Inspiration

The inspiration came to us when Chris gave the introductory note on the work they are doing at HomeBase. This was followed with a small conversation where we spoke to Chris about all different tasks they plan to complete on IoT for example triggering a coffee machine with the alarm you set to wake yourself up. Me and my teammate spent next few hours discussing different ideas and studying how existing models are working. As this is the Tornado season at Manhattan we decided to go ahead with the idea to create a weather Alert system using existing hardware and APIs.

How we built it

We spent initial hours discussing various interesting ideas we came up with and wrote designs for few of them. This was followed by feasibility discussion of these ideas :D . Finally we decided to work on weather Alert system. After finalizing the design we decided to make a mobile application. It was getting difficult to decide platforms to work and therefore we came up with an idea of a web-based application. We wrote the code on HTML and PHP and used LIFX and OpenWeatherMap APIs . We have implemented following functionalities.

  1. Switching Lights On/Off
  2. Setting lights to desired colors.
  3. Control brightness of the light.
  4. Implemented Special Effects - Pulse effects
  5. Weather Alert - This is the most vital functionality. Using current user location (Longitude and Latitude ) we fetch data from OpenWeatherMap. This returns JSON data with different details about weather. There are three major categories of weather status returned - Clouds , Rain and Clear. When status is "Rain" we invoke a pulse notification with Blue color that notifies user of Rain. If the weather status is Clouds we give a mild purple color pulse. This indications help user to stay updated without looking at their digital devices. As this is a visual stimulus it quickly grabs user attention and saves them from missing any update (SMS or alarms can be overlooked if they are silent or in other rooms). These alerts then help users in planning their schedules such as - meetings or travels. As, this is a web based application so it can be easily modified into an i-OS or android based mobile application. Demos -
  6. https://youtu.be/nSY-xDraPCE
  7. https://youtu.be/JAF_W9bzmV4

Challenges we ran into

We came up with several ideas initially but the biggest hurdle we ran was hardware to test the implementation. Also, there are no online simulators and very limited API for devices.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

This was our first Hackathon and this was a great experience. We are proud that we were able to come up with a submission for our first Hackathon.

What we learned

We had very limited knowledge about Internet of Things, IoT is a buzz word and touted to be the future we did not have any exposure in this area. Hack k-state has given us an opportunity to learn and understand IoT.

What's next for HomeBase_WeatherAlert

  • We plan to extend weather updates to alerts such as Firewatch, Tornadoes etc.
  • Extend the application to work with other home appliances , for example coffee makers and geysers with alarms, fitness bands with Refrigerators etc.
  • We will integrate these appliances to monitor their energy consumption and optimize energy usage and reduce electricity bills.
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