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Hi,
I am doing a project in school and need to find a solution for my project.

I have to make a system that allows me to find missing objects in a building. I want to put a tag on the items and with a computer program find out in which room the items is instead of looking into all the rooms for the item.
Think a building like the picture below with lots of rooms. I want to find out a method for finding a missing object. If the item is in room 113 I want to see in my program that the item I am looking for is in room 113.  

Can you give me some solution on how I can solve the problem?
And what method or technology I should use? I have an Arduino with XBee module I can use.

« Last Edit: April 18, 2012, 11:23:00 am by arduino2012 » Logged

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I don't think you connected the grounds, Dave.
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Get a big pad of paper, with rows and columns ruled on it.
Every time someone takes a tagged object, strike out the old location for the tag number, and write down the new location.
If you like, have the secretary transfer the contents of the paper onto a database.
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Get a big pad of paper, with rows and columns ruled on it.
Every time someone takes a tagged object, strike out the old location for the tag number, and write down the new location.
If you like, have the secretary transfer the contents of the paper onto a database.
That is one way to do but I don't want to do paper work. I want it to automatically send its location to a database and find out in what room the item is in.
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Every year at Trinity College they have a robotic contest.  The robot has to enter a series of rooms looking for a candle and extinguish the candle.  You could build a similar robot that goes from room to room looking for the items.  http://www.trincoll.edu/events/robot/  I'm not sure how else you will know where the item is.
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Can you give me some solution on how I can solve the problem?

You need to decide what sensing technologies you could feasibly use to locate the items, and then choose one that is within your budget that achieves what you need. There are commercial systems which do this sort of thing but they aren't cheap, and for a good reason. How much time, money and technical skill do you have available to implement the solution?
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Every year at Trinity College they have a robotic contest.  The robot has to enter a series of rooms looking for a candle and extinguish the candle.  You could build a similar robot that goes from room to room looking for the items.  http://www.trincoll.edu/events/robot/  I'm not sure how else you will know where the item is.
I don't want to have a robot because it is very complicated more complicated than just you should go in all the rooms and find the item. I was thinking to put a tag on all the items and some how send the information to the database in which room it is. But I don't know how it should find out in which room it is.
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Arduino2012,

Large warehouses use barcode scanners to keep track of inventory, most things already have a barcode on them.
RFI scanners at each doorway with chips in/on each item would be an elegant if expensive solution.
Either connected, possibly wirelessly thru the Arduino/XBee, to a central computer.
As far as implementation, the object of the professor's exercise was to make you think, maybe we have done enough for you. 
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"John Sheppard Barron" ATM carbon-14
 Just a thought - I like off-the-wall and dangerous.  smiley
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Hi,
I am doing a project in school and need to find a solution for my project.
...
Can you give me some solution on how I can solve the problem?
And what method or technology I should use?

Interesting approach. Things have changed since I was in school.

Actually, your professor is pulling your leg. This is what is known as a Wicked Problem. Unsolved and unsolvable. If it were solvable, someone would have solved it by now and become a billionaire helping people find their car keys, ball point pens, socks, etc.
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RFI scanners at each doorway with chips in/on each item would be an elegant if expensive solution.

I believe that's how assets are tracked at IBM's Houston Space Center building.
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Quote
If it were solvable, someone would have solved it by now and become a billionaire helping people find their car keys, ball point pens, socks, etc.

But that brings commercial viability into the equation. This project doesn't seem to require that.
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I have to make a system that allows me to find missing objects in a building. I want to put a tag on the items and with a computer program find out in which room the items is instead of looking into all the rooms for the item.

You put yourself in chains before you even start to get creative. Here is my take on it (since commercial viability was not required):

The system will output a description of the missing object on a piece of paper. The paper gets attached to the blackboard such that anyone can read the description. Whoever finds the object first gets a bounty of $100. This is a system smiley-wink
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My solution was to use RSSI to measure the signal strength between XBee modules and use triangulation to get the position of the object.
But since there is walls and lots of other stuff in the room the signal strength can vary a lot and makes it hard to get exact position of the object.
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Looking at it as a logic problem, you have several demands that must be addressed

1) each item must be uniquely identified (bar code, RF identification, frequency etc)
2) every possible location must be uniquely identified ( ditto)
3) when an item enters a location, the location must be capable of identifying it's stock update
4) if any new (extra) items enter a location a stock update must be identified
5) if any items are removed from locations a stock update must take place

Hence every item is identified as being in particular locations and hence any item can be immediately located by reading from the item/location set

I bel;ieve Amazon use such a system for stock location as no items have dedicated locations, they are simply placed on "random" shelves but each and every time items are placed, their location is "logged" so that they can be readily recovered.  I suppose you could call it "fuzzy filing"

All of the above requires communication, be it written, wired or wireless  -  none of which comes cheap - apart from a paper system  Technnoligy ain't all it's cracked up to be !!!
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