ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF GRAPHICAL USER INTERFACES ON USER DESIGN PERFORMANCE USING QUADCOPTERS IMPLEMENTING STRUCTURAL BATTERIES

Open Access
Author:
Nolff, Andrew James
Area of Honors:
Engineering Science
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Mary Frecker, Thesis Supervisor
  • Joseph Rose, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • structural batteries
  • quadcopters
  • optimization
  • graphical user interfaces
  • energy storage
  • dynamics
  • aerodynamics
Abstract:
Though the energy density of batteries has been vastly improved in recent years, innovative ways of utilizing these batteries are needed in order to make them a more viable option in today’s devices. This thesis aims to assess the impact that various factors have on a user’s ability to optimize a quadcopter which implements structural batteries. Structural batteries can be thought of as a stack of batteries that can both support structural loads and act as a power source. If these structural batteries can be used to reduce the weight and materials required of a specific design, then the energy density will be increased. Additionally, a design tool using MATLAB was created that can be used to better visualize the relationship between quadcopter parameters and various metrics, such as duration of flight, power required, range, etc. For instance, a user may input the length, thickness, rotor radius, and velocity of the quadcopter along with the mass of the package carried, and the design tool will output an image of the design as well as graphs that show the different performance metrics. Furthermore, the design tool will have a section that outputs an optimized structure via a topology optimization program for a quadcopter with a given domain. It was found that more videogame experience significantly raises the percent error, but significantly lowers the completion time. It was also found that users who rated themselves as having more knowledge of optimization completed the optimization task significantly faster. Additionally, users who rated the design tool as more helpful in determining the relationships between inputs and quadcopter performance had significantly less error than those that rated the design tool poorly in this area. Lastly, it was found that users who rated the design tool as more difficult had significantly more error. Recommendations on future improvements in experimentation and modeling are presented based on the results of this work. The overall goal of this research is to apply innovative techniques to boost the range of quadcopters and better understand the factors that affect designers as they design quadcopters using structural battery technology.