Inspiration; what it does

Most devices are dumb. But what if we could turn any of the so many devices and appliances around us into smart devices that could talk to each other? Smart devices don't have to be bought - they can be made, and that's why we've created an easy way for people to smartify literally anything that can be plugged in and weave it (get it?) into a customizable system. Plug your appliance into our universal plug, and you can now control the device wirelessly. Pair it with any sensor (better yet, use one of ours!), and this device becomes smart!

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What we built

We developed a way to turn any "dumb" device smart by creating a smart plug that can be wireless controlled and monitored, a corpus of sensors that can be easily integrated to trigger certain actions, and an all-in-one interface to connect your devices in meaningful ways--from timers, to scheduling, to having your disco party start the moment you say "DISCO PARTY!", anything is possible.

How we built it

Hardware - Plug & Sensors

  • We hacked open a normal plug, rewired the electronics and connected them to a switch relay, and programmed an Arduino to open / close the relay switch upon receiving a signal wirelessly, and stuffed all of the parts nicely into our own 3D-printed case.
  • We also built a sample set of sensors - an ambient light sensor, and a voice recorder... and also a temperature sensor but we ran out of time :{ - using an Arduino, as well as a photoresistor and voice microphone respectively.

Software - Web Application & General-Purpose API

  • We then used Python, Flask, and Vue to build a web application and a general-purpose API to allow users to completely customize and connect various smart devices/sensors to their needs (e.g., turn a heater on when the temperature goes below 40F, light detection to turn on lights, or having a microphone listen for the word "DISCO PARTY" so the RGB lights and the disco ball turn on :D ).

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Challenges we ran into & what we learned

The first challenge was that none of us had built anything with Arduinos, nor done anything with electronics before. In addition to learning how to implement our own idea electrically, we had to quickly learn a lot, from electrical components and tools, to electrical safety, to sending information between components. But they were solvable issues - nothing that bursts of Googling couldn't fix. There was also an added challenge of troubleshooting across software and hardware. Troubleshooting across wireless connections was particularly complex as there were many possible sources of error while transmitting information. However, we managed to decompose our issues into smaller, more testable cases to isolate the problem.

Although these problems seemed huge especially under time pressure, eventually we saw that all these problems were very much solvable - we just had to systematically and incrementally tackle them, which along the way gave us many small victories to celebrate!

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  • We're super glad that we were able to create working prototypes for both the hardware and software aspects of our idea in 36 hours!
  • Rewiring a component to go into the mains was also something we're glad to have lived to tell the tale of.
  • Hearing the click of the relay switch instantly after clicking on the button on the web application was just so satisfying :).
  • Working together effectively and efficiently as a balanced team of mostly first-time hackers!
  • Having a worthwhile idea and working through it.

What's next for Woven

  • Incorporate Machine Learning / simpler Statistical Analysis methods to suggest action routines / suggestions.
  • Introduce other output types for our socket - USB, USB-C, etc..
  • Create a general purpose device that accepts sensor modules, to turn it into any type of wireless sensor.

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