Laundry Basket Aid is a tool that has commercial and residential applications to make someone's life or job easier. Using a ping sensor to determine distance, and therefore the height of laundry, and using a force sensitive resistor to measure the weight of laundry, the Laundry Basket Aid uploads data to Thingspeak to be viewed remotely and in real-time. This is especially applicable for sports team managers, hotel workers, and anyone who juggles a busy life.

What it does

The laundry basket aid is a system of sensors that collects data and uploads it to the internet to be viewed in real time. The Laundry basket aid reads a weight value and reads a distance value which can be used to determine if a load of laundry is ready to be done. The user can view the weight and distance readings remotely, which is useful for people who lead busy lives.

How we built it

Hardware: To build the laundry basket aid we used a force sensitive resistor (FSR) and a ping sensor. The FSR measures the weight of the laundry in the bottom of the basket and the ping sensor measures the distance from the top of the basket to the top of the laundry. We also used an MKR 1000 to integrate wifi into our project so that our readings from the sensors could be uploaded to Thingspeak.

Software: We began by writing code for both the ping sensor and FSR. We started by getting both of these sensors to print values to the serial monitor on Arduino. Once we were able to get these sub-systems working, we transitioned our focus to the IoT aspect of our project, which was using the wifi capabilities of the MKR 1000 to be able to view our data from the sensors on Thingspeak. In order to do this, we had to include the wifi101 library on arduino.

Challenges we ran into

The process of integrating wifi took a fair amount of troubleshooting/debugging. Figuring out how to incorporate the wifi library took some time, as well as working on our code. We also contemplated using many different components before settling on the MKR 1000. At first we planned on using wifi arduino, but ran into trouble getting it to connect to wifi. We then attempted to mount a wifi shield on a normal arduino uno, but yet again we still couldn’t get it to connect to wifi. Finally we were able to get it to work with the MKR 1000. This process was the most challenging of the project because at times we didn’t know if it was something wrong in our code, or if it was just the components and wifi acting up.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We were really proud to see the Laundry Basket Aid come together on demo day and work as we envisioned it to. Getting the wifi to connect and then being able to see the data on Thingspeak were big accomplishments.

What we learned

Over the course of the project we definitely increased our knowledge of arduino and it’s different capabilities. We learned a lot about writing code on arduino and how to go about debugging our own code. In addition we learned how to integrate an IoT aspect into a project and got to see how much more useful a project can become when you have IoT. We also learned that building a project like this is a process and there will be things that come easy and other things not so much. We got to experience an awesome feeling when everything finally came together.

What's next for Laundry Basket Aid

The next step for the laundry basket aid could be the incorporation of Twilio, so that a user could be notified with a text message if their laundry reaches a certain height and weight. We also thought of using a much larger FSR that could get a more accurate gauge of the weight of laundry in a basket.

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