Van Der Weg, Dave
An autonomous resistor sorter would be a valuable tool in physics labs, as it would save time and reduce errors incurred by manual sorting of resistors. This paper presents the design and development of such a device, with the intention of accurately and efficiently sorting resistors without human involvement. The design uses gravity and motors to transport the resistors through the system and determines resistance values for sorting. The design process was organized by dividing the group into four sub-teams, each focused on a specific component of the device. The development of the resistor sorter required the group to overcome two main challenges: accurately reading the resistors and sorting them into correct bins. To solve the first challenge, one sub-team produced a program to detect resistance values based on colour bands. The other three sub-teams focused on the second main challenge of building a system to transport and sort the resistors once inputted into the device. The tasks for these teams to accomplish included building a mechanism to dispense resistors using a conveyor belt, constructing the framework and transportation mechanisms in the structure, and programming motors to control the moving parts in the system. The final product requires the user to manually straighten and input 12 resistors at a time into the device for sorting. The resistor sorter has an accuracy of 60% for determining the resistance values using camera detection and 40% at sorting them correctly. Further adaptations that could improve the accuracy of the current design components include improving the set-up of slides and chutes that transport the resistors, modifying the size of the bins into which resistors are sorted, and implementing a higher torque motor. The device could also be re-designed to accept a large quantity of tangled and unsorted resistors rather than requiring the user to manually straighten each resistor and place it on the conveyor belt in small quantities at a time. This modification would allow the device to achieve complete autonomy and would provide the best user experience.