Android Controlled Radio Controller

This was a senior design project for the Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State University. For this project, I held the position of team leader, came up with the original concept, pitched the idea for approval, and incorporated suggestions from team members along the way. I also wrote the entire Android app, wrote most of the firmware, and helped integrate the microcontroller and Bluetooth module into the hardware layout.

The Problem:

How can a smart phone (or tablet) be used to control a radio controlled vehicle.

The Approach:

The Android Controlled Radio Controller (ACRC) acts as a relay between a smart phone and an RC car. It accepts data from a smart phone and translates it into a command signal that is broadcast to the car. The ACRC is able to send signals on different channels at both 27MHz and 49MHz.

The Solution:

Build an RF (radio frequency) transmitter that will work for both 27MHz and 49MHz. Then add a PIC24 microcontroller and an RN-42 Bluetooth transceiver. Finally, implement the firmware for the microcontroller and develop the software for the smart phone.

Using the approach described above, the software on the smart phone can be loaded with the control signals for any RC vehicle. This gives the ACRC the ability to act as a universal remote.

The Final Product:

This video shows our final demonstration. The first two trucks each operate on different frequencies. They also use a digital control scheme that features simple commands such as forward, back, left, right, and so on. The third car uses an analog control scheme that features more complex commands such as forward x-percent or left y-percent.

The User Interface:

This video shows the user interface on my smartphone. (the software used to capture this video only supported a very low frame-rate, the GUI is actually very fast and fluid)