Project Vitality is a hardware and software based solution for Android to increase the longevity and performance of your device's battery over time. With standard chargers, charging your phone overnight causes the battery to overcharge after it reaches 100%. This overcharge is not healthy for the battery and reduces its capacity and performance over time. Project Vitality solves this problem by providing a "smart" interface to the charger. This "smart" charger automatically stops sending current to the phone once it reaches 100%. This allows the phone's battery to remain much healthier, giving users longer use of their battery over a long period of time, and a longer charge over a short period of time. This saves the user a decent amount of money in the long term, as well as a better experience with their device as they get longer charge times during their normal use days.
The project uses a Spark Core to connect to an Android application running on the phone. The Spark Core is a tiny computer like device running inside of the charger. Once the phone reaches a full battery percentage, the Android application tells the Spark Core to stop the current and stop charging the phone and alert the user it has done so. The Android application can also manually change the charging threshold and state of the charger from on or off. When charging is complete, the lights on the charger will change color and stop charging, preserving the user's battery.
I completed Project Vitality with a team of three other people at a "hackathon" at Michigan State University. A hackathon is a programming and hardware competition, where teams have 36 hours to create a product and present their working prototype to judges. For this particular project, I was tasked with creating the Android application and embedded device programming on the Spark Core. I wrote the Android application from scratch and integrated it with the Spark Core, the tiny computer in the charger, so that the Android phone could tell the charger to stop charging. My other group members created the beautiful user experience and electrical design and implemented it in the final device. I was really proud of our group to work well together in such a short period of time, and we were proud to win awards for the best Android Application and best User Experience. Our project also made it to the top ten at the event, and we were able to present in front of all the attendees and judges.
I also released all of the code I wrote at the event here: https://github.com/lkuza2/Project-Vitality
You can also read more about the project and the rest of the team here: http://lkuza2.github.io/Project-Vitality/
Video of me explaining the project: