Annex A - Group Research Proposal


Kok Shawn Yang Julian              S2-03
Kwa Jun Liang, Desmond           2014
Micah Sim Wei Ren
Haady Mattar                         Group A

Type of research:

[  ] Test a hypothesis: Hypothesis-driven research

[  ] Measure a value: Experimental research (I)

[  ] Measure a function or relationship: Experimental research (II)

[  ] Construct a model: Theoretical sciences and applied mathematics

[  ] Observational and exploratory research

[X] Improve a product or process: Industrial and applied research

Title of project
Development of an Intelligent Retractable Shelter

Problem Being Addressed
Many Singaporeans hang their wet clothes either in their yard or on bamboo poles. However, with Singapore’s unpredictable weather, people are not always around to prevent their clothes from getting wet. Thus, we are constructing an intelligent retractable shelter that can extend out to prevent clothes from getting wet. The shelter is both automatic and controllable from a smartphone or tablet.
 Engineering Goal

Our goal is to make an intelligent, semi-automated shelter that has the ability to detect incoming rain before it happens and extends itself to prevent clothes from getting wet.

The shelter has 3 built-in in sensors for ensured reliability, as well as an override control, accessible from a smartphone or tablet device.

There is also a camera mounted on top of the shelter that can be viewed from a phone, in case the sensors fail, you can override the shelter via a smartphone or tablet.

We are using an Arduino Kit, , and a Raspberry Pi to programme the shelter.
Specific Requirements
  • Must be controlled by a smartphone.
  • Must be able to operate
       a) automatically without the persons
       b)without the user at home
  • It must allow the user to check all the sky conditions when the user is not at home.

Alternative Solutions
Design 1

Our first design was to retract the bamboo poles automatically when it is raining. Motor modules will be attached to the bamboo poles and they will retract them and expand them in different situations.

There would be water sensors to detect rain. Electric Magnetic Field sensors and light sensor. These 3 sensors will be combined in a hybrid design to allow as much accuracy as possible.

An advantage is that there is minimal resources needed.

Unfortunately, a major disadvantage is that it is space wasting and extremely slow. Therefore it is not so feasible to implement this design.

Design 2
photo 1 (2).JPG

After further discussion, we came out with a second design. This time with a different approach to the solution. Now instead of retracting the bamboo poles, we will expand a shelter instead. We would use motor modules to bring the shelter indoors and outdoors. We still keep our hybrid sensor in the design.

A major advantage is that there are multiple way of attaching the shelter and therefore we can minimise space wastage in the homes of citizens.

A disadvantage is that it would be slow and we need to find a proper place to put the motor module.

Design 3:
photo 2 (3).JPG
For our 3rd design, we are able to delve deeper into different mechanics for retracting our shelter. As you can see from the picture, the mechanic is able to retract and compress into a smaller state. This way we are able to minimise space usage and make it more user friendly.

Above that, we decided to make it more intelligent. And we thought of not just using Arduino, but also an add on to it, namely the Annikken Andee. This allows wireless controls at our fingertips. This way we are able to allow greater ease and accessibility for our users.
photo 3 (2).JPG

Best Solution/Design and Reason:

Our best solution would be the 3rd design. Reason being, that it is able to minimise space usage. The add on of Annikken andee is able to make it more convenient and intelligent.

Delving into deeper details, we can separate our design into 3 aspects.

1. Mechanical Design

2. Programming

For our Mechanical Design, we (as talked about earlier) will use the easier retractable design. This design was adapted from a everyday use table lamp. We are able to easily find space to implement this design and the design is not a very complicated one.

For our Level of Programming, we will be using C programming language. As that is the supported language for Arduino.

Hence, we will use this design and project as our final one.

Diagram Of Setup

photo 5 (1).JPG

Information about our sensors:

➜Main Sensor/1st sensor:Electric field proximity Sensor.
This sensor will detect electric field in the atmosphere when rain is imminent. This way, we can detect the rain before it even starts and the sensor will trigger the shelter to extend, preventing the clothes from getting wet. It is also our first sensor in the circuit as it is the most reliable.

➜Second Sensor: Light Sensor.
It detects the amount of light & will intelligently extend the shelter when it gets darker than usual in the daytime, which suggests rain clouds approaching. It is our second sensor as it is the 2nd most reliable sensor in our circuit, and will activate if the 1st sensor fails to work properly.

➜Third Sensor: Water Sensor.
This sensor basically detects the presence of water. This sensor will be put at the highest point of the house. As soon as just a droplet of water falls on the sensor, it will trigger the shelter to extend outward. This is our third and final sensor, as it is the last resort and will activate if the first two sensors fail to work properly.

Equipment List:

Permanent Issue Items:

1 Arduino Black (Leonardo Model) x1 (Obligatory)

2 USB Cable (USB to USB-mini) x1 (Obligatory)

3 Annikken Andee (iOS) x1 (Obligatory)

4 Annikken Andee (Android) x1 (Optional)

Equipment List
Number of equipment
Raspberry Pi
Mini Camera
Motor Module
E.M.F sensor
Light Sensor
Water sensor
Dedicated signal transmitter
Wifi Stick
Humidity Sensor


We would use the different sensors available to test if it can trigger the shelter to extend when a certain criteria is being met.
For the first sensor, it is an E.M.F sensor & since it detects Electric field proximity Sensor, we would use static as a test. We rub a metal rod on a jacket and put it near the sensor. The sensor should sense the static & therefore trigger the shelter to extend.
The second sensor is light sensor. Therefore this will be an easy one as we can simply turn off the lights in a room to see if this can trigger the sensor to extend the shelter. This sensor is meant to sense the transition from having light to no light.
Our last sensor is the water sensor. This sensor is easily tested & we'll use just a droplet of water & drop it on the sensor. To test if the sensitivity of the sensor is there & if the sensor would work even with lots of water or even very minimal water.

Risk and Safety:                                                              

List/identify the hazardous chemicals, activities, or devices that will be used.
We will be going hands on with a wooden box that might have sharp edges, and we might also use a saw to cut the box to our desired size. We may also be working with metal parts to construct the shelter.
Identify and assess the risks involved.

Wires are dangerous when wet as it might cause a short circuit.  Metal parts may have sharp edges so we would have to be careful with it. Saws may be dangerous and the shavings and dust from the box may irritate us.

Describe the safety precautions and procedures that will be used to reduce the risks.

We must ensure that the wires do not come in any contact with water to prevent user from getting hard & to prevent spoiling the device. We will also protect our hardware kits from getting wet. As we are dealing with saws, we have to be extremely careful when it comes to sawing the box, otherwise we may injure our fingers. We would also wear safety goggles when cutting.

Describe the disposal procedures that will be used (when applicable).
All wood shavings and dust should be collected and disposed off in a bin properly, to prevent any shavings contaminating the air around the area. We can reuse the wires from the arduino and raspberry Pi kits.

• Data Analysis:

Data Collection

After construction, we will build the shelter with the sensors,and we will test out the sensor using water droplets.

If a few drops do not trigger the shelter, we will try to use a phone or tablet to control the shelter.

If the drops trigger the shelter, we will record on average how many drops triggers the shelter. Then proceed to controlling the shelter with Annikken Andee.

We are also able to test the E.M.F sensor by simply creating static energy. By rubbing a stick on our shirt & then make contact with the sensor or near the sensor, we can collect data on wether the sensor is working & how sensitive the sensor is.
Making Conclusions

For the water sensor, we will record on average how many water drops it takes to trigger the shelter. Hopefully the water sensor is made to trigger with as little drops of water as possible to prove that it is highly sensitive.

For the light sensor, we will use our hands and vary the distance from the sensor and see which distance triggers the sensor.

For the E.M.F sensor, we will use static electricity from human hair to see if it triggers the sensor.


Arduino Electric Magnetic Field Sensor:
computergeek (2010). Arduino EMF (Electromagnetic Field) Detector. Retrieved from

Water Sensor:
Cyberscann54 (2013, December 13) . Simple Water Sensor. Retrieved from

Brown, T. L. (2009, January 12). Wooster campus protocol for proper disposal of sharp materials. Retrieved from

Programming Arduino:
Amit Saha (2012, May 26). Learning to Program the Arduino. Retrieved from

Annikken Andee:
Piasim Corporation (2008). Annikken Andee Introduction. Retrieved From

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