2023 Feb 27 - March 12
in the last 2 weeks I've been working on an RFID prototype equipped with a 134.2 kHz FDX-B transceiver capable of reading and decoding ISO 11784-11785 transponders at a distance between 15cm and 45cm. The unit autonomously preprocesses all ID operations and trasnmits the responder numbers to external servers via WiFI (wired options are also available). This prototype already integrates an "ID monitor" accessible via responsive client browsers (phone, tablet, PC), the information can be immediately displayed on multiple devices and is instantantly logged into local/remote SQL databases or csv files, ready to be shared with external systems and used for real-time parlor automation and direct database integration.
The ID unit is IOT connected and can be programmed to operate:
2023 Feb 27 - March 09
last week I took with me on a trip a small development kit with a compact NFC antenna and in my spare time I started working on a wrist wearable ID unit, ready for complex applications or cost-effective ID solutions, even with standalone milking systems. In this case, when a bail tag is detected, the scanner activates and searches for the corresponding animal tag. When the animal's transponder is also identified and associated, the information is immediately displayed in the ID Monitor and all records are instantly logged in the database. Identification errors are prefiltered before being passed to the SQL database and corrections are applied before and after. It is also possible to set a function (parlor side) to automatically release the cluster when the bail is identified (autostart). The new prototype is powered by a 3.7V Lipo battery and it should be able to work for 5-7 hours on a single charge.
I intend to add now a simple user interface, including an autonomous WiFI hotspot for easy startup configuration or standalone operation, and the ability to write information on the bail-tags. On the server side I may also add a parlor-monitor to display custom alerts from an external software and allow to send instructions back to the database through a simple icons-menu on a touchscreen.
Works in progress..
2018 - System Configurator
in 2018 I built a web server to guide my Company's Sales Team through the configuration of complex automation systems, up to the printing of a multilingual official quotation document. In August 2021 I started to log some statistics to improve the server based on users experience, and I found that in one year the configurator pages got over 50k hits and more than 700 concrete CRM Business Opportunities were created
2020 - BIG DATA
in 2019 we sold a large automation system composed of 4 milking machines, with 320 MPCs (Milking Place Controllers) serving 2 herds of +12k high-genetic cows. The farm managers required advanced perfomance indicators which they previously downloaded 3 times a day from 4 computers and combined on an Excel file to compare the performance of the 15 teams that work 24/7 on the 4 machines, over 3 daily shifts. To respond to this request, in 2020 I built a responsive web server that every 30 minutes uploads data from a remote cloud, where millions of records are logged in real time by the 320 MPCs. The server allows to instantly extract 7 pages of statistics, comparing the results of the 4 machines and displaying the trend of the last x days. Data are also compared by group, by session, by time, etc... and particular importance is given to animal welfare indicators (preparation time, milk ejection curve, etc...). I also added a custom report page that allows to query data by herd, by group, by period, by machine, by milk-flow (regular, bimodal), by preparation time, by type of process (automatic, manual, detachment at maximum time, with no-flow), etc... Finally I added a multilingual help section with specific instructions, a detailed service plan and 3 pages of diagnostic tools that display the individual performance of each MPC, and higlight those that start to deviate from standard indicators, enabling easy troubleshooting and the planning of predictive maintenance tasks. We decided then to extend access to other farms and we currently have +40 connected dairies, with different caracteristics, sizes, types of animals, etc...
2018 June 12 - welcome Jarvis, our first little AI robot
we had a lot of fun assembling this little robot, programming it as our home assistant and teaching him to move its 6 servomotors to express emotions and moods, such as happiness, embarrassment, curiosity, sadness, fear, surprise... we taught him to telling jokes and calculating times tables through a dedicated android app, but when we linked him to AI google libraries he overwhelmed us with his knowledge! He's great at interacting with humans. Elisabetta took him to school and used his Wikipedia knowledge and his sympathy to engage the children in fun and interactive lessons, calling them by name, questioning them on various subjects and commenting their answers with jokes. The beauty of this activity is that it introduces children to the basics of robotics, sparking a curiosity that could become a real passion for someone tomorrow. Now it would be nice to equip him with artificial vision so that he can follow the interlocutors with his eyes, understand when they smile, ract when they greet, etc.... Python stuff for a future project! 😎
2017 our first FPV drones
in 2017 we discovered this wonderful hobby, that represented a great opportunity to combine the passion for electronics with the dream of flying, cast the eyes over the edge to explore spectacular landscapes, playing with the kids and introducing them to a new fascinating world, full of opportunities. I am now an EASA certified A1/A3 Drone Pilot and we always carry a small FPV drone with us in our backpack, wherever we go
Nov 2013 - web-server on a microcontroller
this was my very first basic web-server integrated on a simple microcontroller. Thanks to this first experience, one year later (2014) I set-up a system of wireless servers to control the air-conditioner, the heater and 3 lights through temperature / umidity / light sensors, with the possibility to adjust the parameters and send controls from a Web App or HTTP shortucut icons on the desktop of the phone. The air conditioner was controlled with infrared codes, while lights and heater were activated by wireless micro-switches. This system has been running 24/7 at home for more than 7 years and has been replaced only with the arrival of a Netatmo thermostat and a new air conditioner with WiFi integration.
Dec 2012 - Jan 2013 - iMilk600 - exploring prototype
Back in 2012, I was Product Manager Automation at the company I work for and intended to convince the owners to make a BIG investment on a new product that would totally change our business, so I decided to build a prototype on an Arduino Mega microcontroller before writing the specs for the project.
The entire research took all my Christmas holidays that year, but allowed to create an extensive document where all functions and processes were tested in real life before being explained in a structured form. Our Engineers and external suppliers have then transformed this project into a successful product, that 10 years later is still driving the business of our Automation Range