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Gadget Freak Case #217: Finding the Sun With a Microcontroller

Jerald Cogswell has created a gadget that finds the sun for solar applications.

UPDATED 6/25: Jerald Cogswell has created a gadget designed to find the sun for solar applications. He put light sensors in baffles, and his device takes 30 samples vertically and 30 samples horizontally to determine the brightest intersection. The process identifies the optimal spot to point solar collectors.

Using the same multiplexing gadget, Cogswell can find the inventory for each item in a vending machine, find and sort the heaviest macadamia nuts on a factory line, or sense the position of a magnetic or inductive source.

Jerald Cogswell's sun finder multiplexes 64 light samples to one microcontroller pin.

This multiplexing project can be modified by adding output routines
to the program to drive motors or other devices.

Do you have a Gadget Freak project you would like the world to see? Send a brief description of your gadget and a photo to Senior Editor Rob Spiegel.

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The editors of Design News have handpicked your favorite Gadget Freak cases from over the years, bringing them together in a dynamic digital edition, complete with videos, which you can view here.

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