With the technicalities out of the way, here are the project's objectives:
1) To create a freely rotatable SODAR system that can continuously detect objects
2) To create a UI that displays objects similarly to radar
3) To make it as portable as possible
To accomplish objective #1, we need a way to prevent wires from tangling while the motor spins. There are two ways that we thought would be relatively easily implementable. The first method would be to use two Arduinos and transceivers for a wireless transmission of data from the spinning platform to the computer for display. The other method would be to use something similar to a rotating electrical connection (REC), where the electrical connection would be maintained using a conductive liquid at the intersection.
While it seems to go against objective #3, we decided to go with the rotating electrical connection idea. This is mostly because we didn't know if it'd work and wanted to try something new. On top of this, commercial slip rings are upwards of 20 dollars (price found by ellisgl) and we wanted to see how hard it would be to make a reliable REC. In our project, we are using a vinegar-salt solution as an electrical conductive liquid because it is functional and inexpensive.
Future Work Suggestion:
Use wireless transceivers so the project can be placed in one area and send data to the laptop in another area.
Electrical circuit designer/builder extraordinaire: intensePancake