Inspiration

Are you sick and tired of coming back home (read as “lonely dorm room”) to just the sound of your annoying AC? Do you wish you had someone sing sweet tunes to you as you cried about how awful your day was, while at the same time limiting this coveted privilege to you and you alone? Look no further. “Like A Queen” is the solution. We wanted to develop a system that would make any room or home more lively as its resident walks in. Oftentimes, it takes time and effort to turn on holiday lights and music, so we created a system that would get any room into the holiday spirit automatically.

What it does

Our project combines home security with home entertainment. First, the system has a passcode door lock. If he or she enters the wrong passcode, a buzzer sound will go off. With the right passcode, however, a person will be allowed entry into the room. Upon entry, the resident is greeted with flickering lights and heart-warming music from a custom playlist.

How we built it

We used three different Arduino Unos for this project. We started by building the security system. We connected an LCD display to show the welcome screen for the user and a keypad for the user to enter in the passcode. To simulate a lock, we attached a an arm to the servo that was also powered by the same Arduino. If the correct passcode is entered, the servo turns 180 degrees so the arm does not block the door so the door can be opened. In addition, we have emergency open/close buttons located on the inside of the room that can open or close the lock. Just after the entrance, a ping sensor was placed and programmed with another Arduino to read in the movement of anything that walks past the door. Via Bluetooth, when something is within a preset distance of the ping sensor, LED light strips turn on and music starts playing from an MP3 shield. The lights and shield were connected to a third Arduino in order to showcase the functionality of Bluetooth. We used an audio cable to connect the MP3 shield with an external speaker in order to play the music.

Challenges we ran into

The first challenges we were faced with involved the LCD screen and the keypad. We had not worked with either or those before and the keypad proved to be especially difficult to work with. We didn't have a diagram that specified the functionalities of each pin leading into the keypad, so we ended up having to reverse engineer the keypad to figure out which pin corresponded to which row/column. Another challenge was using the MP3 shield. We had to use the MP3 shield because an Arduino alone does have have enough storage space for an MP3 file. In addition, many examples showed the shield stacked on the Arduino, but since we also had to incorporate lights and Bluetooth, we were not able to stack the two boards. Another problem we ran into was getting the lights and music to turn on at the same time. The wiring and code for the shield took a lot of research but eventually, we were able to get everything to work.

What we learned

We learned that using the keypad required some testing an trial error. Each pin had to correspond to a row or a column and we learned how to figure out the correct pin configuration. Programming with the MP3 shield proved to be particularly difficult, too. We were unfamiliar with the libraries we had to use, so we did a lot of research on both hardware and software. One specific issue we had was syncing the music and lights because we could not get them to turn on at the same time. We found that we were using a wrong function in our code and were able to fix it.

What's next for Like A Queen

Currently, there is no function to turn off the system once it turns on other than resetting it. We are hoping to update the code in the future to allow the music and lights to turn off when the resident leaves the room and the sensor detects movement again. In addition, we would like the speaker to be connected via Bluetooth so the speaker can be brought anywhere since it is connected with an audio jack currently.

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