Wednesday, 16 June 2010

iPRISm- Bluetooth Based In class Response System

Interactive Personal Response and Information System - Well this is what I have chosen to call my new invention!

So what does it do? - What it says on the tin! Its a voting cum information push/pull system.

How does it work? - Using mobile phones with bluetooth ON the students can connect with the system in close vicinity of a lecturer's laptop (10 meters at best) to interact in a voting session. The laptop needs Bluetooth or can use a USB BT dongle.

Ok, What can it really do? - We have developed a basic version that will do voting, stats, attendance, registration of devices etc. Things that you would expect in a system of this nature.

How does it manage different versions of Bluetooth implemented by different manufacturers or how does it communicate with different implementations of BT?
 This has been a long standing problem with BT, anything you develop it has to be versioned for several different models/ manufacturers etc. Not this time, I have nailed it and we use the least common infrastructure across all implementations. However, Apple still escapes the reach of my system (but not for long).
What we did was we used the Bluetooth name field to allows users to type in their answer/vote/response to a question they see on the screen. Almost all phones allow you to change the name field of your phone and any bluetooth donggle can be used to read the nearby device friendly names etc. This helps in establishing a channel for communication. Change the friendly name and you have a way to communicate to the bluetooth donggle/PC your vote/response.

What are the limitations of the system?
We find that the system only works upto 7 may be 10 meters. Also students find using the friendly name field objectionable and cumbersome (here is an idea for an App for phones, including iphone). Also it takes longer if there are too many users in the class as the dongle sequentially reads the friendly names of all the phones in the vicinity. There is also the issue of not all students having Bluetooth phones.