over 7 years ago by darknight

Which problem are you trying to solve?

-Electronics and computer skills are required to build an IoT system
-these field are too difficult for beginners and
-existing products present several limitations

How are you going to solve the problem?

design a prototyping platform that is:
-low cost
-easy to use on the HW & SW scale
-adequate for beginners and
-compatible with Android

What is the impact of your project?

the proposed solution can help students, beginners and children to learn the basic concepts of electronics and computer
science and stimulate their curiosity to build Iot systems prototypes

How can the project be manufactured in the OpenLab?

build a shield that allows to easily connect HW modules together without needing technical knowedge in electronics

Describe your project in detail

In this project, we aim to design a prototyping platform for Hardware (HW) and Software (SW). Several works were done in
order to whether simplify the process of creating electrical systems or program them, but they whether focus on HW or SW
only, and they can be expensive.
The particularity of this platform is its ease of use: non-experts and children will
be able to create functional electronic systems and program them without necessarily having a background in Electronics
or Computer Science. It is also cheap since it exploit existing components such as the smartphone.
This prototyping
platform can be used in the fields:
• Our prototyping platform offers reusable HW modules with an easy to use
programming interface that allows these non-IT industries to create low-cost functional prototypes quickly and

• Education: with children being able to create electrical systems and programming them, our prototyping platform can
be a potential candidate for use as educational tools in schools and universities to initiate students to the basics of
electronics and computer science.
In this project we aim to design HW modules that can be inter-connected without
worrying about the current polarity, these modules can be reused several time to reduce prototyping costs. The brain
part of the system is based on a microcontroller. We choose to use the electrical board IOIO since it can be controlled
by Android, which is present on the majority of today’s smartphones.
For the SW side of the platform, we consider
using App Inventor, a SW platform that allows the easy creation of Android Apps. However, by default, this platform does
not provide support for IOIO commands. The task consists of integrating these commands into App Inventor, first by
developing a middleware to link the board with the platform, and then we aim include this feature directly inside App
**Research Objectives and Significance
The ultimate objective of Internet of Things IoT is to make humans life
as comfortable as possible, by making technology so easy to use that it can fade in the background. So several efforts
are made to leverage the abstraction level in different fields and make the technology more accessible for everyone and
easier to use.
Among these fields, we cite the industry. Tech industries are more or less concerned by the IoT
revolution but the traditional & non-IT industries can benefit a lot from IoT: phones became smart, houses are
becoming smarts, even traditional objects like thermostats can become smart too. All what is required is a prototyping
stage to test a new idea, validate and implement it into the existing product to generate a better one. However, few
industries are willing to take the jump, primarily because such traditional industries lack the necessary expertise in
electronics and programming, and in addition, producing a custom made prototype can be very costly. So supposing that
achieving a final form can require a transition of thousands of prototypes and dozen of years like James Dyson vacuum, a
company finds itself taking a huge risk spending millions of dollars over something that may not work. This discourages
such companies from just thinking about it.
Another field where efforts are focused on is education, especially
electronics and Computer Science. In fact, it is believed that coding skills are the future and several initiatives have
been made to initiate kids to the basics concepts of programming at an early age. Since IoT involves dealing with
Hardware, the efforts have focused also on making electronics more appealing to beginners and children to develop
robotic systems. Some of these efforts began as PhD researches and evolved as a hardware startup. However, HW companies
are very difficult to fund and gain profit. It can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover the mass production
expenses and the minimum target market that is required to make up for these expenses is rarely met. Another problem is
the particularity of each product, some of them are HW based only, some are SW based only, which makes it difficult to
have a perfect combination of a production that is both HW & SW based and is easy to use and cheap at the same
The objectives of this project are manifested in two fields:
- At the industry scale: we want to limit the skills
gap in the industry by providing a prototyping platform that is easy to use and requires no technical knowledge in
electronics and Computer Science. This way, non-IT industries such as furniture, can test new ideas to implement
electrical systems in their products like the Panasonic massage chair [2]. And thanks to the modularity of the HW
components, the same component can be used over and over again for different systems, reducing therefore the prototyping
costs and encouraging such industries to make more experiments and come with newer and more innovative ideas
- At the
education scale: the complexity of electronics and CS make it impossible for kids to enter these field and develop
electrical system and IoT devices, we intend to eliminate these complexities via the proposed prototyping platform.
order to create a robotic system, the first step to validate the concept is by developing a functional prototype.
However, this step seems to be very expensive especially when considering the cost for electrical components and also
licenses for necessary software. In this context, we try to create a prototyping platform that is accessible for users
with limited knowledge about electronics and computers. Therefore, a larger audience can test their ideas for IoT
systems and even make a contribution.
When considering the hardware required to create a prototype, if a user purchases
modules for touch screen, sensors, microcontroller etc, the total cost is around hundreds of dollars, but, all this
hardware exist already: even old, smartphones represent a good computing power and integrate a lot of sensors. It is
worth exploiting the available hardware for testing prototypes. Such a usage gives a new life to old smartphones, it is
eco-friendly since it reduces the problem of recycling and toxic wastes, and it financially better since the user
doesn’t need to purchase costly components separately: the system is based on recycled smartphone. We consider using
App Inventor as the SW side of our prototyping platform.


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