Michael Hake (left) and Aron Seader (right), along with Kai Erickson and T.J. Shaul (not pictured), have created an intelligent toolbox that can look up a tool on its user friendly touch screen display.
Wow a fun application for DIY enthusiasts. I could see similar applications in the kitchen--a great way to organize all your fun kitchen gagdets and make them readily accessible for that complicated recipe. Also seems like an application that lends itself to the inclusion of an iPad or another tablet model for searching/reading through instructions. Nice work.
Really cool project. The touch screen could also be used as a lock to keep unauthorized people from stealing your tools, should they be able to pick the simple tumbler lock on the lid. Also, what do you do when the power goes out? You would need a pretty hefty battery and inverter to get access to your tools. Maybe a big computer UPS would be sufficient. Also, this thing has got to be quite expensive to make. It has a lot of "cool factor" though.
It was alot of fun putting together. The project was a semester long project for our Mechatronics class. Construction time took pretty much the entire time due to the fact that it was worked on outside of class and some parts were hard to come by. We do not currently have any plans for marketing it to consumers because the entire project was relatively expensive with the parts we used.
We ran out of time but were going to add either and RF ID reader for touch screen access or password login. That way the toolbox could also keep track of who had what tools. Unfortunately we ran out of time and were unable to impliment this idea. We are still looking into a way to utilitze the toolbox if the power does go out. The UPS is a very good idea we haven't thought of that yet. Yes the device was pretty expensive especially with the cost of the tool box and touchscreen.
A cool enhancement to the software would be to identify specific tools needed either by color code or a numbering system. Trying to find a wrench for a oil pan plug often envolves grabbing a few wrenches in hope of getting the right one. There are colored sockets now that would tie into sucha scheme perfectly. Good job! BTW, why are the drawers so noisy?
I can't see the point of it. Most of us buy far more tools than we need - shopping for tools is fun - and rummaging about in the tool box and sorting the screws by size is work therapy. What we really need is a toolbox that recognizes us and keeps other peoples fingers out, or triggers an alarm if the guy who borrowed our 6" adjustable spanner last Thursday hasn't returned it yet.
My company uses what we call intelligent tool cabinets in several assembly areas. They are accessed via the employee's ID card. The system logs time, date, user, tool(s) removed and logs the same information when they are returned. They are quite expensive, so they are not something a homeowner could afford for their garage or work area.
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