A lot of students, including our fellow members, have and complain about the experience of not being able to find a seat during rush hours of the library or exam week. It is irritating to walk around the whole library for a few minutes and leave because we could not find a seat. Thus, we concluded that it would be a great help if students know how crowded the library is and avoid coming to the library if there is no seat left. We do this through a website to show the availability of each floor in the library as a reference for students to find a seat they want in a timely fashion.
What it does
The website provides real-time availability of the library. It is connected to the wifi in the library and students would go through a simple login process before the wifi connection is established. Once students enter the library and find an open seat, wifi is connected automatically and a popup window will appear asking students to log in with their netID and seat number that could be found in the corner of each table. Once the information is uploaded, the system will check against its existing data to make sure a seat is not taken by two students at the same time and more than a seat is taken by the same students. Once the system confirms the information, it will change the availability of that seat. When it shows up on the website, the color of that seat would change from green to red to show that it is now occupied. When students leave the library, the wifi automatically disconnects. The system would detect it as a log out to the system and the seats would turn back to green accordingly.
How we built it
We utilized Python extensively to generate a simulation of our website that shows the availability in a floor plan and the popup window that would appear as students are connected to wifi.
Challenges we ran into
We have three members in our team, but none of us has extensive coding experience. The coding languages we know are all different and very limited. We have to learn from online tutorials to perform certain actions as we were coding. On the other hand, we had a hard time deciding our topic.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are very proud of our solutions to the problem. We believe that the idea could fit in most of the universities throughout the countries and some companies with lots of employees might also find it useful. We are also proud of creating a system that gives a good simulation to our solution in python as we had to learn everything along the way.
What we learned
This is our first time participating in a hackathon. We learned the basics of Python. We gained experience at Hackathon.
What's next for SeatU --- a Library Seat Tracker
After our work in hackNYU, we plan to work with the I.T department so that our code could implement the data received from the library wifi. We also plan to implement the actual library floor plan on our website with other useful functions such as reservation of individual seats during the final week, focus assist, and an anonymous leaderboard of time spent in the library. We will also work with the library to put up our real-time availability chart around the library so that students could look for a seat more easily. If we are able to complete all our plans, we could make an app to replace our website.