Goals, implementation and the challenges they faced. Participants to the Stabiplan Hackathon 2016 have described in detail the projects they've been working on.
Smart Park IoT
The goal of the project was to facilitate the transport of different small objects (documents, cups, etc.) between company employees.
The project is mainly represented by an Arduino-based robot constructed upon a pre-built tank chassis that along with multiple sensors would physically transport objects between employees. There is also a software component to this project divided into three main parts:
The hardware side of the project is built using a tank chassis (tracks instead of wheels used for easier on-the-spot rotations) containing four powerful engines, an Arduino Mega as its brain and multiple sensors and inputs such as an ultrasonic sensor, two buttons (for confirmations and cancellations), two optical mouse sensors (used for measuring traveled distance) and a LED display used for showing useful information to employees.
The software component uses ASP.NET MVC 5 with Bootstrap for the Statistics & Status Website, ASP.NET Web API for the server used for communication between the robot and the database, MS SQL 2012 for the database, Windows Forms for the desktop application and Xamarin with Visual Studio 2015 for the Android application.
The initial idea and plans were quite big for only 24 hours at our disposal, but in the end we had the entire solution with a total of 8 projects at almost 90% completion. The main issue that delayed the project up to leaving it unfinished was caused by Wi-Fi adapters that either refused to function or were not good enough for what we intended to do. After switching through several different adapters, we ended up with one that worked as we wanted it to, but in the end it was too late.
We came into this Hackathon being slightly unsure whether we would be able to finish it in time or not, but hopeful and motivated at the same time, and even though in the end the project did not fulfill the requirements that we offered, we actually completed the long part of the project and the implementation is there. Had we not encountered such technical difficulties, DELTA would now be riding around our office.
Since a few months we have two parking lots at our Stabiplan office in Bodegraven: P1 and P2. P2 is a little bit further away from the office than P1, so most colleagues prefer to park their car on P1. To get people to use the P2 parking lot, the management team introduced a rule that employees need to park on either P1, or P2, depending on their date of birth. For example: all employees born in November or December, have to park their car at P2 during November and December. Our Hackathon goal was to provide a better solution: a smart parking system that automatically sends employees to P2 when P1 is full.
We’ve made a scale model of the Stabiplan office in Bodegraven, with parking places next to it (illustrating P1 and P2). Each parking place is equipped with an ultrasonic sensor, which is used to identify whether or not the place is free or occupied. The status of all parking places can be monitored using a website. We’ve also made an application which can be shown on a monitor at the entrance of P1. When P1 is full, this application will redirect employees to P2.
For this Hackathon project, we’ve created a server application that gets triggered when the status of a parking place changes. This is done using REST requests in Web API. The server application also has a front-side webpage which shows the actual status of the parking places using ASP.NET MVC. To read the status from the ultrasonic sensors and send the status changes to the webserver, we’ve used two techniques. Four ultrasonic sensors were connected with a ESP8266 Wifi board, which is comparable with an Arduino. This technique could be used for P1, which is next to our office building and has Wifi coverage. For P2, which is further away, we had to use another technique. For this, we’ve used TD’1208R boards from TD next. These boards are able to send out messages using the IoT network from Sigfox. This IoT network allows devices to send small messages (up to 12 bytes), with a maximum of 140 messages per day. One big advantage of such an IoT network is that the communication requires only a low amount of energy. Depending on the application, these sensors can run for several years on a single battery.
The most challenging were the TD’1208R boards; we flashed them using a USB-to-serial cable. When we flashed our software on these boards, also the bootloader was overwritten in this process. But occasionally the flash process resulted in an error and the board was bricked, because the bootloader was corrupted. We had one working TD’1208R board left, but unfortunately we didn’t manage to read the status of the ultrasonic sensor successfully. So during our presentation, we could only show the parking places which were monitored by the ESP8266 Wifi board.
For us, as software guys, we got quite far in connecting the ultrasonic sensors with the different boards. This was not a trivial task; because the sensors and boards were using different voltages, we had to create small circuits using resistors to lower the voltage coming from the sensors. And despite the fact we didn’t get the IoT solution working, we did manage to get a working prototype using the Wifi solution, including real sensors, a real backend webservice and a monitor that can be placed at the entrance. And all of that in only 24 hours!
The system helps the user identify foreign cars in the private parking place. The user will take a photo/video of car using the drone (from mobile app) and it will receive an alert if the car is foreign.
Hello human, I'm STABIMAN.
I'm a robot made out of pipes and integrated circuits. I cannot move because I'm too heavy, and I don't have a voice.
My brain is in the cloud and I have smart eyes. You can look into my eyes and read my mind.
I don't have a heart, but even so, I love Stabiplan. Every time when a task is put on done I get happy and notify everyone about this by shining a light. I also get sad and notify this through a sprinkler attached to one of my hands.
Additionally, I have my own agenda, so every time when you pass by me I can let you know about new things happening in Stabiplan (e.g. birthdays, new events, etc)
My place is on the front desk to let everyone know about what great things we do here.