Initially inspired by multi-device communications we set out to solve a problem. We thought of a few ways that devices spread over large geographic areas could provide insightful and helpful information. Finding a way to inexpensively and effectively track flooding and storm surges that can be dangerous to settlements rang a bell with us. This seemed like a basic necessity that could provide us with life saving information, while providing insight about nature.
What it does
This piece of technology allows users to place devices all along rivers/streams/flood prone areas and will track in real time what the water level is. It also allows people to look at patterns in the long term of water levels and may provide insight into patterns of nature.
How we built it
Challenges we ran into
Setting up communications between the XBees was extremely difficult. Having never worked with them before learning all about the protocols and different methods of data transfer proved difficult. We overcame this problem by finding someone to help advise us and pushing through the tough part of setting the device up.
Another major problem that we ran into was trying to transfer data from the arduino back to the main python module that provided graphing data. For some reason writing to serial ports didn't work so we were forced to try and find another solution.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
As a group we are proud of getting the XBees to function. This proved extremely difficult as there is little documentation and some of the tech is very old.
What we learned
We learned that hard work and perseverance pays off... and XBees suck
What's next for Flood Watch
The next step for flood watch would be to find a way to make the tech smaller. One quick way to do this would be to mill shields for the XBees to fit directly on the Arduinos. Another necessary step would be to create a variety of sensors for different situations. Some of which would be: Heat sensors (forest fires), proper tide sensors using buoyancy, and seismometers (earthquakes).