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Smart bench ‘The Benchmark’ wins Internet of Things makeathon

12 April 2017

This January 85 students in 17 inter-disciplinary teams took part in a 24 hour makeathon aimed at creatively engaging students with the Internet of Things.

The brief was, "Putting hardware, software and artistic skills to the test to create something from the scratch".

The winning team created "The Benchmark", a self-sufficient wooden bench laced with sensors, USB ports, solar panels and Wi-Fi. One team member explained, "The idea came when one of us was forced to sit on a wet bench at the park". The wooden bench has solar panels and rotates based on information going to ultrasonic sensors. It was designed to automatically rotate when it rains to ensure that the user has a dry side to sit on.

The idea started with a simple park bench, but the final project included rain, temperature, air pressure, humidity and air quality sensors, and an armrest screen to notify the user of time and weather conditions. The bench was also connected to the web, allowing users to track its status. The team; Will Beasley, Theo Worsley, Desmond Ting, Jess Randall and Serban Buzgau were awarded a £500 prize.

Bristol Electrical and Electronic Engineering Society (BEEES) organised the 24 hour event. It was sponsored by the semiconductor and software design company ARM. Matthew Woodacre, a Software Engineer from ARM, attended the event. He said that the range of projects, from the IOT chair to a Mop head that talks like Trump, was highly commendable. He added, "There was a wide variety of projects which were interesting to see take shape over the 24 hour period.  The ambitiousness of some of the projects was impressive and the implementation quality of most was exceptional."

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