Inspiration

One of our team members works at a large retail store. On some given days, their task is to count how many people enter the store, and exist manually. When high quantities of people enter the store, it becomes harder to count people.

What it does

In these trying times, we have to be mindful of where we go, and who we are around. Many stores have capacity limits, which are typically manually done. We have created a process to count people entering a room and exiting a room. The program displays when more people can go in, or if it at capacity.

How we built it

We did not have a lot of equipment, just a Raspberry Pi, resistors, and wires. We knew we would need a sensor to capture this but did have one. So we built a capacitive touch sensor using aluminum foil, having it take place of a button. This program was run in Python. The website is hosted on an Apache server and uses CGI Framework.

Challenges we ran into

Having no experience with SQL databases or cloud services, it was rather difficult to fully comprehend how to deploy a website with an attached SQL database and PHP scripts on a cloud service within 36 hours. Instead, we decided on hosting our website locally on a Raspberry Pi which was connected to the hardware. Even then, we had major obstacles. Apache2 was not installing correctly on the first couple of tries. After several reinstalls and a few tweaks to the user permissions, we were able to successfully move forward with the deployment of our website. After a great amount of time brainstorming, we were able to come up with a solution to bypass the static nature of HTML pages. Refreshing every 10 seconds and having it connected to some files that were being shared by the hardware's script were the solution. At the end of the day, we were able to come up with solutions for every challenge faced.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Having a working website, and creating our own homemade sensor.

What we learned

working with Raspberry Pi and how to set up an Apache server.

What's next for Capacity Assistant

Due to limited hardware, we made sensors out of foil but we would replace it with a payload sensor to get a more accurate reporting

  • We would make the website dynamic and overall have a better-looking design
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