We would like to extend to you an invitation to attend the final judging of the Better Campus Competition. For the last eight months, ten teams have been honing their ideas, each of them with a vision to improve our campus in diverse ways. It has been an arduous battle for some, but all the remaining teams have earned new skills they will be able to carry with them through the rest of their careers, both academically and professionally.
On April 18th from 4:30 to 5:30 PM in the Havener Atrium our teams will present their final ideas to you, the public, and to our esteemed judges. After the official judging has ended our judges will deliberate and select a winning team to be announced at 6:45 pm during the awards presentation. Please join us for the grand finale and reveal of these incredible innovations the teams have created.
Unfortunately, due to the strain of the competition and time conflicts, two teams have decided to withdraw. Lawn in Order and TJ Underdogs will not be continuing with the course of the competition. With these changes that leaves only eight teams left in the competition. Now as the production phase of the competition ends we are all excitedly awaiting the fruits of the remaining teams' labor. Come later this February our teams will reveal their whole system prototypes and truly show how they intend to make campus better.
This just in! An update from Food Finders' team leader, Ian:
Food Finders are getting their server set-up! We are hard at work getting resources like the server, Git, and server applications up and running properly. These resources will make prototyping and development much easier and will provide version control throughout developing the Food Finder service.
With the help of ITRSS, we look forward to learning about Linux commands and using the command line to build our server.
In regards to the front-end, the Food Finders are finalizing a user interface based around the Materialize Framework. It will provide a foundation for the layout and elements of the website, whereas we will provide the functionality and application of the site.
We also received our first parts request consisting of a Raspberry Pi starter-kit and camera module last week. Now that finals are concluding we are looking to prototype with crowd analysis over Winter Break. On the Food Finder service, we hope to provide users with an estimate of how crowded each dining location is. While this will be a difficult task, if successfully implemented, this will be revolutionary in the eating experience of college students across campus.
After discussing this project with Joey Roberts, Director of Retail and Marketing Operations for Chartwells, we believe the Food Finder idea has very high potential. Mrs. Roberts was very supportive of our idea and plans to “help us in any way she can”. Additionally, she said that managing each location’s hours will be a responsibility Chartwells will handle happily.
With the holiday season upon us, all over campus students are preparing to shut down their productivity after finals. The members of team BookBase, however, are taking advantage of this opportunity to further develop their project for the Better Campus Competition. But there was an obstacle in their path, they did not have any of the materials they needed to begin constructing their kiosk. Luckily, IT RSS caught wind of this news. They made a special delivery to the members of BookBase who reacted with great cheer! The day had been saved.
The Better Campus Competition wishes everyone happy holidays!
Thanksgiving break brings a much needed break for most students here at Missouri S&T, but RACKS has taken the initiative to use this valuable time to start on their wood-based prototype. RACKS is in a unique position in this competition as the product they are producing is entirely physical (no software on our bike racks ... yet). Build on!
Seeking to improve students dining experience, The A Team worked with ITRSS to design a digital ordering process for food vendors on campus. With a defined team structure, The A Team determined overall goals for a solution: to digitally integrate ordering tools with nutritional and wait time information. Considering the resources and timeline of the competition, The A Team narrowed the scope of their project to Rustic Range initially.
In developing a solution, The A Team began by speaking with representatives from Chartwells to determine if a new system was desired and if a partnership was available. With Chartwells voluntary collaborating, The A Team began planning their website layout and tackling technical problems. Currently, technical skills in need of development have been identified, communication with Chartwells is maintained, and the outline for the website is becoming more detailed with input from ITRSS.
Driving down the road to success, team Drinksafe showed ITRSS what they are made of during the recent design review. Structured for the ready, the team talked on user protocols, front/backend coding, set ups, and their guidelines for this competition. With plans of their first beta testing starting around Valentine's Day, we’ll see how much the compiler loves guzzling code while they’re working hard over winter break. DrinkSafe had no stumbling in their way for this review, ready to continue on their work.
Swiping through the most recent review, Food Finders presented with their design down pat. Having met with both Chartwells and Student Life advocates, Food Finders has found the easiest ways possible to get food times and crowd size in the most convenient ways possible. In laying down their ideas on what software and hardware plans down, ITRSS gave some pointers on crumbling down the walls of getting started on programming. Weâ€™ll see what Food Finders has in store to chow down on in the next review session.
As a group of freshmen, team RACKS has seen first hand how abysmal bike storage is around campus and in the case of Thomas Jefferson hall in particular. RACKS presented to ITRSS using a PowerPoint presentation over topics such as the benefits of certain storage methods over others, research done along with a faculty member on using concrete for the rack, and included many drawings of the potential designs. RACKS and ITRSS examined what exactly the faculty advisor would be bringing to the team, the practicality of each design, and potential design softwares which the team could use to model the rack.
Team RACKS's plans were exponentially clearer than they had been initially. At the suggestion of ITRSS, RACKS also utilized a Gantt chart in order to plan the allocation of labor and time in order to successfully make their concept a reality. RACKS is in the process of constructing a wooden prototype in order to ensure their blueprint has been refined as much as possible, after which they will begin their journey into building a concrete stand. If RACKS has their way, our bike racks will look clean and efficient instead of a scrap yard.
Committed to streamlining package receiving and item rental, team Pony Express related initial designs with ITRSS. In order to allow for faster receiving of packages, team Pony Express plans to create a digital database of residents that would allow the front desk employee to search for the recipient and use the recipients profile to generate documentation. For renting entertainment items, team Pony Express intends to allow residents to keep their student ID on their person by creating an application that lets students swipe their ID and sign with their Google ID.
In meeting with ITRSS, aspects of the user interfaces were discussed and team Pony Express expressed an understanding of the programming languages to use as well as the technical skills in need of development. An overall database structure was outlined and the roles of team Pony Express members were defined such that the division of labor was fair and a path to success was achievable on their provided timeline.
Spot U, the all-senior team kicked down the door and came to present for this past review. With thorough knowledge given from the previous review on their sensors and beacon technologies, they tweaked their design in such a way that showed they're prepared for competition. Handing out presentation files to each of us, they laid down their design and parts request on the Spot. Showing their new versus previous designs and explaining why they have changed. With that, Spot U passed with flying colors in the eyes of ITRSS.
Team MST Commuters is focused on creating a resource to help connect people going somewhere and that are willing to give rides with the people who need them. In discussing their plans with ITRSS, team MST Commuters presented a clear vision for their webpage layout with an initial draft and showed an understanding of what technical skills will need to be develop in order to be successful.
In this pursuit of a successful project, team MST Commuters acknowledges the importance of increasing awareness about their application and dedicated two team members to focus primarily on marketing. Through a variety of mediums, including MinerBytes digital displays positioned throughout campus, team MST Commuters desires to generate a significant level of student involvement.
In addition to the challenges of getting students to participate while designing a functional web application, team MST Commuters is tackling the problem of assessing legal liability, developing a rule set for safe travelling, and determining a fuel compensation algorithm.
In reviewing their design with ITRSS, team BookBase spoke with conviction about how students could benefit from an simpler, easier way to find resources in the library. Using a PowerPoint presentation they related their initial designs including how they envision the aesthetics and layout of the user interface. Team BookBase discussed with ITRSS how students would find the shelf after the application determined the resources location considering a mobile application, printed map, or large stationary display.
From refining their initial plans and corresponding with ITRSS, team BookBase decided the map to the resources will initially be provided in a printable format with a large display at the kiosk. The team has already ordered parts and are fast at work on their prototype.
Floor 9 believes safety is a paramount problem in todays society. Ways to protect people from others as well as themselves are on the rise. An application which automatically notifies a select group of people in the event of a potential emergency has an obvious place in keeping people safe. Especially when considering that response time is one of the most important factors in preventing many hazardous events.
Floor 9 utilized a presentation in which they explained the necessity for their application as well as many obstacles which laid in their path. For example, Floor 9 was initially uncertain which of the many software platforms would be best for the various parts of the application. However, after much collaboration, they ended up on settling on what they expect to be the best server, user interface, and verification tools. Additionally, Floor 9 created a timetable with a list of tasks to complete in order to be successful in the Better Competition. Floor 9 has decided to focus, in particular, on the unique parts of their program with personal group notifications before delving into certain other areas such as contacting emergency response personnel. IT RSS knows that Floor 9's project has the potential to improve lives of countless people around the world as well as the Missouri S&T campus.
With the rise of sustainable energy, biking has greatly increased in popularity recently. On campus in particular, where the distances you need to travel are not excessive, bike usage has never been higher. What has not increased with bike usage, however, is bike storage capacity. If you have ever been to Thomas Jefferson Hall to see the bike rack then you know a more accurate description of the situation would be a bike heap. This makes finding and extracting your bike difficult, and takes excessive time while frustrating you to no end. RACKS plans to design and implement a new storage system which will be more effective than the current racks in using all available space. After RACKS idea is successful, maybe you’ll stop wishing you had room under your bed to store your bike and just put it out on the rack instead.
There are a variety of reasons that CLC aren’t available. One reason could be that your ideal location has a limited number of computers like with Thomas Jefferson Hall where at times only two computers are available. When you are rushing to the library anytime between classes, you can count on having to wait on a computer as everyone else had the same thought. Not to mention some CLCs are sporadically reserved for various courses, and thus are unavailable for outside use for fear of distracting the class. Team Spot U decided they had wasted enough time, and wanted to initiate an application which could use sensors to track which CLCs are currently in use as well keep you updated on any other reason a lab may not be available. Instead of frantically running around looking for a computer, support team Spot U.
Twenty five percent of students at Missouri S&T do not have a car on campus. Yet, many of these students still want to be able to go home and see their families. Additionally, many students who do have cars don’t want to spend all of the gas money it would require for a there-and-back trip in a weekend. This is where the TJ Underdogs step in, as they believe a ride sharing application would allow Missouri S&T students to branch out and meet new people as they are able to head back home to see other important people in their lives. This applications potential will only increase as the Missouri S&T campus grows. With parking not expanding alongside the student body, freshman may all not be permitted to have their car on campus. If this happens, ridesharing will be the way in which students are able to make their desired trips.
Drunk driving is a chronic problem across the country, in particular with college students who may feel that they are invincible. DrinkSafe wants to eliminate completely any reason to drive drunk with its new application. Additionally, this can help solve problems that go along with taking the oft long walk home late at night. The app is based upon the current system used by many fraternities for sober rides. In this system, people volunteer to sober drive for a variety of reasons like to meet new people or to help out their peers. Afterwards, the volunteer then has a higher priority when needing to be picked up later. This application could also be used for student organizations, such as STRIPES, to organize their sober driving programs across the campus. Take a stand with DrinkSafe and help fellow MO S&T students be safe every night.
Safety is a priority which has risen to the top in today’s school systems. With the plethora of possible conflict facing college students, a general application which can notify a small or even large number of people that you may be in need of assistance is invaluable. This application's scope, however, can extend far beyond that of just a college campus and into our everyday lives.
The primary three components of the app include an automatic alert timer, active shooter alert button, and a memo. The automatic alert timer would send a predetermined message to your chosen individuals if you do not turn it off before the time which you set. An active shooter alert button would be particularly useful, as most often someone does not have time to call the police and explain the situation whenever there is a gun on campus. Tapping a single button, however, is much more discrete and allows police and all other students nearby to know what is happening. Finally, a memo would be a notepad in which you could document any possible situation for those who may be able to provide assistance. A few other potential features would be including things such as GPS to passively allow data on the application user to be collected before they need help. Floor 9’s application has a great potential to improve safety of its users everywhere.
Bookbase is a team founded on the intuitive but unattained concept of a simple, interactive method of instantly locating your own book in the library. The motivation for this idea came whenever Team Leader Jack Connoly was seeking a leisure reading book in the library. The first step in his journey was trying to find an open computer, which is no easy feat in the library. The librarians were otherwise occupied, so he ended up wasting a lot of time in limbo. After finally getting a computer, he pulled up the library database to search for his book.
The program spit out that the book was in section A133.7, but that didn't mean anything to Jack. And in a three floor library, finding that section is no easy task; let alone the book on the shelf. Or even worse, a book which is not yet shelved. He decided his experience could be drastically improved by a simple kiosk with a touchscreen display and a new search application installed. With Jack's vision, people could instantly walk in and find their book quickly while a map of the library with the actual location of the book would appear, and optionally, a print out of its location. As a member of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, he quickly assembled a team of his peers to help him on his mission to make libraries everywhere more friendly to the campus community.
Have you ever shown up to a restaurant only to find out that it was closed? Food Finders intend to stop that from happening again. Food finders plans on creating a minimalistic application/webpage which students can check on their phone and see at a glance which dinning options are available to them. Initially, they plan to focus on the on campus eateries such as Thomas Jefferson Dining Hall, Einstein Bros, and Rustic Range. However, they plan to expand their application to include a variety of local venues such as Campus Perk, Slice of Pie, Sawadee Thai, and much more. A simple table whose color has been conditionally formatted will allow students to stop spending time trying to figure out where is open, and spend that time eating with friends instead.
Sunny Lella, the team leader of The A Team, was ecstatic when he heard about the competition to improve the Missouri S&T campus being hosted by IT Research Support Services. Instantly, he knew the problem he wanted to address: waiting for food. If you have ever been to Rustic Range then you know how tedious their process can be.
You have to write your order on a little slip of paper with baby pencils before taking it up to the register where someone actually punches in your order. After being charged, then they put your burger or chicken on the grill to begin preparing the food. The wait for food can go from 10 minutes on a good day to over an hour on a bad day, but the typical wait is somewhere between the two which is simply too long for the busy schedule of many students.
Sunny’s solution is to create a mobile application with which you can place an order for your food well before you even arrive at the Havener Center which would shorten the wait time drastically. Not only, however, would this application be useful for the Chartwells food, but Sunny believes it is also easily applicable for other local restaurants near campus such as O’Doggy’s and Campus Perk to aid both the customer and business in their day to day operations. We are very excited to see Sunny and his team to potentially provide an innovation to on campus dining which is long overdue.
Whenever news of the Better Campus Competition hit Samuel Weaver, he did not shy away from the challenge. Instead, Sam and his team decided to undertake what may be the most mechanical, electronic, and programming intensive project of the entire competition. Creating a lawn power which will landscape with minimal human interaction is a multidisciplinary project with several safety concerns that will need to be addressed. Lawn in Order’s project, however, has a great potential reward in both man hours saved and potential other applications. Their mowers also have the possibility of expanding beyond the MO S&T campus and into private and commercial industry. Lawn in Order’s project will allow you to always see the soothing landscape of your dreams as you walk to class.
Managing dorm facilities, student packages, and room keys at Missouri S&T still heavily relies on paper slips and logs. Pony Express aims to alleviate this use of archaic technology and streamline the process for students and desk workers. They will create a web based application that will allow students to see what facilities (ping pong, pool, etc.) are open and available at the front desk. This app will also allow the front desk to manage and distribute packages, keep track of keys, and manage the log system.
Missouri S&T’s IT Research Support Services team provides a broad layer of support to S&T’s research community as well as facilitating a large number of student-involved activities. ITRSS is continuing to help students go beyond the classroom by giving students the opportunity to practice and highlight practical knowledge, leadership skills, and self improvement. Feel free to contact the RSS team at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit us in Centennial Hall, Room 102.