In the Summer of 2014, I completed a nine week internship at the MIT Media Lab where I worked with Professor Pattie Maes and a graduate student, Valentin Heun, on the Smarter Objects project. Smarter Objects is an Internet-of Things-Platform that utilizes an Augmented Reality (AR) interface to modify and re-program the functionality of household objects. The goal of this internship was to investigate and develop a client-server architecture and a communication network that enables smarter objects to interact with the user iOS application and other smarter objects.
My work consisted of:
Built a node.js web server that queries a geo-indexed MongoDB database. This server connects to an iOS application and links this application to Wifi enabled Smarter Objects located near the user.
Utilized node.js to develop a RESTful web service, which hosts content that defines Smarter Objects' properties and functions and hosts information needed for iPad to generate an AR interface.
Created a discovery service using node.js and UDP. This service automatically sets up a peer-to-peer network that allows the users and Smarter Objects to communicate and interact with each other.
Programmed with Socket.IO and node.js to build an embedded system webpage service that uses a webpage downloaded from the RESTful web service as an interface to allow the user to modify the properties and functions of Smarter Objects in real-time. Developed and tested this service using Arduino Yún and Carambola 2 embedded systems.
This project deepened my skills in computer engineering and computer science, allowed me to participate and excel in an technology-arts research team, and significantly contribute to challenging the convention of the Internet of Things and to help re-define the interaction between people and their home appliances.
The interdisciplinary team comprised of me, who was the developer, graduate student Valentin Heun, a designer with background in human computer interaction and design, and a faculty advisor Pattie Maes, an expert in human computer interaction.
The Smarter Objects project enhanced my knowledge in the areas of database design, RESTful web services, and asynchronous server-side development. I developed four services that defined the client-server architecture and the communication network, which laid the foundation for a new platform called Open Hybrid
My part in the Smarter Objects project contributed to challenging the standard design for internet enabled home appliances. My work enabled the combination of physical and virtual interface that enables an objects behavior to have a broad, computational functionality and at the same time a quick tactile interface
I feel the participation in technology-arts research team and challenge an area that can impact how people interact with home appliances, this project is a strong reflection of me as an Emerging Media student.