It all started with a Google Science Fair project. We were using photoresistors to measure the logarithmic properties of light and we ran into one issue. Connected this photoresistor (and microcontroller) to the Internet in real-time with graphing. Instead we had to settle for using Google Spreadsheets. We were suddenly reminded of this when started doing labs in physics class. Here we were presented with a solution to our problems, LabQuest. While the system worked well, not only did it not support photoresistor, but it was over $300 for just the base! As hackingEDU came up, we set our goal to be to alleviate this problem.
What it does
senseN (pronounced "sense to the n") aims to solve two problems. 1) Even though technology has become cheaper and cheaper, access to this cutting edge of technology becomes more and more expensive and often less intuitive. senseN provides a cheaper and more reasonable solution to the sensors required for class room and individual experience. senseN facilitates teachers to simplify the lab process, allowing teachers to set up labs and both students and teachers to quickly download lab info. 2) senseN, unlike the systems that are available today, is able to cater to both the technologically advanced and those that just want a simple interface. senseN allows the user to use an advanced Python SDK on Raspberry Pi that allows them to use the multitude of sensors available off-the-shelf or the user can access a Java and Swift SDK to implement their own apps into the system. Check out this link to see our iOS app connecting to a Java version of Flappy Bird. One the other hand the user can use simple premade hot switch enabled analog and digital sensors on the Raspberry Pi and our iOS app which outputs accelerometer data to a live graph
How we built it
Raspberry Pi: We built an abstracted SDK which allows users send data to the web interface, and focus on the data, not getting the data to the web. Here in one line of code we start a live stream of data that is read from an Analog to Digital converter and is hot-switchable
sensen.report.Run(sensen.sensor.Readadc.port_one, "%", "Analog 1") Hardware: We divided our hardware into Analog and Digital. Using molex connectors we created an easy modular connect system which allows us and user to quickly and easily connect sensor to the Raspberry Pi using a standard 3-pin connector. Using this system we created light, temperature, and force sensor modules, but it can be easily connected to off-the self and custom sensors. iOS SDK/Application: We chose iOS for one of our devices because they are many in number and they have advanced sensor built into them. We used Firebase to live stream the iPhone's accelerometer data and make it accessible to our web interface and 3rd party applications. Measuring in Newton's of force we were able to 15 data updates per second. Web Interface: When building the web interface, we wanted to make sure that it was easy for non-technical people to use while still providing the capabilities that professionals need. We also wanted to provide a classroom oriented system which would be easy to manage and use for both teachers and students.
Challenges we ran into
The biggest challenge that we ran into was the lack of Internet, but while it made it harder to implement our design we overcame it by dividing our project up into offline tasks
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We are most proud of the modularity of our service. Although we did not go into the hackathon thinking about creating iOS and Java applications, our server and database was able to handle multiple data inputs so we were able to build on multiple platforms.
What we learned
The biggest thing we learned was through our experience in creating a multi-platform application. We learned that we had to use SDKs for aiding in the usage of our code across platforms.
What's next for senseN
The next step for senseN is to add more platforms and sensors. Additionally, we would want to partner with schools to both refine our product and help them.