taking place during tractor operation and to predict potential rollover situations. The mathematical model used in the mobile application uses the tractor dimensions entered by the user and the data from the accelerometer and gyroscope sensors of the smart phone. Next, the application calculates a stability index value, displays the change of stability index on the screen and sends automated emergency messages incase of a rollover. The details of the model and the smart phone application are presented in this paper.

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