I had recently talked about how you can control servo motors using an Arduino and Simulink. I stumbled upon an interesting application which builds on the same topic. The video shows how you can use an IR sensor coupled with a stepper motor to get a rotational range scanner (I would have ideally called it a Mini Radar, but for the fact that the sensor uses infrared waves instead of radio waves). The stepper motor is controlled using an Arduino UNO and an Arduino MotorShield. The Arduino is connected via USB to a PC running MATLAB with Arduino Support from MATLAB.
The stepper motor is driven in steps of 1.8 degrees using MATLAB code. At each step, the output of the IR Sensor is passed to MATLAB, where it is converted into an appropriate distance measure using pre-calibrated function. The author also provides a link to a MATLAB implementation of SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) which can be used as starting point for creating the functions to obtain distance information.
Check out the video and its description as well for more details about the project:
I know my next project is building this device using servo motors instead and can definitely see a user interface similar to a radar monitor to view the results. Have other ideas about this contraption? Feel free to share!