What it does

EngageAble brings key game moments to visually impaired fans via haptic feedback. EngageAble's systems detect when a key moment occurs in game and send a signal to the end user's device, which vibrates to alert them to the event. Different moments are assigned different vibration patterns to help the fan differentiate.

How we built it

The control signals which indicate key moments come from EngageAble's sensor systems. There are two sensor systems available, the impact sensor and web app.

The impact sensor is meant to be attached to athletes and equipment to detect significant impacts which coincide with key events. The prototype impact sensor is built with an Intel Edison Arduino breakout board and a 3-Axis accelerometer. The accelerometer is used to detect the fast acceleration that coincides with catching a ball and the Intel Edison's WiFi modem is used to transmit the event.

The web app is made to identify those events which we cannot or have not made sensors for. The web app provides an interface for venue operators to send out key events by hand, as they choose. For example, it might be used in a baseball stadium to signal a home run.

EngageAble's low latency networking system is built on top of the MQTT messaging protocol. MQTT lets us "publish" a message and have it sent out to any number of "subscribers". In our application the sensors act as publishers and the fans' devices act as subscribers. A code is sent out specifying what event occurred and the subscribers react as is appropriate.

The devices used by fans are readily available consumer electronics. We have built Android and Pebble apps to be installed on fans' devices. The Android app subscribes to the MQTT server and passes any events to the Pebble smart watch.

Challenges we ran into

We ran into many difficulties when building the impact sensor. We a had trouble finding and selecting appropriate hardware for the task and even after selecting the accelerometer we had trouble extracting impact events from the information the sensor provides.

Accomplishments that we are proud of

We built a complete IoT technology stack using everything from sensors and embedded technology, to web services, to mobile apps. This is a viable proof of concept of a system that could really improve peoples' live sporting experiences.

What we learned

We learned about the difficulties of complete IoT technology stacks, coordinating the many devices to work smoothly provided many challenges.

What's next for EngageAble

Building up out sensor suite, polishing the end user experience, and commercialization.

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