4. Discussion

Key Findings

In conclusion, we have found the following:

a) If the shelter extends to fast, it will weaken the joints of the shelter to the box.

b) Our constructed wooden box was strong enought to withstand the kinetic energy generated by the motor.
c) The Raspberry Pi could only stream the picture frame by frame, thus not being very clear and not fluid.

Explanation of key findings

a) When the shelter is programmed to extend within 0.4 seconds, it cause the whole box to shake because there was too fast. It also loosen some joints that connect the shelter with the box. Therefore, it resulted in a less sturdy structure.

b) The wooden box we constructed was strong enought to withstand the kinetic energy from the motor. The box did not break and there were no signs of cracks when the shelter extended and retracted too fast. We glued the wooden planks and nailed them to form the box for the shelter.

c) Due to the camera module's limitations, the Raspberry Pi could only stream video frame by frame. This results to unclear recording if the camera module continues to move a lot.

Evaluation of Engineering Goals

We are able to achieve our engineering goals but not all specific requirements. We are able to construct a rain shelter that is controlled by a phone, using only metal bars, wooden planks, canvas sheets and wiring kits. The shelter can also retract at the flip of the button.

However, we are not able to achieve the following:

a) Check the sky conditions via the camera module when the user is far away/not at home.
b) Operate the shelter when the user is far away/not at home.

Areas for Improvement

The shelter can only be activated via a smartphone or tablet over bluetooth. Bluetooth can only function when both devices are within close proximity of one another. This becomes a problem as the user has to be near the shelter in order to activate it.
We can solve this problem by using a Raspberry Pi instead of an arduino and we could connect the Raspberry Pi to the internet to be controlled over the web.

Another problem we are facing is the camera module on the Raspberry Pi. It can only be viewed through the same internet connection(best used on wifi), thus another computer has to be connected to the same internet connection. Thus the user can only view from the camera when his or her computer is connected to the same network as the Raspberry Pi and it’s camera module.

We can solve this problem by using a different camera that can be connected to the internet and viewed over IP Address, another alternative is to use a different software than the one we are currently using so as to achieve better usability & convenience. The camera module of the Raspberry Pi also takes still images at 640X480 which is quite low considering the day & age we are living in. And since it is still images, the live stream's fluency is lacking thus viewing experience might be undesirable due to blowing winds which might cause the camera to take blurry images, and resolutions low that zooming in might not be possible or helpful to user. Images that turn out blur might also not allow users to view images properly & they might not be able to distinguish the rain from the blur of the images.

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