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Precision Motor Controls Used to Prototype an Electronics Recycling Kiosk


Electronics Recycling Kiosk
Electronics Recycling Kiosk

The Challenge

The parent company of an electronics recycling kiosk approached us with the need for the development of their first-generation kiosk prototype.


The Solution

Using precision motors, LabVIEW motor control architectures, a camera, and a custom light array we were able to develop the client’s first-generation kiosk ready for use.


The Story//The Cyth Process

  • The electronics recycling kiosk is a standalone kiosk that directs customers through a series of prompts.

  • These are directives that use customer interaction to help determine:

o The phone/device’s model – using machine vision identification software paired with a camera.

o The device’s health – the customer is fed a power chord they connect. The device’s electrical consumption is tested.

o The state of the screen (cracked or not) is assessed through the camera’s visual inspection.

  • These are achieved by the kiosk accepting the phone from the customer through a trapdoor and running tests and measurements on the device.

  • After the device inspection process is complete the customer is given the final decision as to whether they want to sell their device to the kiosk for the determined value of the device.

  • The sale of a device to the kiosk enables old/unused phones and devices to be refurbished for resale or responsibly recycled for parts.


System Order of Operations

  • To begin, the customer prompts the kiosk by touching the screen.

  • The kiosk opens a trap door to allow the customer to place a single phone/device into an opening.

  • The kiosk determines the phone’s model, assesses the device’s health, and determines the state of the screen (cracked or not).

  • The trap door then opens and gives the customer the respective power cable (Apple, micro-USB, or USB-C) to plug into the phone.

  • The trap door then closes once again as a low-level power on, and a power consumption test is run on the phone.

  • Lastly a camera is used to assess the health of the screen and any cracks that may be present.

  • The kiosk then opens the trap door and prompts the user with the phone/device’s assessed value.

  • The user is given a choice to sell their device to the kiosk or keep it.

  • If a sale is chosen: the phone is deposited into the kiosk storage.

  • If a sale is not chosen: the customer is prompted to take their phone/device.


Technical Details

  • The kiosk’s assessment of the phone was performed using a custom linear stage and lightbox.

  • The linear stage tilts the platform on which the phone/device sat using a stepper motor and motor controller.

  • The customer’s device is side-lit using high-power light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

  • This illuminates the device’s screen and enables a camera with machine vision algorithms to assess the screen’s health and determine the phone/device model.

  • The cable feeder uses a programmed stepper drive to deliver the correct power cable to the customer. It feeds the cable and draws it back into a holding slot when required.

  • The cable feeder was designed to be modular so that upon the cables wearing out they could be easily serviced.

  • All motor control software was programmed using LabVIEW to correctly fulfill the kiosk user experience.


Technical Specifications


2 x Applied Motion Stepper Motor & Stepper Drive

1 x Applied Motion Linear Actuator

1 x NI CompactDAQ-9174 Chassis

1 x Dell Inspiron Industrial PC

1 x Basler 5MP, 17fps, Area Scan, Color Camera

1 x Edmund Optics 16mm, 300-2000mm Primary WD, HP Series Fixed Focal Length Lens

1 x Custom Light Fixture (Polypropylene Sheet)

1 x Lighting Control Relay

1 x LED Light Cluster

1 x High-Power Compact Projector

1 x MES 2 wire Door lock Actuator (Trapdoor Lock)




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