The FAMU-FSU College of Engineering is home to research, teaching and students studying on the campus. Due to the large flow of people through the campus, the building can get noisy, potentially distracting students who want to focus. Our sponsors, who are recent alumni, found it hard to concentrate at the school. This led to their interest in doing something about the noise level. Our mission became to design solutions to lower unwanted noise to improve student life and the overall campus environment.
Student surveys show that trash collection is a major distraction to the environment around all the common areas of study. Specifically, the vibration through the wheels of trash bins when they roll over the tile produce a loud noise that can be heard throughout the building. Students avoid the common areas of the college because of this noise. We worked to lower these vibrations—and stop the noise at the source—by redesigning the current trash bin.
In addition, the current routes that janitorial staff take to clear waste from stationary cans are inefficient. To fix this, we built a sensor to measure trash levels in the stationary cans around the building and designed an alert to be sent to a central hub letting cleaning staff know that the trash needs to be changed. This reduces the needed cleaning staff traffic with the noisy trash bin and thus lowers the noise from the process. These two solutions work together to provide fewer distractions and improve the trash collection process.