Gesture control for PowerPoint presentation

Basic idea of the project

The intention of this tutorial is to learn how to control computer keyboard and mouse events using your micro-controller. For demonstration I have chosen to name the project as gesture control for PowerPoint presentation. At the end of this tutorial you will be able to control the slides using your gestures. Now in order to control the operating system you need a language like python, java, c++ etc. I find python affable and powerful so I’ll be using that for coding. You can use any language you want but the logic and algorithm will remain the same, only the syntax will differ. I won’t be teaching you python in this post that is beyond the scope of this post. If you want to learn the language there is plethora of content available online. You just need a net connection and off you go.
P.S. : If you like the posts do like and share them with others.

Python

Python is an easy to learn high level programming language. It is a beautiful and a very powerful language. The packages that are available make it kind of limitless. Some of the places where python is used are mentioned below.

  • Google makes extensive use of Python in its web search systems.
  • The popular YouTube video sharing service is largely written in Python.
  • The Dropbox storage service codes both its server and desktop client software primarily in Python.
  • The Raspberry Pi single-board computer promotes Python as its educational language.
  • NASA, Los Alamos, Fermilab, JPL, and others use Python for scientific programming tasks.

So we know that most of the big shots use python. Now they use it for a reason and the reason being that its simply an awesome language. If you want to start learning programming you ought to start with python. Here are a list of sites and books that you may use for learning python.

  1. https://www.python.org/about/gettingstarted/ (This is the official page where you can learn how to install the IDE and get started.)
  2. Learning Python, 5th Edition (This is a good book if you are new to programming and otherwise as well.)
  3. http://www.learnpython.org/
  4. http://www.tutorialspoint.com/python/

Once you get the hang of it then you can directly use the documentations for learning how to use the packages.

pySerial and PyUserInput

We will be requiring these modules in our project. The names are quite self explanatory the former is for serial communication while the latter is for the mouse and keyboard events. The links to these modules are:

Well download these and install them. I recommend you to use 32bit python 2.7 version modules as well as the language. Because most of the modules are available for 2.7 version.

Components and Software requirements

  • A microcontroller board with UART capability e.g. MSP430G2 Launchpad, Arduino Uno board etc.
  • An accelerometer e.g. ADXL335 etc..
  • Python 2.7 , pySerial & PyUserInput modules

Connections

connections

I have used fritzing for making this. Here is the link to their home page.  http://fritzing.org/home/

Logic

We will calibrate the accelerometer and take readings for left and right position. Use the serial monitor for this. Read my tutorial titled Capacitive Accelerometer Interfacing if you don’t know what I am talking about. Next once you have those digital values you need to make the program for slide control. We know that left arrow and right arrow keys are used for navigation purpose. So in our python script the if statements will contain code for left arrow button press and right arrow button press. Note that you are reading the values that the controller is sending serially using python and taking decisions based on that value.

Energia Code

int x_pin = A0;
void setup()
{
  // put your setup code here, to run once:
  Serial.begin(9600);
  pinMode(x_pin,INPUT);
  analogReference(INTERNAL2V5);
}

void loop()
{
  // put your main code here, to run repeatedly:
  int x = analogRead(x_pin);
  Serial.println(x);
  delay(500);
}

Python Script

__author__ = 'MANPREET'
'''
This is a file for controlling keyboard events.
'''
from pykeyboard import PyKeyboard
import serial
import time

comPort = raw_input("Please enter the COM port number")
baudRate = raw_input("Please enter the baud rate")
myserial = serial.Serial(comPort, baudRate)
k = PyKeyboard()
TRUE = 1;
try:
    while (TRUE):
        if (myserial.inWaiting()):
            mydata = myserial.readline()
            x = int(mydata)
            print(x)
            if x > 650:
                k.tap_key(k.left_key)
                print("left")
                time.sleep(1)
            if x < 550:
                k.tap_key(k.right_key)
                print("right")
                time.sleep(1)
except KeyboardInterrupt:
    print("stop")

Code Explanation

The Energia code is pretty straightforward but still just to cover that as well. We have declared A0 i.e. P1.0 pin as input and changed the ADC reference voltage to 2.5V in line 7. Next part is just getting the ADC reading and sending it serially.

The python code demands some explanation. So lets begin understanding the code .

from pykeyboard import PyKeyboard
import serial
import time

This code will import three modules PyKeyboard, serial and time. For the pykeyboard we have imported the constructor. Then you have made one object k using the same.

comPort = raw_input("Please enter the COM port number")
baudRate = raw_input("Please enter the baud rate")
myserial = serial.Serial(comPort, baudRate)
k = PyKeyboard()

myserial is an object of the serial module that you have imported. You will use this to access its functions. The raw_input() is for taking the com port and baud rate values from the user. Example COM11 and 9600.

TRUE = 1;
try:
    while (TRUE):
        if (myserial.inWaiting()):
            mydata = myserial.readline()
            x = int(mydata)
            print(x)
            if x > 650:
                k.tap_key(k.left_key)
                print("left")
                time.sleep(1)
            if x < 550:
                k.tap_key(k.right_key)
                print("right")
                time.sleep(1)
except KeyboardInterrupt:
    print("stop")

Well this is an infinite loop and you are checking this block for keyboard interrupt i.e. ctrl+c . This is done so that you can come out of the program properly without having to kill the program. Next we are checking if there is data in the serial buffer. If yes then we are storing it in mydata variable. Convert it into integer and store it as some variable say x. Next step is easy write two if statements and include the code and condition for left arrow button press and right arrow button press. For more details of the PyKeyboard module visit : https://pypi.python.org/pypi/PyUserInput/0.1.9
For running the python script install python 2.7. Copy paste the python script code into notepad and save it as gersturecontrol.py(or any name for that matter) Then follow these steps.

  1. Open command prompt(Press windows+r, then type cmd and press enter.)
  2. opening_command_prompt

  3. Change the directory to the one containing your python script i.e. the .py file. Use cd for that.
  4. file_location

  5. Use python gesturecontrol.py for running your code
  6. running the program

  7. For stopping the code press ctrl+c

Thank you for reading the post and hope that it was helpful.If you like the post do share it with others and spread the knowledge.

A taste of Image Processing

Image processing involves extracting information from images and using the information so obtained for various operations and tasks. Don’t confuse image processing image processing with image manipulation that involves adjusting the images. Photoshop and similar software are used for image manipulation.

Application areas

  • Medical Applications
  • Industrial Applications
  • Military Applications: Some of the most challenging and performance-critical scenarios for image processing solutions have been developed for military needs, ranging from detection of soldiers or vehicles to missile guidance and object recognition and reconnaissance tasks using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In addition, military applications often require the use of different imaging sensors, such as range cameras and thermo-graphic forward-looking infrared (FLIR) cameras.
  • Law Enforcement and Security: Surveillance applications have become one of the most intensely researched areas within the video processing community. Biometric techniques (e.g., fingerprint, face, iris, and hand recognition), which have been the subject of image processing research for more than a decade, have recently become commercially available.
  • Consumer Electronics
  • The World Wide Web

So as we can see image processing has wide areas of application.

That being said you need some software or programming language for making this image processing possible. There are various ways by which this can be done. You can use c, NI LabVIEW, MATLAB etc. for image processing. For this post I’ll be using MATLAB. Now we did this just so as to understand the concepts of image processing. So if you feel that its meagre you can build on this.

Code

clc;
close all;
clear all;
video = videoinput('winvideo');%Create video variable

set(video,'FramesPerTrigger',1); % Setting frames per trigger
preview(video);%Preview the video
rgb_image = getsnapshot(video); % Storing Image in an array variable
[y x c]= size(rgb_image); % Determining the size of the captured frame.
x1 = (x/2)-(0.2*x);
x2 = (x/2)+(0.2*x);
y1 = (y/2)-(0.25*y);
y2 = (y/2)+(0.25*y);
global s;
s = serial('COM4')
fopen(s)
while(1)
image = getsnapshot(video);
fR = image(:,:,1);
fG = image(:,:,2);
fB = image(:,:,3);
I = fR>200;
se=strel('disk',5);
B=imopen(I,se);
final=imclose(B,se);
[L,n]=bwlabel(final);
for k=1:n
    [r,c]=find(L==k);
    rbar=mean(r);
    cbar=mean(c);
end
rbar
cbar
if x1<cbar<x2 &&  rbar<y1
    disp('Move forward');
    global s;
    fwrite(s,'w')
elseif cbar<x1 && y1<rbar<y2
    disp('Move right');
    global s;
    fwrite(s,'d')
elseif cbar>x2 && y1<rbar<y2
    disp('Move left');
    global s;
    fwrite(s,'a')
elseif x1<cbar<x2 && rbar>y2
    disp('Move back');    
    global s;
    fwrite(s,'s')
elseif x1<cbar<x2 && y1<rbar<y2
    disp('Move stop');
    global s;
    fwrite(s,'f')
end
end

Now this is the code. I am thinking I’ll just explain the logic and then you can use MATLAB help for the rest. Seriously the help provides is simply awesome. You can understand how the functions word using the help and then there is the world wide net. So I am assuming that those of you who has interest will read further.

Now let’s begin understanding the code.

video = videoinput(‘winvideo’);

This will create a video object from the available cameras. You can check the available ones by using imaqhwinfo

image

So for the windows winvideo is installed adapter.

image

Next give winvideo as the agrument to the imaqhwinfo(). Now if you have an external webcam connected to your computer you will se two device ID’s. So now suppose you want to know about the device with ID=1 all you need to do is pass device ID as second argument.

image

You can see the properties you the webcam.

So just use the videoinput() for creating a variable attached to the particular webcam in MATLAB. In our case video is the variable.

Next you set the frames per trigger i.e. whenever you give the capture commands how many frames will be captured every time.

Then you see a preview of the video feed so that you come to know what exactly is the camera viewing.

Next up you take a sample shot so as to determine the dimensions of the camera.

You will get a 3D matrix of the image. Extract the x and y resolution.

Now for this application what we will do is divide the webcam field into 9 quadrants and take decision depending on position of the image of the object to be detected.

Now since we wanted to learn the basic we used white light such as a torch as the source. If you have a proper webcam and good lighting conditions you can detect normal coloured balls using this program. All you need to do is some thresholding.

Now as usual open the serial port and send a particular character depending upon the quadrant in which the object lies.

So you basically take a snapshot again and again and manipulate that snap. So each image is made of 3 components red, blue and green. Since we are using white light as the object it does not matter which component you choose. But if there is a particular colour that the object has take that particular matrix. Now do the thresholding so that you get only the torch circle on the screen.

Then you remove the noise and coalesce the remaining parts to form a single body.

Then you calculate the centroid and take decision.

image

This is a sample of what the image will look like after thresholding. So as you can see it lies in the middle quadrant.

We had written the code such that it will transmit w,a,s,d,f depending on the quadrant. Do top middle corresponds to w and so on you can figure that yourself.

On the controller side we manipulate the data to control the bot.

I’ll be uploading the video soon. Thank you for reading. Hope this was useful.

Line Follower using msp430g2 launchpad

In this post I’ll be writing about line follower bot. This post covers how a light sensor works and how to make your own light sensor. All criticisms are welcome.

Introduction

A line follower bot is as the name suggests a bot that follows a line. Now this line can be either a dark one on a white surface or a white line on a black surface. So once you switch the bot ON it will keep on following the path that you create using the line.

Sensors

Theory

For this we’ll be needing a light sensor which may be based on visible light or infrared. The concept used is that different colours absorb different wavelengths of light and reflect different wavelengths. Have you ever wondered why a book that appears red to you is that coloured? The physics behind is that a red material will absorb all other colours of white light and reflect the red colour. With that being said it will make sense that black colour absorbs all wavelengths or colours while white reflects all colours. We will use this concept to make our sensors.

Components

We can make the sensor using the following combinations.

  • LED and LDR
  • IR LED and IR diode

What remains common in both the combinations is the use of transistor as a switch. We use transistor as a switch to make the sensor give us digital output i.e. high and low.

The theory on transistor as a switch can be found in the following literatures.

I’ve made one circuit taking reference from Boylestad and the site whose link I’ve posted above. This circuit will give you ~2V when there is no IR light falling on the IR receiver and will give you ~0V when IR light falls on the receiver. So whenever there is any obstacle near the IR led we’ll get logic 0 and whenever there is no obstacle near the IR led we will get logic 1. Note that you can get ready made IR sensors for this application. I’ve given this basic introduction so that those of you who want to know how to make your own sensor get some guidance.

Circuit

100120141333

Well with that being taken care let’s develop the logic for our line follower.

Line follower logic and concept

Well I’ll be using a sensor that I got after I attended an internship on embedded c and advanced robotics. This sensor gives logic 0 when there is no IR light reflected to it and logic 1 when there is IR light reflection. To keep things simple our track background colour is white and the path is black. So when the sensor is on white background it’ll reflect light and when it is on the path it wont reflect light. Now lets develop our logic. We’ll need two sensors in order for this line follower to work. When there is a straight path both the sensors will point on white surface thus giving logic 1. So when we have this condition satisfied we’ll send data 1010 to the motor driver port pins.(I’ve connected the motors in such a way that 10 corresponds to forward movement and 01 corresponds to backward movement. This is done so that there is no confusion.) Now lets imagine there is a smooth left turn on the path. The left sensor will go on the black path first while the right sensor will be on the white background. Thus l=0 and r=1.(‘l’ corresponds to the left sensor data and ‘r’ corresponds to right sensor data.) To stay on track we need to make a left turn. This can be done in two ways. First is to make the left wheel stop so that the right wheel rotates and the bot takes a left turn. Second is to make left wheel rotate in backward direction and the right wheel move in forward direction. On similar grounds when there is a smooth right turn the bot needs to turn right. This can be achieved by same two methods just the motor data is interchanged. So this is the concept behind a line follower.

Motor driver

A microcontroller can supply limited current, so in order to drive any heavy load requiring high voltage and current we need to connect a motor driver IC between the microcontroller and the load which in this case is a motor. So I’ll be using the driver IC L239D. This IC has four H bridges that will allow us to control two motors using the same IC. The connections are pretty simple. You just need to see the data sheet for the connections. If you find any difficulty just Google how to use that IC you’ll get required information. And you can comment here posting your doubts and I’ll revert as soon as possible.

Code in Embedded C

/*
 *  line_follower.c
 *  Created on	: 10-Jan-2014 4:19:47 PM
 *  Author	  	: Manpreet Singh Minhas
 *  Website		: https://learningmsp430.wordpress.com/
 */

#include <msp430g2553.h>
// P1IN&BIT0 I've connected the left sensor to P1.0
// P1IN&BIT1 right sensor to P1.1
void main()
{
	WDTCTL = WDTPW | WDTHOLD;	// Stop watchdog timer
	P1DIR |= BIT2|BIT3|BIT4|BIT5;// Make P1.2 P1.3 P1.4 P1.5 as output
	P1DIR &= ~BIT0|~BIT1;	// Make P1.0 P1.1 as input
	P1OUT =0;
	for(;;)
	{
		if((P1IN&0x03) == 0x03)
		{
			P1OUT |= BIT2|BIT4;
			P1OUT &= ~(BIT3|BIT5);
		}
		if((P1IN&0x03) == 0x02)
		{
			P1OUT |= BIT4;
			P1OUT &= ~(BIT2|BIT3|BIT5);
		}
		if((P1IN&0x03) ==0x01)
		{
			P1OUT |= BIT2;
			P1OUT &= ~(BIT3|BIT5|BIT4 );
		}
	}

}

Code in Arduino

/*
 *  line_follower.ino
 *  Created on	: 10-Jan-2014 4:19:47 PM
 *  Author	  	: Manpreet Singh Minhas
 *  Website		: https://learningmsp430.wordpress.com/
 */
void setup()
{

  pinMode(2,INPUT);
  pinMode(3,INPUT);
  pinMode(4,OUTPUT);
  pinMode(5,OUTPUT);
  pinMode(6,OUTPUT);
  pinMode(7,OUTPUT);

}
void loop()
{
  int l = digitalRead(2);
  int r = digitalRead(3);
  if(l==HIGH && r==HIGH)
  {
        digitalWrite(4,HIGH);
        digitalWrite(5,LOW); // 12 and 13 for left motor
        digitalWrite(6,HIGH);// 10 and 11 for right motor
        digitalWrite(7,LOW );
  }

    if(l==LOW && r==HIGH)
  {
        digitalWrite(4,HIGH);
        digitalWrite(5,LOW);
        digitalWrite(6,LOW);  // 
        digitalWrite(7,LOW );
  }

    if(l==HIGH && r==LOW)
  {
        digitalWrite(4,LOW);
        digitalWrite(5,LOW);
        digitalWrite(6,HIGH);
        digitalWrite(7,LOW );
  }
}

I’ve written the code in both embedded C and arduino. You will energia for burning the ‘.ino’ code.

Circuit Diagram

line_follower_circuit

Video

Please visit http://robokart.com/ for the sensors,chassis and other robotics related parts(for people living in India)