Team Glen – Prototype II Final Report: Smart Mailbox (Remix)

Introduction:

The Smart Mailbox System is a remix of our first prototype I project and still designed to target a wide range of consumers from people living in remote areas to people with disability.  The Smart Mailbox is mainly designed to help people with mobility issues that find it a chore to check their mailbox everyday just to see if they have any mail or not.  This is especially true if the weather is bad, if they are having any health issues or just want to know if there is mail to be picked up.  The Smart Mailbox uses infrared sensors to detect mail and wirelessly transmits a signal to the receiver unit that is located inside the owner’s house.  The notification from receiver unit will alert the owner that mail has just been delivered to their mailbox.

What we add to the Smart Mailbox System is the RFID Reader and ID tags will replace the cumbersome keys that some CPFR residence requested to make mailboxes more accessible for people with disabilities.  One of the request was, “Is there a way to develop a mass notification system to let them (CPRF residence) know that mail has been delivered?”  We have addressed this issue in Prototype I project.  The other request by CPRF to make mailboxes more accessible was, “Is there a system that could be developed which would allow for easier user access in regards to the mailbox itself?”  The addition of the RFID Reader and ID tags used in Prototype II project will address this issue.

At first, we were just planning to create inserts inside CPRF residence’s current mailboxes but when we meet with some of the CPRF residence to get the inside dimensions of the mailbox we noticed there was a even greater need to make easier user access in regards to the mailbox itself.  This is when we knew we had to add an RFID Reader to our project and use ID tags instead of ‘cumbersome’ keys to address all CPRF requests on making accessibility mailboxes.  We plan to make our costumed made mailbox automatically open/close and also unlock/lock with just the scan of the ID tags by the RFID reader.  In short, prototype II combines the notification system to alert owner that mail waiting to be picked up with the RFID system to make mailboxes more accessible for everyone.

The materials we used for this project are:

  1. Two Arduino microprocessors
  2. Two Xbee Pros
  3. Two Xbee Shields
  4. One Infrared LED
  5. Two Infrared Transistors (IR sensors)
  6. One 100 ohm resistor
  7. One 330 ohm resistor
  8. Six 500K ohm resistors
  9. Two Red LED’s
  10. One Blue LED
  11. One Green LED
  12. One 6x4x3 project enclose box for Xbee transmitter & RFID
  13. One 5x3x2 project enclose box for xbee notifier
  14. 120V outlet plug for xbee notifier box
  15. 120V input / 9Voutlet power supply board for xbee notifier enclose
  16. One female DC power plug, “M” type socket
  17. Two male DC power plugs, “M” type socket
  18. ¼  inch sheet metal screws to secure arduino to enclosures
  19. CA Hobby glue
  20. Industrial JB weld to secure 120V Outlet to enclosure of xbee notifier
  21. Wood used to create our insert
  22. Hookup wire

Description:

Below is the prototype II project all assembled and a pictorial description of how the Smart Mailbox works.  I think this is the easiest and most informative way to explain the Smart Mailbox System :

Here is a picture of the completed project.

There is no mail inside mailbox so the owners Smart Mailbox Notifier “Mail Waiting” LED is off.

Note:  The IR LED on the bottom of mailbox can be seen in this picture because cameras can pick up IR light, but you will not be able to see it with the naked eye.

There is mail inside the mailbox to be picked up

Now that there is mail inside the mailbox, the owners Smart Mailbox Notifier “Mail Waiting” LED is on.  Time to go pick up your mail!

The RFID ID tag for mailbox 1 has just been scanned

In this picture, the RFID ID tag for mailbox 1 has just been scanned.  You can see that the “Mailbox 1″ LED is now on. 

Note:  In the final project next semester this will also control a servo that will unlock and automatically open the mailbox door for you.  The next scan of the ID tag with automatically close mailbox door and lock it.

RFID ID tag for "Mailbox 2" has just been scanned

 In this picture, the RFID ID tag for mailbox 2 has just been scanned.  You can see that the “Mailbox 2″ LED is now on. 

RFID ID tag for "Mailbox 3" has just been scanned.

 In this picture, the RFID ID tag for mailbox 3 has just been scanned.  You can see that the “Mailbox 3″ LED is now on. 

RFID ID tag for the Postmaster's "Master Key" has just been scanned.

In this picture, the RFID ID tag for the Postmaster’s “Master Key” has just been scanned.  You can see that all the LED’s for “Mailbox 1″, “Mailbox 2″ & “Mailbox 3″ are now on.  Because the Postmaster is so cool, he gains access to all the mailboxes.

Smart Mailbox with the sero demo that might be used at EOH (Mailbox closed)

Smart Mailbox with the sero demo that might be used at Open House (Mailbox Open)

Note:  In the final project next semester this will also control a servo that will unlock and automatically open ALL the mailbox door for the Postmaster.  The next scan of the Postmaster’s “Master Key” ID tag with automatically close ALL mailbox door and lock it.

That is it!  The project is simple in design but is going to be very helpful everyone and especially for people with disability and mobility issues.  The Smart Mailbox notifier that  alert the owner that mail has just been delivered to their mailbox and the RFID ID tagging system used instead of cumbersome mailbox keys makes this project the ideal solution for CPFR mailbox issues for their residents.

Diagram & Code:

Below is the wiring diagram we used for the Prototype II project:

The wiring diagram of Prototype II project

Below is the Flow chart for both Program 4 “combined RFID with sender notification” and the notification receiver used in Prototype II project:

Flowchart for Sender

Flowchart for Receiver

Below is the link to the code for Program 1 “Get tag ID”.  We used this program to read the tags so we can get the ID’s of each tag and use that ID to assign it to a mailbox:

 Read_RFID_GetTag

Below is the link to the code for Program 2 “RFID main program”.  This program reads  the scanned tag ID and compares this ID to that of the assigned ID of each mailbox.  LED lights show what mailbox responds to each given tag ID.  The Master tag will light all LED as it simulates the postmasters master key to gain access to all mailboxes:

 RFID_LED

Below is the link to the code for Program 3 “RFID program with SoftwareSerial”.  This program is the RFID main program above but uses the Arduino SoftwareSerial to create new serial ports (pin2=RX, pin3=TX) so we will be able to combine RFID with Prototype I notification sender program that already use hardware serial ports pin0=RX, and pin1=TX:

 RFID_LED_SoftwareSerial

Below is the link to the code for Program 4 “combined RFID program with notification program”.  This is the FINAL PROGRAM that is used in the Prototype II project:

Smart_Mail_Sender_with_RFID

Below is the link to the code for the xbee receiver (Mailbox notifier).  This is the FINAL PROGRAM that is used in the Prototype II project:

Smart_Mail_Receiver

Below is the link to the code for Program 4 “combined RFID program with notification program and servo demo”.  We might use this as our FINAL PROGRAM that is used in the Prototype II project:

Mail_Sender_with_RFID_and_Servo

Here is a look of the inside of the enclosures of the Smart Mailbox System and how it is put together:

IR Sender & RFID enclosure:

 

Mail Notification enclosure

Reflection:

The next step for next semester is to actually build the Smart Mailbox System.  Below is some 3D model of what the Smart Mailbox might look like:

3D Catia Model

3D Catia model

 

3D Catia Model

Below is a sketch of the Smart Mailbox and how it will be put together along with what the servo and locking mechanism might look like:

Sketch of the internal workings of final project

Sketch of final project

 

Closer look at the internal workings of final project

The code develop in Prototype II will be of great use for the final project as it is the heart and backbone to the final Smart Mailbox project.  There is a lot of work to do still as we have to enhance the range of the Xbees, solve the multiplexing of several sensors from each mailbox, the locking mechanism of each mailbox, the automatic opening and closing of mailbox door,  the construction of the Smart Mailbox itself, etc.

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