Non-engineer seeking help creating small device that sounds tone when laser tripwire is triggered
The gist of what I’m seeking help with: I need to build a compact, portable, battery-powered device that sounds a brief tone if a laser tripwire (5' end-to-end range) is crossed. I have no idea where to start.
What is this for?
I train dogs for dog agility. Jumps are a very important part of competition (every course has 8-12 jumps). Jump bars are displaceable and can be knocked down easily. Knocking down bars is a serious problem, though – knocking down even one bar during a competition is a disqualifying fault.
One of my dogs is running fast, he’ll often mis-judge and clip bars. This sometimes causes them to fall down. For most dogs that do this, you can hear them “tick” the bar and adjust your training accordingly. The challenge with my dog is that he has fluffy feet, which means I often can’t hear him tick the bars. The foot fluff has made it much harder to teach him that he needs to clear the jump entirely without scraping over the top.
What am I trying to create?
I’m trying to create a sensor with a laser tripwire, that I can attach to a jump bar for use in training. I’d like to set it up so that if the tripwire is broken, a short tone plays. Basically an alert system to mark the exact moment the dog ticks the bar – I’m not trying to punish him with a loud noise, but just create a system where it’s easier for me to identify and reward when he puts in a good effort and clears the bar with some space to spare.
Background information on materials I'm building around
Here is a dog agility jump. It has attached plastic jump cups on the side at 2” intervals. Jump bars are 5’ long and rest in the cups.
My idea so far…
My imaginary invention looks like this (dotted line is the tripwire line). At this point I'm imagining sensors attached to the bar rather than the jump upright, so the jump can still be adjusted to different jump heights. I’m thinking perhaps a battery pack that sits on the ground next to the jump, with wires wrapping around the jump upright and plugging into a tripwire attached to either end of the jump bar. I don’t care where the tone comes from as long as it is physically on the unit somewhere. I don't care if the device can be transferred across bars – permanent installation on a bar is okay as long as the bar can still fall down if my dog crashes into it.
In a perfect world I would also be able to pick the noise that is made for the tone. But really as long as it's a short, medium/low volume noise I can probably make it work.
I have no idea where to start. I have no engineering background. I need suggestions for basic reading, ideas for potential materials, existing types of products I might be able to buy and modify. Even suggestions for where else I might post this would be helpful!
Submitted July 11, 2017 at 11:02AM by manatee1010
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