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'[EE:] Detecting level in kitchen measuring cup?'
2002\03\22@013812 by Harold Hallikainen

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    Anyone have ideas on detecting the level of a fluid or solid in a kitchen measuring cup? I can't rely on weight because of varying density of the material. It seems like some sort of optical array would be required. Any great ideas?

Thanks!

Harold




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2002\03\22@121044 by M. Adam Davis

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A very difficult question.  Optical sensors become obscured by dust.
Weight and sonar response vary between materials.  Not all items conduct...

So tell us what other constraints there might be (ie, must fit in handle
and be able to be used like a regular measuring cup, or can be fixed in
position (or placed in position to be measured), etc), and what the
accuracy and precision are expected to be...

-Adam

Harold Hallikainen wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2002\03\25@095004 by Predrag Djordjevic

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Somewhere I found interesting level detector for fluids. If glass rod is
out of fluid, light scatter from one side to other side of rod end and
return to opto coupler. If it is in fluid, angled end is not a mirror.
Not used with milk, but who knows 8-).

   \__/ <- opto coupler
    || <- 90 degrees polished
    || <- glass rod
    ||
    ||
    \/ <- 45 degrees polished

Predrag


Harold Hallikainen wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2002\03\26@131603 by Harold M Hallikainen

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On Fri, 22 Mar 2002 12:07:46 -0500 "M. Adam Davis" <EraseMEadampicspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTUBASICS.COM>
writes:
> A very difficult question.  Optical sensors become obscured by dust.
>  Weight and sonar response vary between materials.  Not all items
> conduct...
>
> So tell us what other constraints there might be (ie, must fit in
> handle
> and be able to be used like a regular measuring cup, or can be fixed
> in
> position (or placed in position to be measured), etc), and what the
> accuracy and precision are expected to be...
>
> -Adam
>

       Thanks for the comments. I'm also having trouble coming up with a good
solution. This would be a replacement for Braille measuring cups. These
exist, but the user has to stick their finger into whatever it is they
are measuring to determine the level. It'd be much nicer if cook books
measured everything by mass instead of volume.
       Any more ideas?

Thanks!

Harold


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2002\03\26@133931 by John Ferrell

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IBM used (may be still?) a piezo element to detect the level of toner in the
cleaning system of some laser printers to determine when a toner collector
needs to be emptied. The waveform of the drive changes due to the damping
effect of the toner around it. It was somewhat trouble some and a dirty job
to change it.

{Original Message removed}

2002\03\26@134131 by -1252?Q?Alexandre_Guimar=E3es?=

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Hi,

>         Thanks for the comments. I'm also having trouble coming up with a
good
> solution. This would be a replacement for Braille measuring cups. These
> exist, but the user has to stick their finger into whatever it is they
> are measuring to determine the level. It'd be much nicer if cook books
> measured everything by mass instead of volume.
>         Any more ideas?


   Tough call... Capacitive measurement will also have the same problems
with different materials but what about using a "metal circle" attached to a
mechanism like a caliper and touching the material with the circle and
measuring the circle distance from the starting point of the mechanism ? The
circle would have to be cleaned after usage but that does not seems to be a
problem, since the person is in the kitchen anyway. You could also try
something outside the measuring cup looking to the inside and trying to
measure the diffraction difference but the cup might just have residues from
the last measurement and that would kill it !

   Tough call indeed. The only way I can think of is something touching the
top of the material and measuring the distance !

best regards,
Alexandre Guimaraes

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2002\03\26@135246 by Mark Perri

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Not as high tech as sonar or a piezo, but for fluids you could use a float
on a lever, like in the sending unit of a fuel tank.  For solids you could
use a piston -- send it down until it hits the top surface and measure
the depth travelled.  You could even use a ruler with braille markings on it.

Mark

At 10:02 PM 3/21/02, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2002\03\26@144848 by Dal Wheeler

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----- Original Message -----
From: Alexandre Guimarces <spamBeGonealexgspamBeGonespamIIS.COM.BR>
To: <TakeThisOuTPICLISTEraseMEspamspam_OUTMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Tuesday, March 26, 2002 11:36 AM
Subject: Re: [EE:] Detecting level in kitchen measuring cup?


{Quote hidden}

Why not have a foil pattern on the bottom of the cup to roughly calibrate
the unit for the dielectric of the material being measured?  I've seen
parallel strips as well as discrete level patterns used on storage tanks.
The discrete level marks might work for something like this...  --And the
person stands away from it while measuring, not set down on a metal work
surface, doesn't make goofy faces at it, etc...  :')

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2002\03\26@180121 by Bob Ammerman

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A device containing a scale and a volume to mass conversion database  for
various ingredients

Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems

{Original Message removed}

2002\03\26@182628 by Bob Barr

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On Tue, 26 Mar 2002 20:54:15 -0500, Bob Ammerman wrote:

>A device containing a scale and a volume to mass conversion database  for
>various ingredients
>

My thought exactly. I guess that great minds really do think alike,
Bob. :=)


By placing the empty container on the scale and then selecting the
ingredient, the scale could zero itself to accomodate different
containers.

By measuring the rate of increase in weight, the scale could give
warning beeps as the desired amount is approached. A fast fill rate
could give an earlier warning than a slower one.


Regards, Bob

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2002\03\26@184701 by M. Adam Davis

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Harold M Hallikainen wrote:

>         Thanks for the comments. I'm also having trouble coming up with a good
>solution. This would be a replacement for Braille measuring cups. These
>exist, but the user has to stick their finger into whatever it is they
>are measuring to determine the level. It'd be much nicer if cook books
>measured everything by mass instead of volume.
>        Any more ideas?
>
Well, you could go with a stand based approach - use a stand under which
the cup is placed.  The stand can use various methods to determine the
size of the cup, and use sonar to determine the top of the material in
the cup.  Simple calculations beyond that.

Cons are that you have to 'level' the cup each time you add material if
it is dry with some shaking and place it in the stand, rather than being
told how much is in it as you pour.  It is probably more hassle than
sticking your finger it.

Alternately you'd probably have good luck if you attack it with several
types of sensors.  I'll bet that you could have a capacitive/resistive
sensor, a weight sensor, and a sonar sensor determine, together, the
type of material in the cup and how much.  It would be an expensive
approach, though.

You may be able to get away with just sonar and mass - both at the
bottom.  (or mass in the handle - could be easier to manage, since the
handle is the 1g reference point when holding the cup).

Since you are dealing with such short distances I doubt the sonar speed
is going to matter a huge amount - but you might do some tests on sonar
frequency as well - a 5 frequency analysis of the material might give
some clue as to what it is.  But even if not,  the speed of sound won't
vary a huge amount from material to material - I bet the difference is
smaller than the error of an unlevel material.

Better yet, use only a mass sensor, and a table of values for say a
dozen or two types of materials.  Put a button in the handle, and have
the user press the button -each time the unit says the current item it's
expecting.  The user simply presses the button until they get to the
right material.  Could be tedious - but a multi-button or knob interface
is exponentially more difficult to water proof.

The simple voice recognition chipsets might be of use here as well - the
user says' flour' and the cup replies "3/4 cup"

-Adam

PS  Now don't go patenting the ideas above!  They're out the the public
domain now... ;-)  Fly!  Fly free ideas!  Nest in other peoples heads!
(grin)

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2002\03\26@190827 by Dal Wheeler

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----- Original Message -----
From: M. Adam Davis <RemoveMEadampicEraseMEspamEraseMEUBASICS.COM>



> Harold M Hallikainen wrote:
>
> >         Thanks for the comments. I'm also having trouble coming up with
a good
> >solution. This would be a replacement for Braille measuring cups. These
> >exist, but the user has to stick their finger into whatever it is they
> >are measuring to determine the level. It'd be much nicer if cook books
> >measured everything by mass instead of volume.
> >        Any more ideas?

How about a lid with a balloon in it that fills at known rate until it
reaches a
set pressure.  --Course it'd be kind of hard to measure the volume of thumb
tacks that way...

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2002\03\26@204219 by miked

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You might check the QLevel chip at
http://www.qprox.com

Harold Hallikainen wrote:
>
>      Anyone have ideas on detecting the level of a fluid or solid in a
>      kitchen measuring cup? I can't rely on weight because of varying
>      density of the material. It seems like some sort of optical array
>      would be required. Any great ideas?
>
> Thanks!
>
> Harold

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2002\03\27@131405 by Harold M Hallikainen

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       Yes, that seems the simplest approach, just weigh the stuff. I guess I
could put a simple database in the product and also have cookbooks
translated to braille include the mass along with the volume of the
ingredient. That certainly seems the simplest and most reliable approach.
       Thanks for all the ideas, people!

Harold


On Tue, 26 Mar 2002 20:54:15 -0500 Bob Ammerman <EraseMErammermanspamspamspamBeGoneADELPHIA.NET>
writes:
> A device containing a scale and a volume to mass conversion database
> for
> various ingredients
>
> Bob Ammerman
> RAm Systems
>
> {Original Message removed}

2002\03\27@144430 by Bob Ammerman

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If you had a volume->mass conversion table for common ingredients built in
then you would not need special cookbooks. Any braille cookbook would do.
The user would have to tell the device in some way what they were measuring.

Hm... How about a set of measuring cups with braille markings on them:
'water', 'oil', 'flour', etc.

The cups would also have notches or a bar code or some such that would be
sensed by the scale.

Now it is a matter of:

   Find right cup.
   Put it on scale.
   Select quantity wanted.
   Fill it up.

Another advantage. After measuring out several ingredients the user could
still
determine what was in each cup by the braille markings on them.

Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems

{Original Message removed}

2002\03\27@150315 by Peter L. Peres

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How about measuring mass anyway with a kitchen scale load cell and having
a setting for the material being weighed. Maybe the setting could talk.
Think single pushbutton, long push = turn on, short push = salt, short
push = flour, short push = oil ... long push = (reset) = salt etc. There
is also the matter of tare but I'm sure you'll solve that. I have a
feeling your device talks already.

An ISD chip should hold the names of most common ingredients easily.

Peter

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2002\03\28@031301 by Peter L. Peres

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>How about measuring mass anyway with a kitchen scale load cell and having
>a setting for the material being weighed. Maybe the setting could talk.
>Think single pushbutton, long push = turn on, short push = salt, short
>push = flour, short push = oil ... long push = (reset) = salt etc. There
>is also the matter of tare but I'm sure you'll solve that. I have a
>feeling your device talks already.
>
>An ISD chip should hold the names of most common ingredients easily.

And the scale could voice the increasing weight as the cup is being filled
... in mass or volume units.

Peter

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2002\03\28@123924 by Harold M Hallikainen

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       Thanks for all the great ideas! I'm thinking at this point of a scale
that lets you select between measuring grams, pounds/ounces, and volume
of specific materials based on a stored density. It seems like we could
have two buttons. One to zero the scale with the cup, the other to scroll
through what we are measuring.

Thanks!

Harold


On Wed, 27 Mar 2002 17:30:59 -0500 Bob Ammerman <rammermanSTOPspamspamspam_OUTADELPHIA.NET>
writes:
{Quote hidden}

> {Original Message removed}

2002\03\28@153029 by Bob Barr

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On Thu, 28 Mar 2002 08:46:32 -0800, Harold M Hallikainen wrote:

>        Thanks for all the great ideas! I'm thinking at this point of a scale
>that lets you select between measuring grams, pounds/ounces, and volume
>of specific materials based on a stored density. It seems like we could
>have two buttons. One to zero the scale with the cup, the other to scroll
>through what we are measuring.
>

That's one more button than is really needed. :=)

The selection of a new ingredient can be used to indicate that the
scale should be zeroed.


Regards, Bob

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