Final (hopefully) THP requirements

A project log for HoistInsight - A brain for your crane

Utilizing GPS tracking, point-to-point networking and mobile devices to increase safety and improve efficiency in crane hoist operations.

salokcinsalokcin 08/21/2014 at 06:451 Comment

HoistInsight System Design

There are two main modules comprising HoistInsight -- the Operator module and the Load module.

Both are very similar, except the Operator module connects to a smart/mobile device running the Hoist Manager software (the brains).

Operator Module

This module contains an EM-406 GPS device, an XBee-PRO 900 radio, an Arduino Pro Mini 328 and a mobile device of the operator's choosing. The XBee radio receives transmissions from the Load module that tell the operator where the load is in real time.

Load Module

The load module contains the same GPS, XBee and Arduino, but has no need to connect to a mobile device. It simply relays it's position (from the GPS unit) back to the Operator module.

Mobile Device

All of the "heavy lifting" is done in software running on the mobile device. Given the location of the Operator module and the Load module, the software can create lift plans and provide audible warnings when the load strays outside of the appropriate boundaries.


Currently the only licensed items are the Arduino librarys an 'Xaml Map' (used in the client application). I will strive to use the most open software available. My software, hardware and firmware will be released under the most permissive license available (haven't done the research at this point to determine what that is).

I would like to see this device on every crane operating at least in America. It WILL save lives and it WILL improve efficiency substantially. I would like for anyone interested in helping with this project to feel free to do just that. Everything I do will be 100% open.

Open items

I still need to design and fabricate the enclosures for both modules. I need to research and prototype sufficient rechargeable battery solutions that will last at least one shift.

I've already figured out all of the math and I've already figured out how to scale and orient structural drawings such that they are a huge benefit to the crane operators.


PointyOintment wrote 08/23/2014 at 04:33 point
I can explain the licenses a bit; I recently looked at them for my own projects.

The most permissive is no license at all: public domain. This means that anyone can use what you create, in whole or in part, for any purpose, without being required to give you credit. You can either simply declare that the project is in the public domain, or use the Unlicense or Creative Commons Zero, which are both (as I understand it) more formal public domain dedications that exist because in some jurisdictions it's not as easy as just declaring public domain. It's important to note that PD isn't the same as doing nothing; doing nothing results in "all rights reserved", the exact opposite of what you want.

Next are the permissive licenses, which include BSD, MIT, ISC, and CC BY (though I'm not 100% sure that last one can be used for hardware). Mostly these just say that anyone who uses what you make in their own projects must give you credit in the documentation and include a copy of the license, though a couple versions of the BSD license have one or two other restrictions. The ISC license is basically the MIT or simplified BSD license written in simpler language. These licenses function by first saying "© [name], all rights reserved" and then specifically permitting reuse.

Wikipedia and are good resources for learning about licenses; they have the full text of the licenses and explain whether they're GPL-compatible, approved by the various open source organizations, etc. I also just found a tool called the License Differentiator via; it looks good too, but I haven't tried it.

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