Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Attention in Class

Why do you have to be so noisy in class?
Don't you know other people wants to pay attention in class while you don't?
How old are you to be so talkative in class?
Who cares is you don't give a damn about what is taught in class.

Please be quite or sleep or gt out of the class. You are not required there.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Methods of Losing Weight

Come to study at UTM and don't bring a car.

You will get thinner and thinner day by day.

The Types of Students in A University

University is not like secondary school or primary. It is a higher platform for people to land on and further their study and belief me, not all can reach this platform. I have this thought of separating these people into few category. The study student, the sports student, the society student, the practical student, and the gaming student.

The Study Student:
Well, this type of guys are studying their heads off. They always get good grade in class and have a high chance of getting 4 flat in the end of the course. Normally these people are fair because they only stay in their room, studying.

The Sports Student:
They like sports too much that they spend more time in playing their game than study. But in the end, they get really great in what they are playing and get to play off to international level. But study, minimize it as possible because they have no time to do sports.

The Society Student:
These people are those who goes out every day to meet people. They like to mix around people and organize activities for the sake of mixing with people. They felt fun in organizing and leading. In the end of the day, these peoples are very outstanding in handling people and organizing.

The Practical Student:
These type of students like to do practical work. They try to apply what they have learn in their studies and use it to make stuff. They are very skillful in what they do especially in technical works.

The Gaming Student:
These are those who play games 24/7. They don't really care about study and exams. They just know that they are lucky to get into a university and why care more? They can play their heads off.

So, what kind of student are you?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

DC Motor Control the Control Method

When it comes to motor control, a lot can be discussed. There are a lot of type of motor. The o'famous dc brushed motor, brushless motor, stepper motor, induction motor, ac phase motor et cetera. The cheapest of all motor with high torque would be a power window motor used to raise window in automobile.

Motor control is an interesting subject to discussed because of the characteristic of a motor.

As shown in the picture above, is a motor transfer function. From the function, we can see that the motor contains a integrator element. Of course you need to take basic in control system engineering to understand this.

Why the motor is called an integrator. Because it integrates. It takes the value of voltage applied and outputs position. Because there is no spring in a motor, the position will stay static after the voltage is removed.

There is two issue that concerns a dc brush motor. The speed and torque. Voltage will control the speed and current will control the torque. When an amount of voltage is applied to the motor, it will draw current to reach the value of speed corresponding to the value of voltage.

Of course this don't sounds that easy. There are at least three non-linearity in a dc brushed motor. A dead zone, saturation, and back lash. Dead zone means motor cannot handle too low a voltage. For example if one volt means one revolution per minute, it does not mean one tenth of volts produce one tenth of revolution per minute. Probably the motor won't even move!

Saturation deals with the maximum voltage the motor can handle. Probable the motor can handle a maximum of 100 volts and 110 volts still produce the angular speed as the 100 volts gives. Sometimes too the power that drives the motor cannot reach the value that are required. For example an operational amplifier driven motor can only produce a voltage of the op amp's saturation voltage.

Back lash is when the gear in the dc motor do not contacts well. This will affects the operation of dc motor in two direction. All this three (or more) non linearity makes a motor hard to control. But it is not an impossible thing to do.

With a proper control system, one may turn a useless power window motor into a super productive motor. This is a great advantage for those who are not be able to purchase an expensive motor or an expensive motor control module.

Some user that do not know about control might use a lot of money to purchase an expensive motor or motor control module. There are several reasons. One of them is the tedious method in constructing a proper control system. One might need to do a lot of experiment just to find a motor transfer function. Like the equation above, the K and a value are not easy to come by.

Another is the elements needed to construct a control system, analog or digital. A simple PID using operational amplifier need at least seven operational amlifiers while for digital control, it takes a lot of memory and program counter.

Third, one might not have the knowledge to apply a control system. The maths in control system engineering is not an easy subject. Especially the La Place Transform, Z-Transform, and such. The hard part is to realize the actual controller.

I have come up with a motor control using the blocks shown in the diagram above. I will input the desired position and the position value will be feed into a fuzzy controller and lastly the fuzzy output will be feed into a speed control. Of course the diagram just a simple representation of my system. The actual system is complex with feed backs and synchronizing elements.

The application? To drive a differential drive robot. I am able to tune the gains to produce several types of movement including straight, curves, turns, rotates and reverse. Of course this still do not solve the non-linearity of a dc motor.

Result? I would say the control system is hard to tune and takes up a lot of space in my microcontroller. And the robot is still laggy with minor error which accumulates at the end to form large error.

But what the heck, I do not need to burn my wallet for a motor control module.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fuzzy Controller is an Artificial Human Controller

Ng Khin Hooi
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
Faculty of Electrical Engineering

Fuzzy logic was first introduced in the United States of America but the Japanese are building product out of fuzzy logic rapidly. Ironically, the state where fuzzy logic emerge is still considering the possibility of it. The Europeans now are getting into it and really developing on fuzzy logic. There are many technology now that uses fuzzy logic mostly produced by the Japanese. Some fuzzy logic is in cameras, camcorders, air conditioners and washing machines. It is funny to hear; when asked about fuzzy logic, they would reply 'Washing machines?' Probably they never heard that fuzzy logic can control the stopping of a train much better than a human operator.

When mentioned about fuzzy logic, I merely meant fuzzy logic controller and fuzzy logic is the root of all the fuzz. Fuzzy logic discusses more about the mathematics while fuzzy controller is more about the application of fuzzy logic to control. The conventional control method that 90% machines and controller use now is a PID controller which stands for Proportional, Integrator and Derivative Controller. So, if PID is so commonly used and it is such a good controller, why use fuzzy? Perhaps this is why the American still vague about fuzzy logic.

Fuzzy logic controller could be viewed as a paradigm shifting because it change the view of a controller to a new perspective. With conventional method of for example the oh-so-good PID controller, the value are always calculated to form a control signal to the plant, for example the motor. As introduced by L.A. Zadeh, the human world do not need such precise values. As true for the fuzzy controller, it do not take the value significantly but transfer it to a fuzzy 'realm' before the control signal is produced.

Fuzzy logic controller can be viewed as a decision maker by a computer with human senses. Why it is called 'human senses?' When humans decide, they will always fall in a realm of two extremes. For example when driving a car, human will always adjust the throttle of the car according to his desired speed. Humans never use full throttle or no throttle. Fuzzy controller being different from a PID controller, human too do not know the exact value of pushing on the throttle to procude a certain speed, they just estimate the amount.

Fuzzy controller is much better in a sense they can estimate the value better. They would take in the value and make the decision by themselves based on the rule set by a real human. This is why fuzzy logic controller is called an artificial intelligence. They can make decision and the decision they made is based on calculation.

Take for example of stopping a train as mentioned above. A real human will estimate the amount of deceleration to be applied to the train and slowly braking the train. But human will have hard time in making the stop unless he is very experienced driver. For the fuzzy controller, it will measure the necessary input value (such and speed) and decide on the amount of deceleration to be put to the train. In other sense, fuzzy controller can be trained to be an expert human.

Well of course someone have to teach the fuzzy logic controller. Fuzzy logic controller is based on rules. Like the train stopping, some rules are like 'if the station is still far and the speed is high, then maintain speed', 'if the station is getting near and the speed is high, slow down speed', 'if the station is really near and speed is low, then slow down speed'. Based on these rules inputted in the fuzzy controller, it will calculate the necessary value of deceleration to the train.

The possibility from a fuzzy logic controller is wide the computation steps required needs the use of a computer or embedded system like microcontroller. Unlike PID controller, it can be build from few operational amplifiers, resistors and capacitors. Probably this is why no one wants to venture into fuzzy logic. The more input required, the more computational requirement is needed. This will takes a lot of space in data memory and program memory.

But why not venture into something new? The world now is revolving around AI especially fuzzy logic. At least the passengers in KTM commuter need not be jerked forward when the train stops.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Odometry Navigation

Programmed to run 2 meters, 90 degree curve, 180 degree curve, and 1 meter.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Some Sharing to Do

I was stunned to see this scene happening at Popular at City Square. Stunned would be too exaggerating but I cannot find another word. This is what happened. A small boy asking a popular staff lady, she is a Malay, wearing tudung. The boy asked 'Excuse me, where is the children book section?' I was impressed by this boy's politeness, and it is a great job by his parents to teach him that way. And the lady answered 'There!', in an impolite way. I felt irony there. Even a small boy can ask politely, and why can't a grown adult answer it politely? Is this a culture of a civilized society? That lady should learn from the small boy. What happened to 'Budi Bahasa Budaya Kita'?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What actually Mechatronics is?

This Venn Diagram or I would like to call it the Mechatronics Circles, shows the components of Mechatronics. It is actually the diagram taken from Wikipedia, only an improved version.

Maybe you have heard of mechanical engineering or electronic engineering, but you will seldom find people say mechatronic engineering. A name, by a senior engineer of Japan Company Yaskawa, Mr. Etsuro Mori was introduced in 1969. The term was so special by then, it was patented in 1971. After 11 years, the trademark was removed for general use. This field of engineering is new if compared to other engineering field in example mechanical engineering and electronic engineering as mentioned above.

As it was started in Japan, this field is slow to gain industrial and academic acceptance in Great Britain and the United States but it is growing fast as this field is offered in various educational institution for instance our proud University Teknologi Malaysia. With all kinds of alternatives names, ranging from electromechanical systems to control and automation engineering, it is now known as ‘mechanical engineering for the twenty-first century’.

‘The synergistic combination of precision mechanical engineering, electronic control and systems thinking in the design of products and process’ (Bradley, Dawson et. Al, Mechatronics, Electronics in products and processes, Chapman and Hall Verlag, London 1991). With this definition, you can presume the field consists of many components. Well, it does! This field related to controlling and regulating systems with control theory (control engineering), as well as controlling robots (servo technology). With the latter subject been compacted, it is put under microprocessors.

Communication technology also connected to mechatronics for instance remote operations of robotics arm from a distance place. Nowadays, leading researches in mechatronics (to name a few) are intelligent control (the ability of a system to respond to uncertainty and determine the best solution to it, which is a scientific and technical field, based of artificial intelligent and automation control) and biomechatronics (integrating human body and robotics mechanism to support movement.

Most technologies out there at the present time are application of mechatronic. For an instance, control architecture with the usage of control algorithm will produce ‘spinning’ devices such as CD player, VCD player, hard disks in computers, auto focus cameras, washing machines et cetera. Biomedical devices such as CT scan machine is an example of sensors and control in mechatronics. Mechatronic also applies to transport and travel which includes computer-controlled light railway transit (PutraLine, Kuala Lumpur), aircraft without pilot and so forth. Robotics can be operated for manufacturing, exploration, medical and so on.

After some brief information on mechatronics, let us discover information relevant to those interested in mechatronics engineering studies. Basic studies of this field include fundamental mathematics and sciences such as engineering mathematics, engineering statistics, algorithm, thermodynamics, physics, chemistry, and so on. Studies also include computer skills for instance computer systems, C Programming Technique, CAD program and so on. Mechanics field including machine component designs, mechanical design, servo mechanism, and such. Electric and electronics fields which include electric technology, electronic devices, circuit systems, programmable logic controller. Networking, for example signal and network theory. Specialized studies include control engineering, robotics systems, artificial intelligent, microprocessor, microcontroller and such. Studies stated above varied from institution to institution globally.

Of course, to achieve a successful engineer, one should have special characteristics. They must have interest in designing and computer with strong usage of language. Besides they should have the curiosity on how things work and how to improve it (creative and critical thinking). In addition, the ability to produce intelligent solution to problems faced by people will make a successful engineer. Job careers are diverse in the world out there. Studies in mechatronic field will earn job in example automation engineer, professional engineer, control engineer, mechanical engineer, electrical engineer and much more.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

After One Year of Blogging

Today is 13th of October 2009. I created a Blogger account on 11th of October 2008 and started posting at 12th of October 2008. Created a Nuffnang account at the end of October and started using since then. Only after one year then I get a RM 50 ++. Meanings I can check out my money now and get free RM 50.00 from Nuffnang. Thanks to you, Nuffnang and thanks to Blogger. Not to mention other websites/utilities on the internet which is listed at the bottom of the weblog.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Christian and Control Theory

This is rather an interesting article to read.

Credits to Dan Simon
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Cleveland, Ohio, 44115

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Beacon of Knowledge

Entering ROBOCON would be like boarding on a beacon for knowledge. Imagine all those knowledge that can be gained. The ROBOCON spokesman said it will be a challenge to join in the team and it will make one busy the whole day of his/her life. Nevertheless, this is a choice I have chosen. The ex-leader quoted 'You are already an adult, you can think for yourself about what you really want and what you really need'. Yes I admit, I need knowledge. Our Vice Chancellor too emphasize on the importance of knowledge and gaining of knowledge. Let's hope for the best and good luck to UTM.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Perspex Lamp Project Render

This is the lamp I am talking about to make. The idea was not totally mine though. Just some alteration. The idea is to have the Lamp changing colours in the pyramid at the center.

It is not really done though, this Image is only a render from 3Ds Max.


edit: More renders

3ds Max rocks!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Auto Car 07 - Output Motor Direction

There are a lot of method to make a motor driver. We can have a H bridge using transistors, using Operational Amplifier and power transistors or rather an Intergrated Circuit we call it Motor Driver IC. Its L293, able to control 2 motors. Each side of motor will have an Enable, Input 1, Input 2, Output 1, and Output 2. Motor will be connected at Output 1 and Output 2.

If Input 1 is High, Output 1 will be high and vice versa, so does Input 2 and Output 2. So to run a motor, we can put High in Input 1 and Low in Input 2, current will flow from Output 1 to Output 2. TO reverse the direction, we will put Input 1 with Low and Input 2 with High, current will flow from Output 2 to Output 1.

To control the speed, we will send PWM to the Enable. For lower speed of motor, we will use lower duty cycle while for higher speed, we will use higher duty cycle.

You can search for the data sheet here.


Lamp Project

I am thinking of making a lamp for a friend's birthday. Not just ordinary lamp, a colour changing lamp a project already done by TauShen, hope he don't mind.

Because colour are mix of red, green and blue, I can mix the colours to make any colour I want; theoretically. Depending on the position of the lamp too.

The structure of the lamp is made of acrylic plastic, donut board, PCB stand, paper and white colour spray.

Wish me luck.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Auto Car Interlude - Photo of the Car

Click on it for enlarged version.

The picture will do all the talking. The structure need improvement.

To view all the post about this project, click here.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Auto Car 06 - Output DC Motor Speed Control

Before going into speed control, we will first try to understand the working force behind it. We will use PWM or Pulse Width Modulation. But before going into PWM, we will look into the basics of wave.

Figure of a simple sine wave.

A wave is a signal in any form that can be plotted in terms of time. Periodic wave is a wave that repeats itself to form similar pattern. A periodic wave contains the period (like illustrated) and the amplitude (like illustrated). This sine wave too have the positive half and negative half.

Figure of a square wave.

In PWM, we will only use square wave. Square wave will have another property which is the duty cycle. The duty cycle is the ON time over the period. It is usually written in percentage. Therefore in the picture above, the duty cycle is 50%. By modifying the duty cycle, we are actually modulate the pulse width, thus creating PWM.

The DC average voltage for a certain square wave is given by

DC Voltage = Duty Cycle X Amplitude;

Figure of different duty cycle.

So to control the voltage given to the motor, we modulate the pulse width. For example in the piture above, first wave's duty cycle is 12.5%, so if the amplitude is 6 volts, the resultant voltage is 0.75 V. For the second wave, the duty cycle is 25%, resulting in 1.5 V. Third with 50 % result in 3V and final wave is 75%, result in 4.5 volts.

By modifying the duty cycle, we can modify the output voltage, and based on the previous entry for autocar, we can vary the speed by varying the voltage applied to the dc motor.

All the post on auto car can be viewed by clicking on the project label on the right side of the blog.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

List of homework:

- Engineering Mathematics
- Differential Equation Assignment
- Control Assignment
- Creative Thinking Essay (Nation's Wealth Contribute to Creative Thinkers)
- Creative Thinking Assignment (Method of Creating New Idea)
- Creative Thinking Activity (Activity that Enhances Creativity)

It is just after the test season, then come the assignment season. As they say 'it never rains but it pours'. As for the activities, suddenly, everything halts. Auto Car is almost complete, just need some minor tweaking. Mechanism assignment is also finished, just need to change the position of a limit switch and rearrange the breadboard. Suddenly feel like nothing to do.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Auto Car 05 - Output DC Motor

This is going to be a short post because it is a simple actuator. A Direct Current Motor (DC Motor). DC motor is a transducer to transfer from electrical energy to kinetic energy.

DC Motor consists of 2 pin. If you put one pin with + voltage and another with 0 voltage, it will turn one side and if you reverse the poles, it will turn the other side. Simple.

Another concept of DC Motor is the speed. If you want the speed to be faster, just put in more voltage. Ideally you can put as much voltage to a DC Motor to produce very high speed.

If you put the voltage to a certain voltage (we put it as D volts), it will produce S radian per seconds (rad/s is a unit for angular speed). If we put D volts but there is a load, it will produce a speed less than S rad/s, the motor will keep on drawing more and more current until it reach S rad/s.

Therefore, if the load is significantly large, if you still put D voltage, the motor still won't move but it will keep on drawing current. If the voltage is increased, until a threshold, the current will be very large and the motor will burn.

The nature of a DC motor to reach the required speed according to the voltage given by drawing more current is considered an Integrator.

In the auto car, we will control the direction and speed. Direction can be controlled by a motor driver and speed will be controlled by PWM.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Auto Car 04 - Input Infra Red 02

In this part, we shall look into analog and digital and how to change our infra red signal into digital form.

Figure of example of Analog.

Analog is something that has a continuous value like height of a human, weight, where the value if placed in a range. Some of the stuff the stuff that uses analog is the cassette and film camera. Our Infra Red Signal Output too is an analog value.

Figure of example of discrete.

Discrete which is different from Analog, is a system which has values that is fixed like Number of Member in a Family, Blood Type, Number of Rooms in a House. This is not a digital value but it can be used to transform from Analog to Digital in Z-Transform which involves Digital Control.

Figure of example of Digital.

While Digital is a system where it can only posses 0 and 1. 0 means NO, or LOW, or OFF while 1 means YES, or HIGH, or ON.

Next, we shall move on to the Infra Red.

Figure of When facing the Black Surface.

This figure shows the ray when hitting Black surface, which is our line in the field. When it hit black line, it will be absorbed and leave less ray back to the receiver.

Figure of When facing the White Surface.

While in this figure, then ray hits a white surface and it could reflect almost all of the ray. Therefore the receiver will receive maximum ray.

Figure of Signal Voltage versus Ray Brightness.

This is the graph of signal voltage produced when hitting different surfaces. In 'a', the surface is black thus it will produce Higher Voltage. In 'b', the surface is white, thus producing Lower Voltage. This Graph is only applicable for this type of connection. If the 4.7kOhm resistor and IR Receiver is switched place, it will produce different graph.

Figure of the analogy of Operational Amplifier as a Comparator.

So to produce a '1' on black surface and '0' on white surface, we need an Operational Amplifier as a Comparator. In this mode, we shall take the input as Digital. So we need to convert Black into '1' and White into '0' although the Signal Voltage is an Analog Value.

In the figure, when Operational Amplifier act as a Comparator (and only comparator, the diagram is applicable). When 'a' voltage is higher than 'b' voltage, the hand will turn on the upper part switch thus letting the voltage at the upper part to flow to the output. On the contrary, when 'b' voltage is higher than 'a' voltage, the hand will turn down to switch on the lower part switch thus making the voltage at the lower part flow to the output.

Figure of the Comparator.

Therefore, the Digital is actually coming from 0 Volt and 5 volts in the Operational Amplifier. Anything from Black to 50% Gray will produce 5 volts at the output (HIGH) and anything from 50% Gray to White will produce 0 volt at the output (LOW). the gray value is 50% because we are using 2.5Volts comparing value.

This shall not be confused to Analog to Digital where for example 10 Volts will be converted to 1010 Binary Volts where an Analog to Digital Converter is needed. In our case, it is more like converting a Range to '0' and another range to '1'.

To view previous posts about the Auto Car Project, you could click on the 'Project' Label at the right sidebar.

The story of a pencil

A boy was watching his grandmother write a letter. At one point he asked: 'Are you writing a story about what we've done? Is it a story about me?’ His grandmother stopped writing her letter and said to her grandson: ‘I am writing about you, actually, but more important than the words is the pencil I’m using. I hope you will be like this pencil when you grow up.’

Intrigued, the boy looked at the pencil. It didn’t seem very special. ‘But it’s just like any other pencil I’ve ever seen!’

'That depends on how you look at things. It has five qualities which, if you manage to hang on them, it will make you a person who is always at peace with the world.

First quality: you are capable of great things, but you must never forget that there is a hand guiding your steps. We call that hand God, and He always guides us according to His will.

Second quality: now and then, I have to stop writing and use a sharpener. That makes the pencil suffer a little, but after wards, he’s much sharper. So you, too, must learn to bear certain pains and sorrows, because they will make you a better person.

Third quality: the pencil always allows us to use an eraser to rub out any mistakes. This means that correcting something we did is not necessarily a bad thing; it helps to keep us on the road to justice.

Fourth quality: what really matters in a pencil is not its wooden exterior, but the graphite inside. So always pay attention to what is happening inside you.

Finally, the pencil’s Fifth quality: it always leaves a mark. in just the same way, you should know that everything you do in life will leave a mark, so try to be conscious of that in your every action.'

Forwarded by Puan Hamizah from UTM International Campus

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Auto Car 03 - Input Infra Red 01

This is the post to discuss about the input section of the auto car. The team provide us with infra red sensors. Actually the eye of the robot is not limited to this only. There are several type like Light Detecting Resistors (or Photocells) and optic sensors (which might costs RM 400.00 each).

Before going further, this is an analogy of how the infra red (IR) sensors will work.

Figure of the analogy of IR sensors

Let's say there is a hand there and the hand wants to push the button so it will be switched on. If the hand is there, it will keep pushing so the switch is closed (electricity will conduct). If the hand is not there, switch will be open (electricity won't conduct).

Figure of symbol for IR transmitter and receiver

In this pair of infra red sensors, when the transmitter emits IR ray, as long as the receiver receives the ray, the electricity will flow in the receiver. Of course in this, the electricity if not measure by ON or OFF like the hand analogy. There is a range from full current to zero current. The current can be any value from zero to the maximum depending on the strength of the IR ray. The stronger the ray, the more current will pass through.

Figure of IR transmitter and receiver connection.

To connect, we will use 5 volts, 330 Ohm resistor and 4.7 kOhm resistor. The signal we are getting is voltage. When the ray is present, meanings the 'switch' is closed, therefore signal will be close to 0 volts. If the ray is absent, the 'switch' is opened, therefore the signal will be close to 5 volts.

Figure of IR transmitter and receiver.

This is the sample of the IR transmitter and receiver. The polarity, '+' and '-' must be connected correctly in the circuit. Shorter leg for transmitter is negative while shorter leg for receiver is positive.

Now the output from the signal is in analog. Meanings the voltage can be ranged from 0 volt to 5 volts. We shall see the way to change the analog signal to digital signal.

Look to the skies tonight: Annual Perseid meteor shower peaks

July 31, 2009: Earth is entering a stream of dusty debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle, the source of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Although the shower won't peak until August 11th and 12th, the show is already getting underway.

Brian Emfinger of Ozark, Arkansas, photographed this early Perseid just after midnight on Sunday, July 26th:

A Perseid Fireball

"I used an off-the-shelf digital camera to capture this fireball and its smoky trail," says Emfinger. "It was a bright one!"

Don't get too excited, cautions Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "We're just in the outskirts of the debris stream now. If you go out at night and stare at the sky, you'll probably only see a few Perseids per hour."

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This will change, however, as August unfolds.

"Earth passes through the densest part of the debris stream sometime on August 12th. Then, you could see dozens of meteors per hour."

For sky watchers in North America, the watch begins after nightfall on August 11th and continues until sunrise on the 12th. Veteran observers suggest the following strategy: Unfold a blanket on a flat patch of ground. (Note: The middle of your street is not a good choice.) Lie down and look up. Perseids can appear in any part of the sky, their tails all pointing back to the shower's radiant in the constellation Perseus. Get away from city lights if you can.

There is one light you cannot escape on August 12th. The 55% gibbous Moon will glare down from the constellation Aries just next door to the shower's radiant in Perseus. The Moon is beautiful, but don't stare at it. Bright moonlight ruins night vision and it will wipe out any faint Perseids in that part of the sky.

Above: Looking northeast around midnight on August 11th-12th. The red dot is the Perseid radiant. Although Perseid meteors can appear in any part of the sky, all of their tails will point back to the radiant. Image copyright:, used with permission.

The Moon is least troublesome during the early evening hours of August 11th. Around 9 to 11 p.m. local time (your local time), both Perseus and the Moon will be hanging low in the north. This low profile reduces lunar glare while positioning the shower's radiant for a nice display of Earthgrazers.

"Earthgrazers are meteors that approach from the horizon and skim the atmosphere overhead like a stone skipping across the surface of a pond," explains Cooke. "They are long, slow and colorful—among the most beautiful of meteors." He notes that an hour of watching may net only a few of these at most, but seeing even one can make the whole night worthwhile.

The Perseids are coming. Enjoy the show.

Courtesy of

Monday, August 10, 2009

Auto Car 02 - The Task

First of all, before making our auto car, we need to take a look at the task given. Task given by the UTM ROBOCON Team to us minors to enter their team.

Figure of the game field layout. (Click for enlargement)

The field will be white and the line will be black.
Base 1 and Base 2 will be 1 cm X 1 cm X 1 cm and are loaded with a ping pong ball.
Center Base will be 5 cm X 5 cm X 1 cm and is empty.

1.4) Start zone is at A as in the game field.
1.5) The maximum number of ping pong ball allowed on auto car is 3. Reload is not allowed after the game started.
1.6) Participants' auto car must complete 1 round first before dropping ping pong ball or score center basket.

1.1) 1 mark will be awarded each time an auto car completes 1 round and passes point A (at own or opponent's side).
1.2) 4 marks will be awarded if an auto car drops ping pong ball from its base (at own side).
1.3) 6 marks will be awarded if an auto car drops ping pong ball at opponent side from its base.
1.4) 7 marks will be awarded if an auto car manages to put a ping pong ball into the center basket.
However this 7 marks will be forfeited in the case of opponent's autocar manage to remove the ping pong ball.

Participants who manage to collect 10 marks first before 3 minutes game will be declared as the winner. Otherwise, auto car that accumulated the highest mark after 3 minutes game will be declared as the winner.

Taken from the task sheet provided by the ROBOCON Team.


Continuing from Auto Car 01, it seems that we already have out input and output. The lines on the field is our input. As an analogy, we humans can see where the line goes and go according where we want using our leg. Similarly, our robot need to 'see' where the line is and follow the line. This is called line following robot.

The output would be the motors themselves. We need to have the microC to read or 'see' the line and interpret and go according to the task provided. The device used are already provided by the team. We would just use them.

Auto Car 01 - An Introduction to Microcontroller

This article is written without any professional knowledge. Any usage that cause calamity is not the author's responsibility.

Robotics is a very interesting topic to talk about. One of the famous competition in robotics is ROBOCON organized by Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU). When we are dealing with robots, it can be divided to the type of control which is autonomous or manual human control.

Robot is like a human which needs parts to survive. The most vital is the brain. Humans without a brain is like zombie. They cannot think, they cannot react to certain impulses, and they cannot decide for their own.

Therefore, the brain in our robot is called a microcontroller.

Figure of simple concept of microcontroller.

Microcontroller or we shall call it microC is actually a integrated circuit (IC) which have a lot of function in it. It can count, determine logic and control the whole process done in the brain. This is what we call Central Processing Unit (CPU). Further divided in the CPU is the Arithmetic and Logic Unit (ALU) and Control Unit (CU). Let's not talk to much about this.

There are a lot of types of microcontroller manufactured by tremendous companies. Like the famous Microchip produces Peripheral Interface Controller (PIC). Others are like 6800 family by Motorola and 8051 by Intel.

Referring to the diagram, a microC will be connected to inputs and outputs. Like our human brain, it needs the basic five senses (sight, taste, feel, hear, smell) and the moving parts (arms, legs, mouth, etc).

In microC, they are not really fortunate to have the basic five senses (although with advance technology, they do can have it). Therefore, we have some simple inputs like limits switches, buttons, sensors, etc. And microC's output is not as good as human's arm and legs (again, advance technology conquers all). They have actuators like motors, light emitting diode, etc.

What controls the output? The microC's CPU of course. With the CPU, microC can determine what type of output we want to have. A simple example is when we push a button, an LED will light on. The microC will read from the input. If the button is pushed, it will light up the LED and if the button is not pushed, the LED will be turned off (this is an example of simple logic).

Of course the auto car's logic is not that simple. It needs more complex algorithm (steps to do things) so it can work nicely.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sejahtera Malaysia

This is a Soprano Alto Tenor Bass version of Sejahtera Malaysia compiled by Fruity Loop Demo Version. Just some music notes and quite simple.

Puji dan syukur pada Illahi
Anugerahnya tiada terhingga
Kedamaian kemakmuran
Malaysiaku bahagia

Dengan tekad untuk berjaya
Berbakti pada nusa dan bangsa
Kami junjung cita-cita luhur
Perpaduan seluruh negeri

Seia sekata sehati sejiwa
Menghadapi cabaran
Kami setia kami sedia
Berkorban untuk negara

Bersemarak Malaysia tercinta
Kibarkan panji kebesarannya
Kami rela menjaga namamu
Sejahtera Malaysia

The music score belongs to Unit Kebudayaan of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
And here is the music.


Saturday, August 1, 2009


i think science and mathematics should be taught in English.

it is just much more convenient for further studies or even career.

all the terms outside is in english now.

and i don't think malay will fade just like that.

we have bahasa malaysia for one's sake.

I, out of many would support the use of English in Science and Mathematics. Even the syllabus in UTM itself is in English. The course outcome, the program outcome, program educational outcome, the teachings, the modules and the text books.

When we are out there in the community of science and technology, we are bound to use English because of the exchange and sharing of technology from other country like Japan, German, etc.

So if there is a difference in language, how the information is going to be transferred. Take for example the use of 'feedback' in a simple closed loop control system. In Malay, it would be 'suap balik'. Who in the world from other country would understand that? Not all words are directly translated from English but with much similar spelling.

And who are you to comment on the percent things. And where do you even get the data of 1% every year.

Kita masih belajar Bahasa Malaysia dalam banyak matapelajaran contohnya Seni, Sejarah, Pendidikan Moral, Kemahiran Hidup, Geografi, Akaun, Perdagangan, Muzik (untuk sekolah rendah), BAHASA MALAYSIA, dan lain-lain. Bukankah BAHASA MALAYSIA itu satu subjek yang diwajibkan oleh pelajar untuk lulus untuk mendapat Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia.

Dengan penggunaan Bahasa Malaysia dalam begitu banyak matapelajaran dan kewajiban lulus, saya tidak rasa yang Bahasa Malaysia akan pupus atau hilang ditelan zaman.

Kerajaan kita perlu lihat kepada pandangan rakyat seperti dalam undian dalam blog 86% menyokong penggunaan Bahasa Inggeris dalam pengajaran dan pembelajaran Sains dan Matematik.

Saya menyatakan hujah ini bukan saya prejudis akan penggunaan Bahasa Malaysia. Saya amat bangga dengan Bahasa Malaysia dan negara kita. Tetapi fikirlan demi masa depan negara kita dalam penbangunan teknologi...

This is the matter I would refer to as Utilitarianism Versus Deontology.

This is the theory of action and effect.

Utilitarianism says that no matter what action you take, as long as the effect is good, the action is good too. Example Robin Hood robs the King (is bad) but he gave the money to the poor (makes this a good deed)

Deontology on the other hand says that doesn't matter what is the effect, as long as your action is good, it is considered good.

In my opinion, teaching in Science and Maths is the utilitarianism case and teaching in Malay is the deontology case. Students who is strong in English is capable of fighting in the global market but you need to sacrifice the use of Malays (by a tiny amount) while learning it in Malay will preserve the language as our National Language.

In the other hand, it is the matter of small mind versus big mind. Thinking outside of the box or inside the box.

Friday, July 31, 2009

When we are dealing with lecturer, it can be a very interesting issue. Some lecturer is good and some lecturer is bad. Some is diabolical. Some can be childish. This is the tale of ZD (pronoun zee-dee). Oh man, this lecturer is the best lecturer in the whole universe. He teach very well and everyone in the lecture room will understand what he taught. And when the whole class is noisy, he will stay calm and will not cancel the class due to some anger. He actly maturely to deal with the class and ending up all the student liking him. When he make joke, everyone in the class will laugh.

If you get what this message is about.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mount Kinabalu Peak Photo Shot

Some proof that my friends and I stepped on the Peak of Mount Kinabalu. Photo courtesy to YeeChang.

The very peak, Low's Peak.

This is South Peak, the Peak you can see at the back of Malaysian RM 1 bill.

St John's Peak.

This is Low's Peak, taken from the foot. Not the foot foot.

Again, South Peak.

This is again Low's Peak.

Donkey Ears' Peak. Like ears.

This is South Peak, I think, taken from another angle.

P.S. The view was magnificent.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Seems there is something out there that I long for. It is not love, not money, not study. But it is hard to explain what I want. There is an empty hole in me waiting for something to fill in.

Seems like the preparing for degree still not complete. Waiting for the last minute again to finish it. I don't know why I don't have the will. Maybe it is the feel of the new area.

Seems I never feel excited about the degree. Need to face new people. Face a new environment. Wondering what kind of outcome will be there for me to venture.

Seems lost. Lost in this turning point. What to do but to follow it. Only to see what lies beyond the corner.

Emo post, love,

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Summit of Mount Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu is a famous mountain in Malaysia. Located in Sabah, it is the highest mountain in Malaysia.

My friends and I went for an adventure up the mountain. I won't say it is an easy climb for a weakling like me. But I am able to make it up there with a normal speed. It took us (mostly me), 5 hours to reach Laban Rata, and another 3 hours and one half to reach the peak.

On June 17th, we reach Kota Kinabalu, took a taxi to Padang Merdeka for just RM 20.00. From there we took a walk around Kota Kinabalu. After that, we took a taxi from Padang Merdeka to Kinabalu Park for just RM 60.00. This is the view on the way, it was raining that day, we the mountain was covered with cloud.

We checked in Grace Hostel at Kinabalu Park. Had our rest before the climb the next day.

Fortunately, the next day was clear and we can view the mountain from Kinabalu Park.

This is our pass. You will need a pass to climb the mountain or you will be charged with prisonment or fine. Of course to get a pass, you need to book a hotel at Laban Rata via Sutera Sanctuary Lodges. They only allow 192 climbers daily.

This is the view on the way of the climb.

We could see the peak on the way, but it is still very far away.

During rest stops you will be approached by some friendly squirrels.

Of course we feed then with apples given by the hotel.

You will see the KM markings too. We need to climb 6 KM to Laban Rata and another 2.7 KM to the peak, a total 8.7 KM climb.

Some view again.

On the way, some porter will overtake us. They were able to carry some heavy goods and walk faster than us. How strong they were.

This is the type of route up.

Another random view.

Another random view.

As we get higher and higher, we can see the peak more clearly.

And the view down gets nicer.

Rocky route.

This is the view at Laban Rata. We are above the clouds.

Some of the vegetation on top.

The trees are mostly looks like that.

View from Laban Rata.

This is the sunset.

We took our rest at Gunting Lagadan. About 10 minutes hike from Laban Rata. And we woke up at 1 am on June 19th to prepare for the early morning climb.

We start climbing at 2.30 am. The view of night sky was very beautiful. It is the first time I saw a sky with the most stars.

Of course the hike was dark and dangerous at some parts.

Fortunately, I was able to make it in time to the peak to view the sunrise.

The sunrise view from the top of Malaysia.

We started the descend.

The view of Kundasang on the way down.

We took breakfast at Laban Rata and started going down at 9.10 am. And we reach Kinabalu Park around 1.00 pm.

This is the certificate. From Timpohon gate to Peak and back to Timpohon gate.

Of course there are prize for me to pay. Fever, diarhoea, and muscle sore. But it was worth it.

P.S. If anyone wants the large version of the pictures and some panorama shots, you could leave your contact at the comment. Of course it would be best if you could see it for yourself the view from the top.