The EduForce Module is designed for use in the classroom, providing state-of-the-art motion measurement data previously unobtainable through the use of stopwatches, photogates, and sonic rangers. Each of these devices has inherent limitations, by which, students are then limited in the exploration of physics concepts during their own personal experimentation.

The EduForce Module


The Module

The EduForce Module is designed for use in the classroom, providing state-of-the-art motion measurement data previously unobtainable through the use of stopwatches, photogates, and sonic rangers. Each of these devices has inherent limitations, by which, students are then limited in the exploration of physics concepts during their own personal experimentation.

The Module's electronics are encased in a silicon epoxy to resist high impacts, such as being dropped on the floor accidentally. The lightweight, compact design allows students the ability to mount Modules on a variety of existing classroom equipment. Instructors can also use a wide range of BFA designed holders, mounts, and equipment to more securely attach modules for use in, and out of, the classroom.

There are two (2) primary electronic components to the Module; the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and the Processor. The IMU contains the sensor hardware which collects, then transfers, the motion data to the Module's volatile ("erasable") memory. The Processor contains the firmware (operating commands) for the Module. These two components, along with the on-board non-volatile (permanent) memory, allow the Module to detect, calculate, transfer, and store motion data for analysis through the Dashboard (and supporting software).

The Module is connected to the EduForce Dashboard ("Dashboard") via a USB-C style connector ("USB"). The USB allows for two-way communication between the Dashboard and the Module. When connecting and disconnecting the USB it is important to hold the connector ends between your fingers and push/pull the connector firmly into the Module/Computer USB ports. DO NOT PULL THE CABLE OUT OF A PORT FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE CABLE, DOING SO COULD WEAKEN OR DAMAGE THE CONNECTOR ENDS OR THE PORT.

The Module can be powered on ("turned on") in two ways. When the Module is connected to the Dashboard via the USB, the Module automatically powers on and remains on until disconnected from the USB. The Module will then automatically time out (power down) in five (5) minutes. To turn the Module on without connecting it to the USB, simply place the marked corner of the Remote near the Reed Switch of the Module for a few seconds. The Module will power on as indicated by the flashing PCB LEDs.

The Module can be connected to the Dashboard in two ways. By connecting the Module to the USB BEFORE launching the Dashboard, the Module automatically connects with the Dashboard. The Module can also be connected once the Dashboard has been launched (such as when you are switching between two or more Modules). In the Education mode of the Dashboard, simply click "Connect Module" on the appropriate tab. The Dashboard will display a message confirming the connections. In the Advanced mode, click "Disconnect" (Port Closed will display), then "Refresh Port List" (COM list populates), then select the Module from the COM list ("Current Module Configurations Received and Displayed" will display). Typically, only one COM port is displayed to select from.

The Module has three basic modes; Off, Stand-By, and Operating (i.e. conducting a trial)

Off - The Module is powered down. No data is being collected. Power on the Module by connecting to the Dashboard, or manually via the Remote.

Stand-By - The Module is powered up but is not currently performing any functions. The Module can be in Stand-by while connected to the Dashboard or disconnected from it. Typically the Module is in Stand-By mode while the user is working with the Module through the Dashboard without any current operations being performed, or when the Module has been programmed for a trial, disconnected from the Dashboard and is awaiting the start of a trial. Should the Module power down while waiting for a trial to begin, simply hold the Remote near the Reed Switch until the Module powers up (PCB LEDs will begin to flash).

Operating - The Module is conducting a trial and collecting data according to the parameters set by the user. (See the EduForce Dashboard User's Guide for more information on programming the Module for use in a trial.)

The Module PDF
The Module Diagrams

Sensor Axes

The Module is equipped with three sensors - Accelerometer, Gyroscope, and Magnetometer- each measuring along three axes, providing the user with measurements in nine degrees of freedom (9 DOF). The Accelerometer and Gyroscope have user-selected inputs for sample rate, sensitivity, and filtering. The user can select either a timed or untimed test. (Refer to the Dashboard User’s Guide for details on settings and options).

The Education Dashboard uses a proprietary Java-based graph to display data.

The Advanced Dashboard allows the user to work with the Java-based graph or an Excel-based graph. The Excel-based graph displays:

The Module's "Positive" X, Y, Z Axis orientation is marked directly on the Module for the Accelerometer and Gyroscope. The Magnetometer Axis orientation is different from the Accelerometer and Gyroscope. The X and Y Axes of the Magnetometer are 90 degrees relative to the other sensors while the Z Axis is 180 degrees to the other sensors. (see the diagrams below)

Sensor Axis Diagram


Though the Module's IMU is manufactured to "ideal" specifications, due to inherent manufacturing processes it is best to calculate any difference from this ideal to the Module's actual performance. This difference (or offset) can be calculated and stored to the Module’s non-volatile memory. The offset is then applied automatically when trial data is read from the Module and imported and analyzed by the Dashboard. The Module is initially calibrated during manufacturing however, users may wish to recalibrate their Module periodically, particularly if it received a significant shock. (a short fall from a table-top is not considered a "significant shock".) We do recommend the Module be calibrated annually. In the education field this can be timed to occur at the beginning of the school year.

To perform a calibration the Module must be placed on a flat, level, stable (non-vibrating) surface during the entire calibration test. Take care to ensure there are no external vibrations, sudden shocks, or movement of the Module (other than what is necessary to rotate the Module through the process).

Table Diagram

IMU Calibration Process

(Note: Detailed instructions for programming the Module, and the calibration process can be found in the EduForce Dashboard User's Guide. The calibration function is conducted only through the Advanced Dashboard.)

  1. Using default configurations, program the Module to conduct a test
  2. Disconnect the Module, place it on the surface, then start the trial
    • Rotate the Module placing it on each of the six (6) Module faces for 3-4 seconds
  3. Stop the trial
  4. Reconnect the module, read the test, make a note of the file location and name
  5. On the MPU Calibration tab, click Browse
    • In the pop-up window locate your file, and click Open
    • Then click "Calibrate"
  6. The Dashboard will automatically write the offsets into the module system memory and populate the data fields on the tab

Technical Specifications

The EduForce Remote

The Remote

The Module pairs with the EduForce Remote to provide the user the ability to remotely start/stop data collection without physical contact with the module, reducing the amount of spurious motion imparted on the module during a trial. Module / Remote pairing combinations are one-to-one (the most common single-module trial set-up), two (2) Modules paired to one (1) Remote (two-module trials such as Conservation of Momentum) and one or multiple (2+) Modules paired with one or multiple (2+) Remotes (where the physical parameters of a test require use of multiple Modules but the start/stop locations are separated by a distance which exceeds a single module's broadcast range).

Bluetooth and Pairing

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Battery Replacement

Step 1:

  • Open back of case
  • With phillips screwdriver

Step 2:

  • Remove old battery
  • Dispose of properly
  • Insert new battery

Step 3:

  • Close cover and replace screws
  • Power on remote
  • Red and green LED's will illuminate