The inspiration for EcoHuntAR was the poor state of energy efficiency of buildings in Portugal, as the country has one of the lowest levels of energy efficiency in buildings among EU countries. EcoHuntAR aims to address this problem by using augmented reality technology and gamification to encourage people to find and scan energy-efficient buildings in their area. This can raise awareness about energy efficiency and encourage people to take action to improve the energy efficiency of buildings in Portugal.
EcoHuntAR is not limited to Portugal, it has a global application as the issue of energy efficiency in buildings is a worldwide problem. Many countries have buildings that are not energy efficient and contribute to high energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. By creating an interactive and engaging experience that encourages people to find and scan energy-efficient buildings, the app could help raise awareness about the issue and encourage people to take action to improve the energy efficiency of buildings in their own communities.
What it does
EcoHunt AR is an augmented reality app that encourages users to find and scan energy-efficient buildings in their area. The app uses AR technology to allow users to point their phone at a building and see its energy rating. The energy rating data is sourced from ADENE, the Portuguese Agency for Energy Efficiency, a public organization in Portugal responsible for promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy in the country.
How we built it
To provide the augmented reality and geolocation functionality, the app utilizes Google Maps API and ARCore SDK. This allows the app to access location data and overlay energy ratings on the buildings in the user’s view. The mobile app was built using Kotlin, a programming language for Android development. This allows the app to be compatible with Android devices and take advantage of the device’s camera and sensors to provide the AR experience.
Challenges we ran into
- Not all devices supported ARCore, which made it difficult to test and develop the app’s augmented reality functionality. We had to rely heavily on the emulator, which didn’t do a great job at emulating the real environment.
- Difficulty integrating the energy rating data from ADENE (structured, non-geocoded addresses) into the app and making it user-friendly (geocoded addresses).
- Difficulty with the scalability and reliability of the backend infrastructure to handle millions of records
- Technical difficulties integrating Google Maps API and ARCore SDK for geolocation and augmented reality functionality.
- Difficulty with the user interface design and ensuring it was user-friendly and engaging.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
- We created a convenient way to access the energy rating data from ADENE, making it more user-friendly for the users.
- We successfully integrated ARCore SDK and Google Maps API into the app, allowing users to view energy ratings of different buildings in real-time as they walk down the street. This is a technical accomplishment as it requires a good understanding of AR technology and how to implement it effectively in a mobile app.
- We built a robust and reliable backend using Node.js and Express.js, which can handle the large amount of data and user requests.
- We built an app that runs smoothly on Android devices and provides an optimal user experience.
What we learned
- The importance of energy efficiency in buildings and the challenges that need to be overcome to improve it.
- How to access, parse and use public data repositories like ADENE and how to make it user-friendly.
- The technical skills required to integrate augmented reality and geolocation technology into a mobile app.
- The importance of creating a user-friendly, interactive and engaging user interface to encourage people to use the app and learn about energy efficiency.
- The importance of creating a scalable and reliable backend infrastructure to support a large number of users and handle large amount of data.
What's next for EcoHunt AR
- We plan to build a leaderboard feature for EcoHunt AR users to "collect" the most A-rated properties in Portugal and compete with other users. The user who "collects" the most A-rated buildings stays at the top of the leaderboard.
- We are also working on allowing users to save their favorite buildings and view them later and to take photos or videos of the buildings they scan and share them with others.
- By expanding the app's coverage to other cities or countries, we could reach a larger audience and raise awareness about energy efficiency in more locations.
- Adding a feature that suggests energy-efficient upgrades for buildings
- Improving the AR experience by adding more AR objects or animations to make the app more engaging and interactive.
- Adding social features to the app, such as a chat function, to encourage users to connect and share information.
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