Smart Technology and Environments

How can the ubiquity of smartphones change the way we think of the environments around us? How can geo-location change the way we engage with space?

Andrew Ritchie and Chinazo Rena Anakwe
Andrew Ritchie and Chinazo Rena Anakwe

This team proposed an adventure, similar to a scavenger hunt. This would use a technique called geocaching to allow smartphone users to leave and discover treasures in marked physical locations for other users to interact with.

Technical Challenges

For locating users, the team experimented with Estimote Beacons. They discovered beacons to be quite cumbersome for this task compared with GPS.

The idea was that a smartphone app would pull the user’s current location from GPS, and would query a backend API to discover treasures. The first iteration from the user experience perspective would be to allow the user to share (or ‘drop’) a treasure in that location. Then, other users could see the treasure and respond to it.

A big part of this challenge is content management. An API back-end was built that can store locations, and the team is working on an iOS app that can hit the API and send data back. This is a development-intensive concept and the team found they hit time constraints.