My colleague and I are trying to design a simple, cheap, easy-to-make classroom voting system using IR to communicate with a central teacher computer, that can project the results on a screen in the classroom. Our priorities are:
Simple to make and reproduce - we plan to open-source both hardware and software.
Cheap to make - ideally around £3 per handset
Easy to get up and running - by making it functionally straightforward and providing all the necessary documentation.
We both teach full-time and so are working on this in our spare time.
Initially, we're looking for help with the transmitter, making it as efficient as possible. We're using a Genie microcontroller, which is configured for 4 inputs and 1 output. The output is to the IR LED. At the moment, it's got a range of around 4-5m, but we'd like to increase that to as much as possible.
We want to keep the PCB as simple as possible, sticking to through-hole soldering and a single-sided board.
We're using an education-focussed CAD package called Circuit Wizard, which allows us to code and program the chips.