As the world progresses into the digital age, there is a huge simultaneous focus on creating various sources of clean energy that is sustainable and affordable. Unfortunately, there is minimal focus on ways to sustain the increasingly rapid production of energy. Energy is wasted everyday as utility companies over supply power to certain groups of consumers.

Thus, we bring you Efficity, a device that helps utility companies analyze and predict the load demand of a housing area. By leveraging the expanding, ubiquitous arrival of Internet of Things devices, we can access energy data in real-time. Utility companies could then estimate the ideal power to supply to a housing area, while keeping in mind to satisfy the load demand. With this, not too much energy will be wasted and thus improving energy efficiency. On top of that, everyday consumers can also have easy access to their own personal usage for tracking.

Our prototype is built primarily around a Dragonboard 410c, where a potentiometer is used to represent the varying load demand of consumers. By using the analog capabilities of a built in Arduino (ATMega328p), we can calculate the power that is consumed by the load in real time. A Python script is then run via the Dragonboard to receive the data from the Arduino through serial communication. The Dragonboard then further complements our design by having built-in WiFi capabilities. With this in mind, we can send HTTP requests to a webserver hosted by energy companies. In our case, we explored sending this data to a free IOT platform webserver, which can allow a user from anywhere to track energy usage as well as perform analytics such as using MATLAB. In addition, the Dragonboard comes with a fully usable GUI and compatible HDMI monitor for users that are less familiar with command line controls.

There were many challenges throughout the Hackathon. First, we had trouble grasping the operations of a Dragonboard. The first 12 hours was spent only on learning how to use the device itself—it also did not help that our first Dragonboard was defective and did not come with a pre-flashed operating system! Next time, we plan to ask more questions early on rather than fixating on problems we believed were trivial. Next, we had a hard time coding the Wi-Fi functionality of the DragonBoard. This was largely due to the lack of expertise in the area from most members. For future references, we find it advisable to have a larger diversity of team members to facilitate faster development.

Overall, we are proud of what we have achieved as this was our first time participating in a hackathon. We ranged from first all the way to fourth year students! From learning how to operate the Dragonboard 410c to having hands on experience in implementing IOT capabilities, we thoroughly believe that HackWestern has broaden all our perspectives on technology.

If this pitch is successful in this hackathon, we are planning to further improvise and make iterations and develop the full potential of the Dragonboard prototype. There are numerous algorithms we would love to implement and explore to process the collected data since the Dragonboard is quite a powerful device with its own operation systems. We may also want to include extra hardware add-ons such as silent arms for over-usage or solar panels to allow a fully self-sustained device. To take this one step further--if we were able to have a fully functional product, we can opt to pitch this idea to investors!

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