My dad always makes me carry my carry-on luggage and I don't like waiting on delays on the airplane taking off due to people searching for places to store their carry on luggage when boarding.
What it does
We have buttons that would line the bottom of the bin. Once the suitcase is inserted in the bin, it will rest on a button that would turn an led light that would indicate that the bin was in use. We then have the bins link up to the front of the plane to show the front desk whether or not there is still space available for more bags.
How we built it
Two of our team members had prior experience with Arduino, electronics, c++ & java, programming fundamentals. We started out with the Arduino boards testing out the led lights in order to get the light toggling working properly. While that was going on, we were actively researching different solutions to detect luggage in an overhead bin. We then figured out that using buttons was by far the best option in our opinion.
Challenges we ran into
The major problem was finding a cost-effective solution to detect luggage that may be stored in the overhead bins. We compared multiple different types of sensors by testing them out to find all of the advantages/disadvantages. Additionally, we had problems with getting the size of the sensors that we needed at a reasonable cost to justify upgrading the whole fleet of airplanes.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Learning how to quickly to using the breadboard and finding a solution that was very cost-effective and easy to scale.
What we learned
We learned how to set up and code Arduino boards and the pros and cons of sensors to detect whether something is inside of a tight space.
What's next for Bin Balancer
Bin Balancer is waiting to be implemented on a larger scale, retrofitted onto the current fleet of airplanes, and for a report on the delay time changes. Talk with a team of AA engineers in order to make the button design as efficient, make it as cost-effective as possible, and to implement the API with Arduino.