Three Duke students, Austin McKee, Logan Rooper, and Andrew Buie, have just completed the first phase of their FreeSpace project. Buie says the product solves a problem that the group faced on a regular basis. “We would spend half an hour roaming around looking for a group study room to use to work on a project or problem set and knew there had to be a better solution. After building a functional prototype for HackDuke, we continued developing the product with the Innovation Colab this spring.”
FreeSpace is a networked room occupancy platform that delivers real-time data to an app and dashboard. Students looking for a free place to study can view live information about whether a room is available or not, and soon will be able to see upcoming reservations as well. For administrators, a dashboard provides metrics and history for occupancy. In the future, the students hope to implement some learning algorithms that will use predictive analytics to make educated guesses about when certain rooms are most likely to be available in the future.
The end of this first phase is marked by a pilot program with four of their devices being installed in the Link in Group Study Rooms 1-4. In each of these rooms, a small sensor is installed on the wall which tracks room activity and displays whether or not the room is occupied in the application.
The group is hoping to use the remainder of the summer to fine tune the sensors and the app, with the hope of a wider rollout next year.
“We hope that our system will save students time by connecting them with study spaces around campus,” said Rooper. “We could not be more excited to see the system in action when students return to campus and look forward to hearing feedback from students as they use the product.”
Check out the app at app.findyourfreespace.com.
For more info about the Innovation Co-Lab and the grant program, check out colab.duke.edu