In the 2015/2016 academic year, Jennifer Hasting, a Computer Science Major at the University of Maine, developed a wireless saddle sensor network. An avid rider herself since childhood, she has been advancing to Dressage, a highly skilled form of riding. Applying correct pressure to the horse through the saddle is a key tool to ‘direct’ the horse for the different styles of riding.

For training purposes, it is helpful for the rider to get feedback on how they distribute pressure. The Amerika is a mechanical horse simulator that makes it easier for beginning and advanced students to learn proper, independent seat and sensitive hands techniques. Jennifer’s motivation was to replicate this feedback mechanism with an inexpensive sensor network that would be installed on a saddle, and used on a real horse.

Over the winter she built the pressure sensors herself, all 33 of them, programmed the Arduino node to collect the information and the Xbee radio to wirelessly send the information to a basestation connected to a laptop, that runs a real-time visualization of the pressure values. Beginning of April 2016 we got together at her parents house to try it out on her horse Kaya. The first proof of concept test. Besides the radio having difficulties to send the information to the base station when the distance became larger than ca. 5 meters, the overall system worked very well.

On May 6 2016, Jennifer successfully presented her project in the Capstone class.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Hastings at (jennifer . hastings @ maine . edu).

Jennifer checking the live sensor network.

Jennifer checking the live sensor network.

Kaya

Kaya

33 sensors and one extended bread board

33 sensors and one extended bread board

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Ready for a test run

Ready for a test run

All installed and ready to go

All installed and ready to go

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Testing with a wired link provides real-time feedback

Testing with a wired link provides real-time feedback

User interface

User interface

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