This project was created at PennApps XVI in 36 hours on September 10th, 2018. We won Best Hardware Hack for the project.
The inspiration for the project came primarily from the frustration of cleaning up all of the resistors and miscellaneous nuts and bolts after different hacking projects. We wanted a way to easily sort the inventory of project items after they are spilled around and also keep track of our inventory so we knew if we needed to get more of a certain part.
You begin by using our front end android app. Tell it you want to store something. Take a picture and it will identify the object that you have scanned. If the object has not been stored before, then it will choose an empty bin (out of 6 total bins) to store your new item. LEDs will light up which bin is going to open and a servo motor attached to a stepper motor belt will move and open up the bin. If the item has already been stored before, the bin containing those items will open up instead. Now when you open up the app and choose retrieve, it will query a small database in our backend (associated with your login ID) and open up the bin that stored your item.
Bin numbers and where items are stored are completely decoupled so you don't have to care about any logistics and leave the item to bin mapping up to the application. In the final demo version of InvenTeX we made the back side of the rectangular box see through so that visitors and judges could see the motor mechanism in action.
We don't have the poster of the complete stack anymore, but we had a really large stack consisting of an embedded systems stack for the robotics operations, to a smartphone application built using React Native, up to a server running on a MongoDB backend for the item storage and database queries. We also had computer vision algorithms running along most of the stack. All of the embedded processing components were built directly into the storage box. The storage box was completely lasercut at PennApps with over 50 individually cadded components.
Check out our official PennApps submission on Devpost.