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Human Powered Submarine, United States

Contact Information

University: Virginia Tech

Team Member(s): Brian Acchione, Chris Olien, Alex Gage, Andrew Jones, Glenn Bauman, Sungha Song

Faculty Advisors: Wayne Neu

Email Address:

Country: United States

Project Information

Title: Human Powered Submarine

The electrical team is collecting data from pressure sensors, hall-effect sensors, a joystick, a compass and displaying that collected data on 7 segment LEDs and LCDs. We will also be logging this data and using it to control servos which will steer the submarine.


Luminary Micro LM3S8962 Evaluation Board

The Challenge:

The Human-Powered Submarine (HPS) Team is one of many student-run engineering design teams that are the pride of Virginia Tech's College of Engineering. The team's mission is to design, build, and race submarines that are propelled solely by human power. Although such a project could be accomplished relatively simply, to do it well requires the integration of many aspects of both engineering and liberal arts disciplines. Building a functional boat and competing each year requires the teamwork of many students who understand hydrodynamics, electronics, composite materials, biomechanics, machining, and administration. Participation on the team gives students a practical application of engineering and allows them to see the design progress from concept, to plan, to functional boat, as well as experience the thrill of competition.

The Electrical Team is in charge of collecting data from many sensors and i/o devices and using that data to help the divers, who controll the sub during the race, steer and monitor their progress.

The Solution:

When the divers enter the submarine they control the electrical system through phototransistor buttons. They can steer the submarine with a joystick which controls servos and they can change the 2 7 Segment LEDs with the phototransistor buttons. These LED's will display the speed, pressure of their tanks, heading, rpms, and raw power from pedaling. The data from the pressure sensors which will be located in the front and back of the submarine will be logged into a microSD card and used to calculate speed. The compass will be stored in a waterproof box with the Luminary Microcontroller to determine heading. The hall-effect sensors will determine the RPMs. All this data can be collected through the Luminary board and processed for data collection.

Using the Luminary Microcontroller we can easily interface with all the i/o devices while making it easier for the other teams to understand the code and make easy changes if necessary.


Hey hpseeteam,

Thank you so much for your project submission into the NI LabVIEW Student Design Competition. It's great to see your enthusiasm for NI LabVIEW! Make sure you share your project URL ( with your peers and faculty so you can collect votes ("likes") for your project and win. Collecting the most "likes" gives you the opportunity to win cash prizes for your project submission. If you or your friends have any questions about how to go about "voting" for your project, tell them to read this brief document (

Good luck,

Jessica in Austin, Texas

NI Employee (retired)

Hey guys,

Thanks for your submission. I just watched your video from the Washington Post, nice work! Can you elaborate on using LabVIEW? Perhaps share some of your favorite features?

Also, if your team is interested in getting certified in LabVIEW, we are offering students who participate in our Global NI LabVIEW Student Design Competition the opportunity to achieve certification at a fraction of the cost. It's a great opportunity to test your skills and enhance your resume at the same time. Check it out:

Thanks and good luck in our competition!!