Smart homes are quickly becoming a standard, with more and more devices being integrated into their ecosystem. While systems such as thermostats have gotten this treatment for a while, more individual cooling such as fans haven't followed the same pace.
What it does
The fan can be remotely controlled via either web front end or a mobile app to the user's liking, or run off of temperature data it senses.
How we built it
The fan is driven by a raspberry pi running a web server that accepts requests, such as those to start or stop the fan. The web front end is generated by a python program, which also processes the requests and updates any necessary information, such as the state of the GPIO pins. The mobile app works similarly to the web front end, sending requests over the network.
Challenges we ran into
One of the primary issues with this project has been handling the hardware. This project demanded more moving parts than we were used to, both literally and figuratively. No small amount of time was spent trying to determine how to wire everything in order to get enough power to the fan, or be able to adjust the voltage. The network limitations of our workspace also made it somewhat difficult to set up an ideal environment for all of our interacting components, and in the end some later features had to be cut to accommodate this.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
The integration of the hardware to the web server interface was one that allowed us to get a lot done rapidly, and so it's a proud corner of the project. Being able to control the fan through standard internet protocols made implementation of means of control such as the Android app.
What we learned
In the process of working on the circuit design for this project, both of our team members had to learn a lot about hardware details we had little experience with before, such as the finer points of transistor functionality. For the creator of our mobile app, this was a first in Android development, and the experience gained it will be invaluable for future projects.
What's next for Pi Fan
Automated temperature control! Be able to adjust the fan speed automatically based on user temperature preferences. Google Home integration! Unfortunately, due to the wifi needs of the Google Home, we weren't able to set it up at this event, but being able to turn on the fan through voice control will be a future feature.