Bees are amazing creatures. We wanted to create a fun game that made people excited about bees. There were some Technical challenges that we solved with the help of crypto-currencies.
What it does
There is a central hive in the building where new bees (users with smartphones) join it and then explore the area for flowers where they can collect pollen. The flowers only have a limited amount of pollen that they slowly generate over time. The bees collect the pollen using their smartphone and deposit it in the hive where their score is recorded.
How we built it
We build the flowers using esp8266 as individual routers. They indicate the amount of pollen they contain by the brightness of LEDs. After the user collects the pollen, an authenticated token is stored in their browser which can be deposited in the hive. After returning and connecting with the hive, the user deposits the token which is authenticated, invalidated and the user score incremented. A leader board is then displayed where the users can observe their score.
Challenges we ran into
Since the process involves a lot of wifi AP switching, the users has to be automatically redirected to the correct url. We tried to accomplish this by capturing and rerouting the DNS requests. Unfortunately most phone requests are HTTPS which block this kind of DNS capture. We also had to figure out a way to implement the crypto hash on the esp8266.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We manage to make portable flower hotspots that can generate authenticated tokens that don't rely on a centralized connection server. The user interface has a switch between a 90s theme and a modern look.
What we learned
We learned how to generate crypto hashes on the esp8266, how the DNS capture portals are implemented and what their limitations are. We also learned about the problems in implementing secure decentralized applications and the problems related to wifi based games.
What's next for Pollen Mining a.k.a BeeCoin™
We would like people to join in and play this amazing game in order to get a bit of exercise after siting at the computers for such a long time. The project could be extended to implement the act of moving pollen as a proof of work function for our alternative crypto currency BeeCoin™.