prototype of Lit
My teammate, Ryan, and I got the idea when thinking about adding more control to peoples
What it does
Lit allows users to remotely control and manage power consumption in the home through a network of smart outlets that measure consumption and control power usage.
How I built it
We tried the Intel Edison and spark core wifi module to connect to wifi (which didn't work because of network issues, but that was the plan). One example smart outlet without remote capability was made with arduinos, rf transceivers, and a precision amplifier. An outlet and relays were bought from Home Depot along with standard power wires and a couple low value power resistors to mimic a real outlet. This allowed us to revolutionize how people typically think about power without completely overhauling the system.
Challenges I ran into
Wifi was impossible on all fronts to connect to; I looked through _ every _ detail of the data sheets and forums on spark core and edison, and nothing. There were no commonplace hardware tools like wire strippers, screwdrivers, and soldering irons/solder. Luckily I brought my own soldering iron/solder, and I used my pocket knife to cut through 14 gauge solid copper wire. At some point I realized we didn't actually have a solid plan for power measurement and had to think of some way to do it without frying our arduinos.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
The solution to power measurement I came up with was to build a three-stage precision isolation amplifier from my spare circuits class parts. I've never impressed myself more. I'm also really proud of my teammate, who is writing code for the network of outlets right now. He came up with how it works on his own and made it so that the product also has industry applications. In large areas where outlets are spaced too far to reach a main data collection node, they'll propagate the information cleanly throughout the network until it reaches its intended location when the data is cleared elsewhere. The mix of expertise and determination between us really made this project an amazing experience.
What I learned
I learned how to interface and configure spark core and intel edison really well. If they worked, they would've been my favorite thing to use because I really enjoyed it until connection failed.
What's next for Lit
Ryan and I will continue to optimize the design for Lit and try to build a company out of our product. After this hackathon, we realized just how feasible and useful something like Lit can be for people. It would be a shame not to expand on the capabilities and broader values of this project into the making of a smart home.