Having an accessible building is an important metric many architects and building administrators try to optimize. However, our team members have witnessed the societal inequity that still exists when going out with family members and other connections who have disabilities.
Our goal is to have a dual solution to the two problems every successful accessible building has to achieve. The first being able to track and manage who, when, and where people of disabilities are interacting with the building. The second is to provide amenities to assist and remedy some of the problems that might arise for their specific disability. We want SmarterTechHub to help to promote a more inclusive society that benefits all regardless of someones disability.
What it does
Our solution helps improve accessibility at a micro and macro level. We provide analytics and tooling that can help detect and notify where and when people of disabilities are using our service. Using alerts and a dashboard page we provide metrics that give a building administrator the tools to accurately map out the usage, needs, and patterns of people with disabilities. We can also send alerts during times of high stress, such as with large gatherings. Our hardware allows us to perform assistive services based on the disability. Services such as modifying temperature, automatically opening doors, text-to-speech for directions/signs and other services.
How we built it
Our project blends hardware and software. On the hardware side, we used technologies like RFID, Arduinos, voice to text hardware, and motors to showcase ways to better improve accessibility. Specifically, we used Neopixel ring for lighting, a simple speaker for audio signage, and Dht11 sensor for temperature and humidity.
On the software side, we used full-stack website development with technologies like ReactJS, Azure Services, Node to manage the different API’s and services we used. We used Google Cloud heavily to perform Computer Vision operations, Maps API, and Text-To-Speech processing. Radar.io was also heavily used for the location-based events and triggering the hardware when individuals enter a geofence.
Challenges we ran into
Radar.io was tricky to work with at the beginning since none of us had experienced with it. However, we were patient and persistent and quickly solve the problem and integrated it with out app.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We finished and submitted the project. Having so many hardware pieces we risked the possibility of one of the parts failing and the entire project becoming stalled. Thankfully, everyone on the team was able to do their piece and we were able to merge everything successfully without any problems.
What we learned
Promoting an inclusive society is important and there is no better way to do this than through technology. This was a meaningful project for all of us and we deeply cared about what we were building because we personally experienced these problems with people we know. We learned a lot about building assistive technology and how to create inclusive environments for all.
What's next for SmartAccess
We provided a great framework for future innovation. We would love to build more complicated and full-scale model hardware that can fully utilize all the amazing metrics and data we gathered.