I am looking to find and purchase a device that can be used to measure the speed of a Screamin' Serpant Type toy or a marble on a marble run track. The device must be portable and cheap enough (No more than $300) and able to show several points on a track at the same time (For comparissons: Lift hill, Loop, straight-away, incline) on a screen or computer monitor.
It also must be continuously monitoring, so that a student doesn't have to aim and hold a trigger when a marble or coaster car approaches the desired area.
Of course it should have no effect on the moving object.
Finally, if we would be able to take it to parks to measure the real thing, that would be a bonus.
Any idea or thoughts about where to look for something like this?
Thanks in advance for your help.
The idea is simple. First, video record the motion of an object (can be a toy roller coaster or the real thing at an amusment park) while the camera is at a fixed reference point. Second, load the recorded motion into the software for analysis. Third, use the software to find, position, speed, and acceleration at any point in the motion.
The only thing you need to do is have a reference dimension of known length to input to the software. For your toy roller coaster, you can have a ruler standing next to the toy in the video. For the real thing, you could input the known height of, say, the lift hill.
The software is called VideoPoint. It costs $225. http://www.lsw.com/videopoint/vp/index.html
I believe this will meet all your criteria and thensome.
You might be able to figure out a way to use these with the software, I don't know, just an idea.
http://www.inlinewarehouse.com/descpage.html?pcode=PSCR *** Edited 9/18/2006 4:21:55 PM UTC by BeccaRaptor***
That's the simplest way to get results. If you want to get real-time results, the light curtain technique described above is probably your best bet. Then you can measure the time between sensor triggers using any suitably equipped computer. A real-time clock would be useful, though, so while you could do it on, say, an Apple ][ via the game port (really easy!) you probably want to get results based on real time instead of machine loop cycles. :)
So if you want to "roll your own", run the optical pairs to an encoder board driven by a microcontroller and connected to a computer via parallel or USB.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
*** Edited 9/19/2006 9:07:22 PM UTC by RideMan***
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