Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fully Automated Toll Road with Ibeacons

Toll road projects is a big hit in the Philippines because it prevents people from constructing various commercial buildings along the roadside and provides an almost very convenient long distance driving but I think this is not true all the time. With huge number of vehicles of all sizes, there are times(especially during holidays when people go to their respective provinces)when these toll roads experience monstrous traffic gridlock and this goes on for almost a day. I could not imagine how I will be spending the whole day and night on the road!

 Here's a quote from a famous columnist(read the full article here):
Secondly, the tollgates at exit points simply cannot possibly serve the huge volume of vehicles even over a 48-hour period. The waiting time to pass through exit tollgates was as long as 45 minutes each time. (Traveling through the 3 expressways today means having to pay through 3 exit toll stations).
The columnist identified what has caused that monstrous traffic jam and that is the huge number of vehicles that could not be served by the toll plaza even on an over 48-hour period. But I think, this could have been avoided if 100% of these vehicles were equipped with ibeacons. And an app could have been developed to automatically deduct the toll fee right after the vehicle entered the toll road zone.

Ibeacons can be used not just to collect toll fees, it can also be used to monitor the speed of each vehicle. And the best part of it all is the erasure of the human factor that may also have caused that problem. Just imagine how you can enjoy travelling the whole year round with the beautiful view of the countryside as your background. This really should make life a lot pleasurable and enjoyable which is the main goal and motivation of every inventor.

Here a sample view at TPLEX(Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union):

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Miniaturized Arm Based Arduinos

For electronics projects where space and size really matters, a miniaturized arm based arduinos can be an excellent solution as it will definitely speed up development efforts especially during prototyping stage. My previous post which was about miniaturized arduinos does not offer much because those were just small arduino uno. What most hobbyist want and I would say an ideal tiny development board should at least be 40Mhz with huge rams and eeproms.

So I tried to search the web again to find arduinos having the above mentioned specs and to my surprise, I only found 1 and another tiny board almost qualified but then it is worth mentioning because of it unique features and it's a little bit more powerful than an ordinary arduino.

Teensy 3.1 is a small and is definitely a miniaturized arm based arduino. It uses the powerful MK20DX256 32 bit ARM Cortex-M4 72 MHz microcontroller and can be program in the arduino ide. The only feature that did not met my requirement is the small eeprom which is the standard 2kb, the manufacturer should have at least inluded an external eeprom ic to compensate for this lackness but overall, the teensy 3.1 will enable hobbyists develop a wide range of small but very powerful devices.
The other arm based arduino is small but is only 16Mhz (that's why it did not qualified) is the rfduino. What is nice about this tiny arduino module is having a bluetooth low energy module on board, this can also be used as an alternative ibeacon device or can be programmed to recieve ibeacon data. enablng other non-ble equipped devices to have the latest hardware in the market.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

My Mobile Application Idea using Ibeacons

Micro location devices such as ibeacons are getting the right attention nowadays because these devices can truly make huge events in a large venue interactive making the event more organized and more enjoyable.Still, quite a number of people still don't know what ibeacons can do and what it can do to help them save time or enhance their experience.

Currently, a lot of new app design ideas have been coming out and I would like to share mine. I am not an expert in mobile app development but I think the concept is viable and can really help people who loves shopping or going out to buy some hard to find items.

Here's my idea:
  1. Before I go out of the house, I will list down the items I am going to buy on the app.
  2. I proceed to the mall where each shop has active ibeacons.
  3. While I am inside the mall, I open the app showing the list I created.
  4. I click on an item and immediately, the app will tell me which shop sells the item.
  5. I click the shop that sells the item to give me the exact location and tells me if there is an on going sales discounts or they're giving away freebies.
  6. Assuming it is so far away, so I will just send a message to the shop owner to just send the product to my current location and I will just click the "pay" button to pay for the product using my paypal.
  7. I will just wait for the product to be delivered while enjoying a cup of coffee.
The list are just high level outline of my idea, if I would dig a little deeper into the features, I would probably add these items into the list:
  • The list of enumerated shops must include the selling price so I could decide immediately from which shop should I buy. 
  • The search algorithm I would use in determining which shop sells the item is keyword based. But it would be a lot simpler if I would tell all the shop owners to have similar product code. For example, I intend to buy a laptop which has i7 octacore cpu, ips touch screen of at least 11". I would also include my budget and ideal casing. The app should use the keywords "i7 octacore cpu" "ips touch screen" and 11".
  • If I click on a product, it would show the typical brochure-like screen filled with useful information and at the button several widgets that shows the related items, the "people who bought this item also bought the following items", reviews and feed backs.  

With this app, I don't have to go each and every shop just to ask them if they have the item I am looking for.
This app can really be very helpful especially when you have a project and you will start looking for the components you need and shops are located far from each other and not to mention the extremely humid weather.