Recently the first edition of the R-IoT games took place. Realdolmen organized this hackathon for all Flemish-speaking colleges, universities and training centers. The challenge of the competition: ‘Make our society a better place with the help of IoT’. 4 students of the University of Ghent took on this challenge and composed a team as T.Inc with their project called ‘Bin Possible’. They reached out to Proximus for support.
“For the IoT project we had the idea to develop a module to detect smoke inside of trash bins.” Trash bins catching fire is a common phenomenon. The fire arises due to cigarettes being thrown in or by vandalism. “We dug into statistics of this phenomenon in The Netherlands and found some interesting results. Apparently, every year 12000 trash bins catch fire of which 4000 caused by vandalism.”
“With a starters kit provided by Proximus we started creating the module. The kit included a solar panel, a battery and lots of sensors”. The team used a Sodaq Mbili data acquisition board to connect the LoRa modem, a smoke sensor, a solar panel and a battery. The solar panel collects energy during the day to charge the battery that takes over at night.
As a bridge between the devices and their own application T.Inc used different assets available on the EnCo platform such as EnCo CloudEngine.
How it works
When smoke gets detected inside a bin a call is sent to the platform. CloudEngine handles the request and executes some defined actions. It sends an SMS to a team member and makes a HTTP POST request to the team’s webserver. Those requests get saved in a json file to hold on to the statistics and to show if a trash bin is in critical state. “The platform is great, as it allows us to build IoT projects without any network experience”.
To visualize everything, the team built a web platform that gives an overview of the tracked trash bins indicated on a map. You can either hard-code the location of the bin or choose to place a GPS module inside in case of theft.
But the application allows you to get more information than just that. When you click on a certain trash bin, it gives you a chronological status overview of smoke detection. The data coming from CloudEngine that is collected in the json file, gets visualized into a graph that allows you to anticipate and draw conclusions. By checking the requests within a certain timeframe, we can analyse whether the situation gets critical or not.
“During the challenge we were focused on Smart Cities, but our solution can be used at many different locations like company sites, museums, theme parks,…”. The team has some future plans with their solution as well:
- Multiple trash bins could be placed on a map on the homepage. This way you can have a beautiful overview of the situation. You can see live which trash bins need your attention.
- Measuring the content of the trash bin. This way you know of a trash bin is almost full or not. The data you can retrieve is very interesting to know which trash cans are faster occupied or not. Maybe you need a bigger trash bin, or you need to place more trash bins in the neighborhood?
- Making the module available for multiple industries. We can also measure gas or chemical substances.
The team’s work paid off as they won second place in the R-IoT Games. Congratulations guys! “We are thankful to Proximus EnCo to help us develop our ideas. We’re convinced that the LoRa network is a unique opportunity in Belgium for everyone who has an IoT related idea. And with the possibility to use the Enco platform it is easy to send and process any sensor data.”
Would you like to set up your own IoT project after reading this? Don’t hesitate to contact us for support.
Read more about Proximus EnCo CloudEngine here and discover the latest features we’ve added to the module.
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