KORUZA outdoor prototypes SL

Busy spring months finally lead to operational outdoor prototype generation 3 and quickly followed by the generation 4, testing a range of new technical solutions and implementing many more features. Wireless optical system KORUZA is now being tested over longer periods of time outdoors, observing the behavior and identifying what will cause errors and link failures. With the outcomes the generation 5 prototypes will be constructed, working towards a larger scale world-wide experiment. Simultaneously we will be releasing as open-source a range of standalone sub-systems of KORUZA, enabling people to experiment in low-cost optics labs and play with some cool electronics solutions.

koruzav4-test-001 koruzav4-test-002 koruzav4-test-003

KORUZA generation 4 prototype packs a range of interesting features, making it hackable, upgradable and rather useful and low cost. Here a few will be named that will be developed into standalone useful solutions for the world.

  • 3D printed rotational joint. Gen 3 implemented a standard ball-shaped rotational joint to allow precise movement of the optical assembly for aligning the unit to the opposite end. 3D printing of such a ball piece and socket was feasible, however insuring smooth movement and water-proof assembly proved to be difficult. A new solution was formed, using regular industrial rubber to create a flexible coupling with a very simple and as well water-resistant assembly. Both approaches to 3D printed rotational joints will be released soon.

  • 3D printed precise sliding assembly. Based on the previously released linear sliding stage relying on 3D printed pieces to slide on each-other and failing due to printing imperfections and occasionally snagging, an improved design using commonly available teflon pieces has been formed. The sliding is significantly smoother and jitter minimized. The developed approach once integrated and published can be used all from lab purposes to photography and many other experiments.

  • 3D printed kinematic mount for common laser pointer modules implements a mount allowing for precise mounting and aiming of red and green laser pointers in hobby and other applications, defeating the need for expensive mounts with the similar alignment and precision range.

  • Automation system for precision mechanical alignment components that use alignment screw. To motorize precise alignment stages on the go, the approach developed for KORUZA is being formed into standalone solution to be applied to existing 3D printed or lab-grade alignment stages.

  • Control electronics based on Texas Instruments Launchpad Tiva C board. A shield has been constructed with the support for driving 3 unipolar stepper motors, end-stop switch pins, two mosfets for controlling peripherals, support for NRF24L+ radio and much more, useful for KORUZA and in robotics projects, for connecting sensors, controlling lasers and more. It will be released after another round of modifications, polishing some of the features and squeezing in a few more.
  • Remote flashing and possible debugging of the Launchpad Tiva C (or any board with lm4f MCU) with lm4flash utility ported to OpenWrt. By connecting the board via USB to the router running OpenWrt, it can be re-flashed simply by uploading the new firmware via SCP and flashed with a simple command, making the system remotely upgradable without bootloaders.

KORUZA is currently being tested at a 50m range for stability and sensor data collection, soon to be deployed in collaboration with SensorLab at IJS, for longer period testing in Ljubljana, giving a start to our world-wide KORUZA experiment.

World-wide KORUZA (WWKoruza) experiment is our vision of exploring the potential of optical wireless systems on the global scale and the performance of KORUZA as such. We are inviting research institutions to participate and join the experiment, contributing to the creation of a worlds largest open data set on free-space optical networks. More details following soon.

The development efforts in the past few months have resulted in a working prototype now evaluated for performance and stability, that takes a significant step towards a low-cost wireless optical system for all.