Buy and Adapt a Toy Verti Bird / Whirly Bird / Chopper Command Helicopter to use a joy Stick for a special needs person
OBJECTIVE: Allow a special needs / handicapped / disabled child to fly a toy helicopter. (click on picture above) This toy actually flies and picks things up and has COOL sound effects. Do this by creating a set of computerized controls to replace the standard control levers provided with the Chopper Patrol Toy Helicopter. This will allow regular and special needs children to fly the helicopter using a computer mouse, joystick, or adaptive switch.
In the first picture on the right you will see a black box on the end, this is a 5V 2Amp power supply. The red box next to it is the Lab Jack data acquisition and control module. It is powered by USB from a computer. I wrote LabVIEW software that reads the joystick position and controls the helicopter accordingly. The software also reads adaptive switches for special needs kids so they can make the helicopter go up or down or forward or backward. For more info on the LabVIEW software see the section below.
This is a photo of a child using a head switch to control the Toy Vertibird / whirly bird / chopper command helicopter. This is a very fun toy helicopter to fly because it has a little cargo hook to pick up objects and set them down. (Unfortunately many special needs kids don't have that fine of motor skills so they just like to fly it around.
To accomplish toy conversion, you will need to cut the off the existing controls to your chopper. This takes a leap of faith! I felt nervous because I knew that once I cut that control unit off, there was no turning back! There are two controls for this toy helicopter. The first is the voltage control to the propeller motor which has a range of 0 to 5 V DC operating range. Then you will need to take apart a CD-Rom drive to get the moving parts out of it.
TOY CHOPPER COMMAND HELICOPTER PITCH CONTROL: The small DC motor in the picture controls the horizontal position of the assembly. It is controlled by 30 millisecond pulses at 5 volts using the Labjack and LabVIEW software. This assembly makes the whirly bird toy helicopter fly forwards or backwards.
TOY CHOPPER COMMAND PROPELLER CONTROL USING NPN POWER TRANSISTOR 1: The propeller is driven by a small 5V DC motor located under the turret. The top transistor in the picture is driven by the Labjack by using a 0 – 10 volt DC signal which is controlled by LabVIEW.
LABVIEW AUTOMATED SOFTWARE:
Here is a screen shot of the graphical user interface is used for controlling height and pitch of the helicopter.
If you're interested in getting a copy please send an email.
I'm trying to figure out whether or not to go ahead and put in an encoder so the computer will be able to track the chopper position, and do automated PID control loop movements.