Our team was inspired by the growing concern about water conservation and sustainability. As we become more aware of the finite resources on our planet, we wanted to find a way to contribute to the conservation effort. We were also motivated by the fact that small changes in our daily habits can have a significant impact on reducing water waste. We wanted to create a product that would make it easy for people to identify and address small leaks in their homes, reducing unnecessary water consumption and promoting sustainability.
What it does
Our DripTech product is a smart sensor technology that helps conserve water by detecting and alerting users to dripping faucets. The technology listens for specific sound patterns associated with dripping water and processes the raw noise level data. We use a circular array to store noise level data points, which is updated incrementally with each new signal. The average signal value is then passed through a bandpass filter, which removes high and low-frequency noise that's not part of the dripping noise. A running average noise level is calculated and subtracted from the signal, creating a new signal that represents additional noise past the average. If this level of noise reaches a cutoff volume, the time at which the maximum occurred is recorded and stored in an array. Once three patterns are recorded, the program knows that the faucet is dripping if the time difference between the three recordings is the same. The LCD screen displays the duration of the water leak in seconds and provides a measurement of the volume of water wasted in milliliters, giving users valuable insights to help them take action and prevent further waste. Finally, if the faucet is actively dripping, the user will be alerted by an audible buzzing sound.
How we built it
DripTech was developed using a combination of hardware and software. We utilized an Arduino microcontroller to power our smart sensor and programmed the microphone to listen for specific sound patterns. Advanced signal processing techniques were used to differentiate between the sound of water dripping and other background noises. The band pass filter was extensively tested to ensure reliable attenuation. We made use of available hardware tools and improvised for other parts, such as utilizing an unused box for the housing to reduce waste. Since not all team members were experienced with making hardware hacks, we leveraged our collective knowledge to unblock obstacles and pivot when necessary.
Challenges we ran into
During the development of DripTech, our team faced several challenges. One of the main obstacles we encountered was fine-tuning the band pass filter to accurately distinguish between the sound of water dripping and other background noises. This required extensive testing and experimentation, such as trying different filter values and conducting multiple tests with various sound sources. Another challenge was the noisy environment of the hackathon venue, which made it difficult to isolate the dripping sound. To overcome this, we tested our sensor in different locations. Additionally, since not all team members had experience with hardware hacking, we had to work collaboratively to overcome any obstacles. We held regular brainstorming sessions and collected resources to help us all collectively learn about hardware hacking. This allowed us to pivot quickly and make progress despite any roadblocks.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're proud of the fact that we were able to develop a product that promotes sustainability and conserves water in a simple and effective way. Additionally, we're proud of the user-friendly design of the product, which allows users to easily monitor and track their water consumption, promoting better water conservation habits. Moreover, our team set a series of goals that we systematically accomplished, from building the hardware to developing the software and testing the final product. We are incredibly proud of the potential impact that DripTech can have, as we believe it has the ability to be scalable and relatively inexpensive, making it accessible to people in lower developed countries who could benefit greatly from water conservation technology. By making this technology accessible to more people, we hope to contribute to a more sustainable future for everyone.
What we learned
Through the development of DripTech, we gained valuable experience in hardware and software integration, signal processing, and user-centered design. We also learned the importance of teamwork, communication, and adaptability in tackling challenges that arise during the development process. Additionally, we learned the potential impact that our technology could have in promoting water conservation and sustainability in both developed and developing countries.
What's next for DripTech
Moving forward, we plan to continue refining DripTech and improving its accuracy and reliability. We also plan to explore the possibility of integrating DripTech with other smart home devices, such as voice assistants or smart thermostats. Additionally, we hope to fully flesh out the companion app in order to give users more easily accessible information about their water consumption habits. Ultimately, we hope to expand the reach of DripTech and make it accessible to as many people as possible, promoting sustainable living and water conservation on a global scale.