A member of our team is doing a research project for Hughes High School. Many of the teachers at Hughes High School have bemoaned the fact that when they try to print classwork to the printers, they arrive at the printer to find that the printer is jammed, out of ink, or our of paper. The teacher must then walk all the way to the secretary's office to notify the secretary that there is something wrong with the printer.

What it does

Our project makes teachers' lives easier by removing the need for teachers to walk all the way to the secretary's office whenever the printer is down. This allows teachers to be more productive by spending that time focusing on their students and their lesson plans. There are 5 printers in Hughes High School and each printer would have it's own Dash button. When the button is pressed a special message denoting which button was pressed and how it was pressed would be sent to the recipient. In this case, the recipient is the secretary at Hughes High School, but in other cases it may be the building's services manager or inventory manager.

Short = Printer is jammed

Long = Printer is out of ink

Double = Printer is out of paper

How we built it

We configured the Amazon Dash buttons using an adhoc network. We then used Amazon's Lambda function to write a program that would send customized messages to the recipient depending on how one of the Dash buttons was pressed (short, long, double).


Challenges we ran into

A major challenge we ran into was in the initial set up and configuration of the Dash buttons. The IoT buttons aren't designed for WPA2 Enterprise Network and need a 2.4Ghz network. The Securewireless network is a WPA2 Enterprise Network and the UC Guest network makes a random username and password for each client, but that username and password is not accessible to the client. In order to get around this, we had tried to use various routers to get around the problem. However, those routers didn't work. We ended up setting up an adhoc network on one of our computers, but even that cuts-out a couple times an hour for reasons we have yet to identify.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're proud that we were able to experience all of the pillars of this hackathon: Build. Learn. Grow. We built a product that can be easily implemented at Hughes High School. We learned about Amazon's Web Services, JavaScript, and working with a team. We grew in our understanding of hackathons, the world of computer science, and consumer-based design. We're proud that we pushed through the initial configuration issues that we thought should've taken 30 minutes but ended up taking 5+ hours. We're proud to have participated in RevolutionUC 2017!

What we learned

We learned that AWS's instructions on the dash button could be more comprehensive. We learned about AWS's SNS, Lambda, IoT, Dynamo, and Javascript.

What's next for Printer Pal

We hope to add a feature that allows the recipient of the messages to respond saying they received the message and either the Dash button flashes a different LED color. We also hope to connect Printer Pal to an cloud print service so that this eliminates the need for someone to press the button entirely. Not only can this be implemented at all schools around the world, it can also be used in retail. For example, if an item is low or out of stock, customers can push the button to notify store employees that the product is low on inventory.

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