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I heard about the Hong Kong PolyU GDSC hosting a hackathon through a friend studying there and was immediately interested. After the global Pandemic, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to express one's creativity while being remote and safe. Thus, I registered for the hackathon and soon enough got the problem statements.
There were nine in total: three from IoT/smart-city, three from Blockchain, and three from Fintech.
My preferred Problem statement was from IoT:
“How might we leverage IoT technology to improve the booking systems of public sports facilities? Design a system to aid both the public members who use the services and the facility administrators that manage the facilities.”
The second I read this statement; it gave me so many ideas to explore so it was an easy decision at the time.
My first instinct was an App + Locker combo to help with the storage and dispensing of sports goods and equipment like Tennis balls or basketballs etc. However, when I started researching heavily into how that would be possible, it dawned on me that the same technology can be used as effectively, if not more, for the actual access to the sports facilities in the first place. This is what sparked the creation of BookMySport.
BookMysport as a business aims to build a platform to search, book, and access your sport facility needs at your flexibility.
This is done with the help of an App for the user and an IoT device at the facility for the Managers.
The functionality behind the combo would be to:
- Eliminate searching on different unreliable websites to book a sports ground, the aim is to have a unified platform to safely search for the sports facility you need!
- Eliminate the lack of flexibility, our system offers almost 24 hours of potential operation per day which also maximizes revenue for the managers of the sports facilities!
- Eliminate the need for copious amounts of staff for a multi-sports complex, we have completely automated the access and sign-out of users according to their booking times. No longer would any user be stranded with their booking just because there were not enough staff on-site!
The prototype Products themselves are in two parts.
Note that this is an extremely basic prototype and just has some basic functionalities, added to display the vision instead of giving a true representation of how this product could be.
- Search for close available sports facilities
- Manage their bookings and timings
- Book at their own convenience
Underlying Technology: The App is built using Dart on the flutter framework allowing us to have cross-platform applications for all users and seamless UI functionalities. Apart from that, we are using a free-to-use custom API provider to connect our actions to the app and IoT device.
The IoT Device
Automates and secures the check-in process and manages equipment effectively. Lets users enter and exit the facility according to their booking without any human interaction required.
The loT device has three main components:
The Solenoid used to lock or unlock the entrance depending on the state of the booking
The Relay: used to power the solenoid when needed.
And the Wi-Fi-enabled Microprocessor board that connects our device to the internet.
Underlying technology: For the physical device, I use a NodeMCU esp8266 which is a hobby-grade Wi-Fi module with a built-in microprocessor along with a Solenoid lock and a matching relay module to run it. Programmed using the Arduino IDE, it uses the Wi-Fi module to call the Thingspeak API (a free-to-use custom API service)
Apart from this, I 3D printed an enclosure to make sure everything was seated correctly and looked a little better too.
Currently, the combination of these two works something like this:
At the moment, the app has a considerably basic Mock product page with most of the elements here being placeholders. then if we navigate this to the booking page, it just has a book now button instead of the date confirmation and payment pages that it would have had in the full product. Then it just leads us to the lock/unlock page which usually would not activate until the booking time has started or ended, but as of right now it comes up as standard. If we press the unlock button, we can see that with a short delay the solenoid on the physical device opens, unlocking the door for us to use and a countdown starts on the phone. The time of the count down here has been shortened for time's sake but at the end of the countdown, the solenoid automatically closes again locking the facility entrance.
All the Code and other digital files are displayed here:https://github.com/DragonDonut/BookMySport
At the end of the Hackathon, I was fortunate enough to win two prizes for my project and I cannot wait to explore this idea further!
Loads of thanks to all the sponsors of Polyhack as well as the organizers for a great event and some wonderful opportunities to meet industry leaders as well as bright peers to nurture our future networking.