When seeking limited resources, such as a parking spot, washer/dryer in a laundromat/dorm, or desk in a library, tracking down the resource and checking its availability can be anything from a minor nuisance to a time drain on the magnitude of hours. The power of the Internet Of Things can allow users to check all of this easily and quickly.
What it does
The variety of distance, temperature, humidity, pressure, and infrared sensors transmit signals to a local machine via Bluetooth. After relaying interpretations of those signals to a database and an Initial State Data Bucket, the user can check availability of spaces on our website. Moreover, users and administrators can view a dashboard to see current traffic, traffic over time, apparent temperature, and other descriptive statistics about the room to plan optimizations to the flow of traffic. This insight would be impossible without real-time data from continuously running sensors and is very convenient to use.
We have two distance sensors that can detect people sitting at desks, parked cars, etc. and tell the user which spaces are open via the website and dashboard. We also detect apparent temperature and overall traffic of the room.
Two strain gauges can be placed in elevators to determine if it is quicker to take the stairs or the elevator. A strain gauge could also function as a pressure pad in a hallway to measure foot traffic through a specific point.
The Initial State API allows the user not only to see the current state of floors and rooms in a building, but also a graph of the history of the conditions so that the user can have a more informed experience.
This system would be excellent for planners at events like hackathons where there is limited space. Hackers could freely stake out space while automatically letting everyone who has access to the web app know what spots they have claimed, saving time.
How I built it
The sensors are connected to Arduino nano boards and transmit signals via Bluetooth. A local machine running a Python script and multiprocceses continuously listen for all signals to send to a database and the Initial State API. A website allows users to quickly view available spaces and the dashboard. They can also submit pictures to know exactly which space is occupied/available.
Challenges I ran into
Calibrating the specificity of the distance sensors was an arduous trial and error process because they react differently with the Bluetooth module and can interfere with one another.
What I learned
The team learned about the workflow of a project like this and how to incorporate API’s like Initial State’s into their project.
What's next for Smart Sensors
If we were to continue this project we would add different types of sensors to collect more data about conditions. We would also improve on how occupied spots our sensed so that we could have better accuracy.