Inspiration

You are at the office. After 8 hours of exhausting work, you look through the window and realize it’s starting to rain. You feel kind of sad, as you won’t be able to do what you planned for the afternoon, but the sound of rain is kind of relaxing and the bitterness is replaced by a feeling of relaxed happiness. But suddenly a thought flashes through your mind that makes you go mad: as always, you left your umbrella home.

The idea was simple. We just wanted to create the unforgettable umbrella, an item you could impossibly leave home when you’ll need it. So AYA was born.

What it does

AYA’s fancy notification LEDs remind you to take the umbrella in case the weather forecast for the next 10 hours reports probable rainfalls. AYA’s LEDs only light up in case you are close. A Raspberry Pi attached to the umbrella is synched to your Smartphone via Bluetooth and infers proximity based on signal strength.

In case you ignore AYA and leave home without the umbrealla when the forecast probable rain during the next hours, you’ll receive two extra shots: 1) A notification in your Pebble Smart Watch and 2) a call in your smartphone that will remind you about it with a robotic voice: “It looks like it’s going to rain…”

You can use AYA’s app on your smartphone to choose what type of notifications you want to activate (LEDs, Pebble and/or Smartphone call).

How we built it

We screwed a Raspberry Pi to the handle of a regular wooden umbrella and connected its pins to a series of LEDs (we went for a parallel connection to make light effects possible and identify points of failure). We call a weather API from the Raspberry to know if it’s going to rain in the next 10 hours. The Raspberry Pi is paired to a mobile app via Bluetooth. The signal strength emitted by the smartphone is measured by the Raspberry. When signal strength reaches a certain threshold level (meaning the owner is close to the umbrella), the LED notifications light up (only in a scenario when rain is forecasted).

If the owner ignores the LED notifications and leaves home without the umbrella, he will receive a notification in his Pebble Smart Watch and ultimately a phone call letting him know.

You can switch AYA on and off through the mobile app, as also choosing what notifications do you want to activate (LEDs, Pebble and/or phone call).

Challenges we ran into

  • Complex product “design” associated to physical products.
  • Bluetooth communication
  • Bluetooth signal strength detection for distance inference
  • Twilio integration
  • Electronics and circuitery, a lot of welding
  • First time using Raspberry

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are very proud of having completed the project. Building a physical product has been a real challenge and almproducing it almost as we envisioned it’s been a great pleasure. Also, we are proud to have done it while being the first Hackathon for Ricard. He is a non-programmer and has helped with product design, circuitery and (Yay!) his firsts lines of code.

What we learned

We would like to work with a product designer who can come up with a professional design for the product to make it safer and better looking. Some features should be included as location-awareness for anti lost system.

What's next for AYA - A smart umbrella

Everything in this project has been open-sourced and written during the hackathon! https://github.com/novikk/aya_umbrella_raspi https://github.com/novikk/aya_umbrella_android

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