Our group identified a major, daily pain point in Penn students’ lives: wasting time trying to find an unoccupied place to study. We are solving this problem using a network of Internet of Things sensors and a web app. Our solution will connect each study spot on campus to a sensor, which can detect whether a student is occupying it or not, and inform users where study spaces are available in real-time.
The web app, built on Ruby on Rails, shows students where spaces are available within specific buildings and rooms on campus. Students can create user accounts to keep track of their "favorites". The web app also collects data on the frequency and duration study spots are used which will be used to analyze the utility, popularity, and other metrics of study spots.
Each sensor is powered by a microcontroller called the Arduino MKR1000, a powerful board that has built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. The sensors are able to run on battery power and can be charged wirelessly using a Micro-USB Qi wireless charging receiver. Each study spot is mapped to an RFID chip which the sensor reads when placed on it, so any sensor can be placed on any study spot. These features allow facilities personnel to easily and seamlessly charge and swap out sensors.