Satchel French and Aditya Surabi (Left to right)

Photo: Syed Razvi

Rye students win contest with app that sets ambience based on weather

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By Syed Razvi

A team of third-year Ryerson engineering students created an app that can change your home’s ambience to suit the weather.

Satchel French and Aditya Surabi created the app Feels to win HackuWeather, a contest where 10 teams worked to invent new technology under a time limit. The competition began Sept. 23 and ended Sept. 25. 

“Weather has a profound effect on the way we feel,” Sarabi said. “In rainy weather for example, some feel miserable, so we want to set your home’s mood to counteract any negativity to give out happy vibes.”

The app sets a home’s lighting to suit current weather conditions then plays music representing that mood. Feels uses wifi to connect with a home’s lights and adjusts them based on input from a weather service. Users can adjust the intensity of lighting, skip songs and favourite tracks using the app.

“Cloudy outside might represent dark or slow,” said French. “We used Soundcloud to humanize that input by using different genres for each type of weather.”

When designing Feels, the team used an if this, then that method to determine the consequences of a chosen command.

“Brainstorming took the most time,” said Surabi. “Our time started 9 p.m. on Friday but we didn’t start developing till 10 a.m. on Saturday.”

Both students had to work with hardware they had never seen before, meaning they spent long hours looking online for solutions to problems.

French said the team had to find the quickest, not necessarily the best solutions.

“The time constraint forced us to be more design conscious,” French said. “It’s hard doing so when you wanna keep up with your partner and not leave them behind.”

The team said AccuWeather, the weather service Feels uses and one of the contest’s organizers, expressed interest in working with them in the future.


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