This is a continuation of the STEM I class and takes place during the last few months of the year. In this project (known as the Assistive Technology Project, or AT for short), we work in groups of four to create a device which helps address a disability in our community over the course of a couple months. We get to pick actual roles, communicate with actual clients, and build a device to help our client's problem. I had the opportunity to be the CEO of my group, which mainly consisted of my A4G group members. We decided to continue our A4G project by creating a smart water bottle for our mobile application.
Hundreds of millions of Americans in the United States are chronically dehydrated at any given moment, mostly due to a lack of knowledge regarding proper water intake. As dehydration symptoms can include everything from quickened fatigue to increased aging to even mortality, this issue cannot be allowed to persist in its current state. We propose the creation of a smart water bottle which will communicate with a mobile application vie Bluetooth to record information about its user's drinking habits. Using this information, the system can attempt to integrate healthier hydration habits into the user's everyday life.
At first, we decided to look at our potential competitors, as we knew that many similar bottle-application systems existed. In doing so, we found a few major flaws: The applications were blocked off with pay-walls, the measurement systems were inconvenient or not accurate, and/or the smart water bottles were expensive (typically $80-100). We then drafted three potential designs for our bottle, each differing in its main components, such as its measurement mechanism. From there, we continued to improve and test our design through various experiments until we arrived at one which was relatively accurate, did not leak, and was completely automatic. Compared to many of our competitors, which usually relied on buttons, or a certain placement of the bottle, this was a large success!
After a couple months of building, testing, and writing, we eventually had a deliverable product for the AT Fair. This bottle uses a measurement system composed of capacitive sensors, activated by the shutting of the bottle's lid. Capacitive sensors work by detecting a change in electric field, which occurs after entering contact with something else, such as water. By placing these at designated intervals, we could detect whenever water was present at each level. The lid-based activation made sure that the bottle would not be recording while the user was drinking, causing the measurement system to have a much greater accuracy and consistency. Unfortunately, we were unable to place the sensors closer together, and we were also not able to place the sensors on both sides of the bottle due to the time limit. This would've increased our accuracy a thousand-fold, so it remains a possible area for future expansion.