This will be the first of multiple posts where I document the progress of CSE Vision.
CSE Vision is a project that myself and my colleague Jan Spies at TUT – Computer Systems Engineering have been working on for a few days now.
The idea for this project is to create a system that can be placed in the lobby of our offices to inform anyone who comes in of the following information regarding the lecturers in the department:
- The status of our lecturers (we are going with AVAILABLE, BUSY and UNAVAILABLE for now)
- Email address
- Telephone extension
- Office Number
- Consultation times
- Time table
- A customizable message
The system should update in real time and allow the lecturers to modify all their information.
The end goal is to have magnetic switches installed on the lecturer doors that when activated or deactivated automatically change the status of the lecturers on the system.
Why CSE Vision?
This project aims to solve quite a few problems:
- People (students and staff) are not aware of who is actually lecturing at our department
- Trying to keep track of lectures can be a difficult task
- Students entering the department looking for a certain lecturer and then asking every other lecturer they encounter if they know where said lecturer is (this gets pretty annoying)
- Students knocking on lecturer’s doors when they are busy and cannot be interrupted (such as when setting up exam papers)
- Our department offers great content but our physical location has nothing to set us apart in any way
Current Project Status
At the moment there is a login screen, an update page (where lecturers can update their status and information) and the actual lecturer viewer page. All info updates in real time as it is changed in the DB.
- Database is MySQL
A screenshot of the project running on my low res laptop (click to see it enlarged – same as article’s featured image):
The different colours used for the 3 states are visible here. Names and emails that are too long to fit on the “cards” are made to scroll. The custom messages written by the lecturers also scroll.
We ended up displaying minimal information with an emphasis on the visibility of the photos and the status colour.
Deciding what to put on the cards as well as the actual design of the interface actually took longer than actually getting the functionality going… typical.
The idea is that users can click on the individual cards to get more information about the lecturers such as time tables etc.
The actual project will be running on an HD screen that will be able to display 5X5 rows of lecturers. This will be enough for the entire department.
We need to move the site from local to our web server.
We also of course still need to get the Arduino Ethernet boards running and install the switches on the doors.
Get a Fit PC 2 running that can display the website in the lobby.
We then also need to attach the screen to the glass portal.