EW Project 3: Smarter Planet

So we were given the brief for this IBM Smarter Planet Project. To begin with we were pretty confident about this. Pretty quickly coming up with the idea of using Arduino to remotely control volume of an Hi-Fi. However this was very quickly dismissed once we further understood the scope of the project, and how this didn't really fit the brief. We struggled pretty hard for the rest of the session to come up with a viable project. Instead making a Heliduino:



The tutorial portion of the workshop was pretty cool. Chris Hunt and the IBM lads were showing us how to use Node Red, an IBM developed open-source webapp that lets you take inputs, manipulate them and connect them to outputs. Really simple concept, and pretty well implemented. I learned quickly how this Node Red thing worked, and it was pretty cool as it was based on Node JS, which is something I'm keen on learning anyway.

We all met up in the next session where we struggled just as much to come up with ideas. We thought about things we could use ourselves, and what would make our lives more convenient. The first thing we came up with was a sort of bar/club networking system with an online webapp thingy which displays all the local clubs and pubs. Each venue is monitored using various sensors which send data back to our server. The server then outputs a map of all the clubs around the area and lets you know which ones are more active, the words "hip n' happening" were thrown around. We hit a wall when we tried to figure out a reliable way to implement this. thinking of humidity, motion and noise sensors to measure sweat, dancing and noise levels respectively. However the reliability of these readings would be very questionable. 

While we were in discussion Chris mentioned phrase 'waste of space' and instantly there was a gleam in my eyes as I blurted out "I don't even care what our project is, we have to call it Waste of Space". We discussed a few different ideas, but eventually the idea evolved into the smartbin.

The idea was to have two bins next to each other. One for general waste, and one for recycling. The system would work out the proportionate difference in the amount of waste to the amount of recycling. This would product a recycling to waste ratio. Using maths this would be turned into a arbitrary score.

These bins would be distributed amongst companies that have opted into the Waste of Space scheme and their score would appear on a leaderboard. The reason we used ratio opposed to straight up 'amount of recycling' is that it's proportionate. Large companies within the system would automatically be higher on the leaderboard. Using ratio would give equal opportunities to large and small companies alike, as it would just establish how much you recycle proportionate to your total waste. Ideally being higher in the leaderboard would give the respective company rewards, such as tax breaks.   


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