The inside of the suitcase, showing the Arduino, breadboard, ESP8266, and the servo that acts as a suitcase lock.
Outside view of suitcase
Arduino with breadboard
When suitcase is closed the servo lock will block the latch on the door, preventing the suitcase door from opening.
Mechanical locks are both difficult to open and limited by the size of the combination, yet easily broken into. People may forget or lose their keys, but everybody has smartphones. We aimed to create an IoT device that is more intelligent and compatible with wifi devices. The majority of microprocessors are too big to be able to be embedded in everyday devices. But the hackboard ESP8266 is small enough to empower our project.
What it does -
Clients like iPhones and laptops can connect wirelessly to the ESP8266 Hackerboard by locally using wifi. They can log onto a webpage to give lock or unlock commands. When in contact with a home or "safe" wifi, the lock automatically opens and an email is sent. This is possible because the hackerboard can be both a client and webserver at the same time. It has the unique capability to create its own wifi network/access point, enabling it to host webpages on it and log into email accounts to send emails.
How we built it -
We linked a ESP to Arduino UNO microcontroller by serial communication, which controls the servo. All three, microprocessor, microcontroller, and servo, are powered by a 6volt battery pack of four AA batteries. This only the physical form. But majority of technical work went into the hackerboard programming, which has firmware overwritten with C based code. This hackerboard has its own separate code from the arduino uno. It first checks the local area wifi networks around it to search for the home network. If it does not find home, then it will generate its own wifi network for clients to log in and securely connect to. All these functions come from a hackerboard the size of my thumb.
Challenges we ran into -
The ESP Module overheating, battery voltage not sufficient for the servo, and sending information between the Arduino uno and the hackboard in binary. The Hackerboard runs on a 3.3v source, while the Arduino Uno runs on a 5+volt power source. Communication between the two is inherently difficult. Also, the hackerboard has processing limitations that limit the size, number and utility of our webpages.
Accomplishments that we're proud of -
Staying up for a whole night carving out used cardboard boxes at the EECS. The whole day we spent inside figuring out
What we learned -
How to format create html websites. A ton of arduino code, and everything about client and server based wifi communication. Using an ESP8266 to navigate web requests to send emails required protocols we have never thought relevant.
What's next forThe Keyless Wifi Lock -
A official product. Now that the concept works, we can apply use to it in the real life and increase commonplace lock security. More additions can make the project finally consumer ready. One day, the hackerboard will be able to connect to public networks (not just one home network) without passwords to host webpages and send emails too. We will eventually expand the webpage to be able to reset passwords, emails, and insert data through text boxes.