Our inspiration and motivation for this project stemmed from the frustrations and inconveniences we as students attending TAMU have suffered through such as wasting precious time struggling to find bus stops, buildings, and class rooms, attempting to find out which stop to get off on, only to discover that the TAMU app won't load on our phones, and being late for meetings simply due to the meeting room being hidden in the dark and foul depths of a multi-story building.
What it does
The Monolith is a physical rectangular prism that contains one or four (depending in the model) touchscreen menus stand that would in numbers spread across campus to provide extremely easy access to real-time bus route information and more accurate locations, GPS directions to class automatically with the swipe of your student ID, room mapping inside large buildings with classes/clubs/events with professors and times posted. It also provides an update to blue emergency call box phones, able to call officials when needed. Additionally to enhance safety on campus it can easily contact and be a position for Corp Cadets Escorts or Carpool services. The ease of use and widespread application would make it an extremely valuable tool for students with disabilities to easily and efficiently navigate through the sometimes overwhelming swaths of people that erupt from the classrooms at the end of every block.
How we built it
Using 3-D modeling to conceptualize, with research and calculations to affirm feasibility we created a plan for the Monoliths to be energy independent using solar power rather than the campus energy grid for power, taking away the need for infrastructure development and costs. It has a pole on the bottom that allows it to slide into the conventional sidewalk barrier holes and electromagnetically locks into place, preventing theft and making it extremely easy to rearrange Monoliths as needed, which can be gauged by their internal counters and logs. It lights up at night in Aggie colors using internal LEDs against its acrylic body.
Challenges we ran into
Our greatest challenge was dealing with the evil program known as "AutoDesk Inventor" in which we funneled hours of frustration into attempting to learn to create 3D models, I have never experienced such rage until this event. However, despite this, we were able to create models that accurately reflected our vision. We also have very limited experience constructing graphical user interfaces, and thus we had to settle for a mock-up of what it would look like.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Particularly proud of how nice the solar panels look in the 3-D models, but aside from that, we're proud of the design and its huge multi-use and efficient ability in relocating with little to no infrastructure intrusions.
What we learned
We learned that we really dislike using the program "AutoDesk Inventor" an how little we know about app development. Additionally we learned valuable information relating to students disabilities that I was blind to 24 hours ago.
What's next for Monolith
Potentially carrying on the development of its design in a hardware hackathon two weeks from now, and depending on how valuable the judges and students find it, maybe more.