We all realized how after Q-week we weren't naturally going to the lounge to hang out with each other, but if we saw someone else there, we would often go in. It occurred to us that if we could have a way of seeing who was in the lounge without having to go up 2 to 4 flights of stair (as some of use have to), we would all end up hanging out more. This design came from the idea to encourage ourselves to spend more time together, and by being something we can all work on - it is doing just that.
What it does
Essentially, each person would have a switch which down indicates they are not in the lounge, but when they arrive they will have to flip their switch up to hang their face mask on it. A down switch can't hold a mask. Therefore whenever someone is in the lounge their switch will be up. Then the board that the switches are connected to sends out a signal to the 6 receiver boards, one in each person's room. The receiver boards then light up the LEDs corresponding to whichever switches are flipped. Note, there is one button, because one group member just loves buttons. This will be slightly more challenging, but we are excited about having a reach goal.
What we learned
We hope to learn a lot through this project. The people working on coding the microcontrollers are extending themselves to do a more challenging task than they've worked on before, so this should be an excellent learning experience. For those of us working on the materials side, we hope to improve our skills with hand tools and pleasing design.
Building this notification system required 3 main components: physical assembly, code for the signal sender, and code for the signal receivers. We used Adafruit Feathers to send radio signals throughout the building using LoRa at 900 MHz. The programming was done using a breadboard to test the communication between the microcontrollers. The first step was getting the radios to talk to each other and just send updates every second. The next was to send the specific information of whether the switches were in their up or down positions. We did end up learning a lot through this project and we are excited to continue improving our work.