Imagine yourself, slumped in bed, after several hours of working. You want to sleep badly, but the only problem is that the light is still on. It may not seem like much of a deal now as you're reading this, but we all know that it would take an earthquake to make you get up to turn off that light. But what if you could just flick your wrist and the lights would turn off?
What it does
Makes your life easier by enabling you to turn the light off and on just by a flick of the wrist, even if the switch is all the way across the room, or all the way across the world. Music and navigation, among other things, are also only a few flicks away. To name a few applications, our technology can be easily extended to lock your house remotely, turn off a stove when you are not home, or preheat your shower before you even reach the bathroom.
How we built it
The first day was spent almost entirely on exploring the variety of hardware available to us (Oculus, Myo, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Particle Photon, Leap Motion, etc.), and we eventually decided upon the latter two based on their relevance to our project idea and our team members' preferences. Subsequently, we divided the project into 2 major parts: the first was the hardware portion, which involved hooking up the necessary circuits, motors, power sources, etc. used to automate home appliances (e.g desk lamps, door knobs, shower handles, etc). The second portion was the software interfacing with the Leap Motion, which not only had to recognize the appropriate gestures, but also communicate with the hardware (via HTTP and IFTTT in our case). In the end, we managed to complete the hardware portion and even make it portable by eliminating the need for a breadboard/power outlet, and managed to complete the software portion using a variety of tools, including Node.js, Arduino, IFTTT, and the Leap Motion API.
Challenges we ran into
The major roadblock we faced involved learning how to work with the hardware, as nobody in our team had experience wiring up circuits, calculating voltages and resistances, soldering, or the like. As such, we spent a lot of time perusing the internet for tutorials, as well as consulted the hardware mentors to guide us. Furthermore, the Leap Motion API as well as the Leap Motion itself proved to be somewhat unpredictable with how gestures are recognized, and so we spent a significant amount of time figuring out the optimal way to program the Leap Motion to work nicely with the motors we built. Gluing the two together was relatively seamless with HTTP + Particle Photon and IFTTT, although IFTTT at times proved to be less versatile than what we had expected.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
All of us had zero knowledge of electrical engineering at the start of the hack. All but one are first time hackers. We came into the hack ready to build a webapp we had in mind for months, but successfully switched to hardware, came up with an idea, learned about all the hardware, and implemented the idea, all within the allotted time.
What we learned
What's next for flick
Look forward to our shower and door products! It was difficult to demonstrate this at the hack given the lack of shower handles and door locks, but had we been provided with the materials we would have built them!