Little Black Box

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If you’ve gone into the engineering room in the last week or so, you might have noticed something peculiar on the wall. A small plastic black box, the word “Nize” printed on it in white. A cable running out, plugged into an outlet below. You might have even seen someone pressing buttons on a small screen on the box. If you’ve ever wondered what that box is, look no further.

            That black box is a project I’ve been working on with a few other students, called Presence. At the very core, it’s an attendance system, a replacement to the mangled mess of Q Connection, Google Forms, bar-code scanners, bathroom sign-out sheets, and archaic slips of paper that students and teachers currently have to grapple with. To make this process more efficient, we’ve integrated various cutting-edge technologies into our “little black box” and developed a variety of features to help teachers and students alike.

             The main functionality of Presence is a chip scanner that reads specialized ID cards. In layman's terms, this means that you'll be issued a card that you can just quickly tap on the box in order to be marked present in a class. The device is meant to handle Flex periods and bathroom sign-out as well, so you'll no longer have to scan your ID card into a Google Form in order to be signed in to a Flex class. Our goal is to integrate all the various processes of attendance and other school management tools into one centralized system.

              So far, we've set up a device in the engineering room for early testing, and we continue to work on features as we test it. We haven't forgotten about everyone else, though, so don't worry; we plan to roll it out to the rest of the school as soon as we can.

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by Prem Giridhar (11)

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