Through constraints of the hackathon regarding IoT and the overwhelmingly awesome technical resources for light-control it popped into our mind and we implemented it.
There are three major problems in daily office life:
- The people often argue about the brightness of the light (Some people (coders) are more sensitive to light (after a all-nighter)).
- The whole office is illuminated all day, when it could only light up the rooms in use.
- Focussed and/or deaf employees (coders) can sometimes not recognize the fire-alarm.
What it does
The solution is personalized and localized lighting. To do so, employees carry a device. In this hackathon we used sensor-tag 1350, which store their personalized lighting preferences. Furthermore this device could also work as a keycard.
Any lamp which is capable of communicating through the internet can adjust the brightness at the specific spot if the person enters the room. This is possible because the sensor-tag authenticates through the launchpad and beaglebone gateway to the internet where our MyLight-Node-Red-Application gets notified which controls the IoT-Lamp. Thus each person in the same room can have their own ideal brightness.
Another advantage with this application is that it is possible to automatically turn off the area where nobody is for the sake of minimizing usage of electricity. This feature is also helpful in case of an emergency, when there is no need to double-check the whole building because the main-application knows if there are any people left in the building. Another aspect is the visual alarm, for deaf people to have a chance to actually see it.
How we built it
We configured the IBM Bluemix boilerplate to receive messages from the sensor tags, filtered the ones we are using by their unique ext_addr. And further parsed it's smart_objects.
Challenges we ran into
Simulating "entering the room" or "being near enough to the gateway to transmit data" is difficult because the battery has to be taken out of the sensor-tag. So we made a simulation of a simulation by using the brightness-value of the sensor-tag. So bright means that the person enters the room, and dark means this person leaves it. The same principle is applied to trigger the simulated fire-alarm.
Beside the these difficulties we had a hard time to define a specific project because we had so many possibilities and we had to choose one which is actually possible to accomplish within the extremely tight time frame.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
All toolchains work and we could get used and use node-red, which is quite a powerful tool if we are using many different APIs at once. We designed a simple and clean User Interface (UI) that is intuitively simple to use for anyone from C-level executives to engineers when using the Dashboard Overview.
What we learned
How to efficiently brainstorm, work with IBM Bluemix, Node-Red and first experience with subG-systems.
What's next for MyLight
Connecting to real lamps, improve the indoor-location, user interface for setting the preferences. Developing a hardware option to retrofit any light fixture would also be nice and actually not that difficult.