Software apps and online services
Hand tools and fabrication machines
With this current outbreak, most humans are confined to their homes. Such a scenario poses the following problems -
- Severe Trade and Air travel restrictions.
- Laying-off and unemployment has seen an exponential increase after the industries were shut down to enforce social distancing.
- Sharing of fake news and chaos is observed with most people having nothing to do except sit home and get bored.
- Restricted human commutation Collaborative efforts are not possible due to commutation and trade problems. People have to get things done with what they have individually and locally.
- Uneven Work Distribution is observed with a vast majority of the public sitting idle while the remaining minority slogs 24/7 to treat the never-ending line of patients.
- Uneven sharing of resources causes people to break rules and commit wrongdoings for getting supplies if they don't have them and cannot access them in such a scenario.
- Unused machines and vehicles due to closed down factories and routes cause significant losses to the economy.
- Paper Currency is feared to act as one of the main spreaders of the virus because unlike mobile phones and credit cards, notes change many hands.
While people are complaining lack of things to do at home and the effect on the economy due to the lockdown, there are some things that are being overlooked -
- Lockdown is mainly intended for preventing virus transmission. However, if we can devise a way that makes sure that the interaction between machines and other machines (or humans) replaces the interactions between a human and another human, it can effectively cut down the transmission rate without disrupting normal functioning. In fact, here we are looking at maximizing M2M interactions, minimizing M2H interactions and almost nil H2H interactions.
- Secondly, the lack of resources can be avoided if there is a sharing of raw materials and supplies between people and industries via these machine channels we talked about before. The void of resources is created after industries shut down or the channels to share these resources are closed/restricted.
- Third, there are far more vehicles available for lending to a few authorized personnel that can make deliveries in case driverless vehicles cannot fulfill the need in a particular city. Open roads can prove to make it even safer and faster for driverless vehicles to operate.
- Fourth, In such scenarios, coordination problems and chaos, misinformation, etc are quite rampant due to the lack of a single, unified, solid, authentic and credible platform that verifies each and every data value, transaction and action.
What is needed is a system that helps host services that connect the world on a single interface. Someplace where all transactions, data, service contracts, etc. can be stored in a machine-readable format; A platform where all the users and providers can be accommodated without crashing the network; Where all services are checked for authenticity and suitability to the user's requirement and so on. And all this should be delivered in record time irrespective of the total traffic engaging with the platform. The users and providers can be Machines and humans, the services can be data sourcing, asking machines to run errands or lease/share parts to build things collaboratively - anything one might need. A system that keeps a track of everything but does not fall under any single entity, instead it is used and verified by everyone that is a part of it. All this is done via e-wallet and cryptocurrency technology.
This is something that IOTA and the ECl@ss system does. We will now build a system using the very skeleton of the IOTA network to achieve all this.IOTA and E-Cl@ss
IOTA is a cryptocurrency very different from other cryptos, mainly in its authentication and consensus architecture which it calls - The Tangle. This architecture, unlike traditional blockchains, grows faster with the increase in the users. This is because more users mean more verifiers, and more verifiers call for faster verification since each user verifies 2 transactions in return to get their own transaction verified. This means there are no miners involved and hence no commission. This unique approach makes IOTA the ideal pick for merging crypto and IoT together.
ECl@ss, on the other hand, is more of a standard that attempts to bring Industry 4.0 to a whole new level by enforcing Machine Readable Contracts. This makes it possible for machines to interact and transact without human intervention, in a controlled manner. Recently IOTA collaborated with ECl@ss to launch the first Industrial Marketplace prototype - A platform that uses IOTA to authenticate and conduct machine and human transactions. On this platform, any number of users can interact to provide or hire services for their benefit. All of this at no verification cost! This is what makes the Industry marketplace a game-changer and we will modify it a bit to suit our needs and develop a special 'Lockdown' marketplace.
- Buyer/Seller: A machine or a human having something to buy or sell. He/She/It will also act as a verifier and validator.
- Service: It can be an errand (completed when deliverables are received) or a subscription (completed after the service is enjoyed for the prescribed time). It can be selling of data, verification of data, delivery of supplies, renting of hardware, etc.
- Contract Standard: ECl@ss
- Network: Tangle
- Currency: (M)IOTA
Our system comprises of 3 nodes, running on the same local server. 2 nodes are made out of Beaglebone Blacks and 1 node is an RPi 3B+. The packaging bot and the parking station nodes are connected to monitor displays while the delivery bot is autonomous.
Each node is connected to sensors and actuators like Servos, US sensor (SR04), DC motors, etc. Once the transaction between the nodes has been complete, and the required conditions are sensed by the sensors, the actuators are activated and the task is performed for which the transaction was performed, thereby completing the contract.
The details of each node have been shown in the figure below:
The nodes interact with each other as follows:
- The packaging bot starts its local server and provides a payment option to anyone on the tangle net for a service - Providing a package (possibly from customs or courier department) to an authorized node (to which that package is addressed) after it pays for the customs duty.
- Once a user does that payment using the QR code, provided on the marketplace, the autonomous delivery bot is assigned a contract by the packaging bot to deliver the package to the end customer the package is addressed to. Once the payment from node 1 (packaging bot) to node 2 (delivery bot) is made, the delivery bot leaves to collect the package from the packing bot, which drops the package once the US sensor senses the physical presence of the bot and its seed has been verified.
- Once the package is collected, the package is left at the end customer's address, i.e. the delivery location. Once the packet is collected by the end-user and the authorization formalities (seed verification, digital verification, etc.) have been done, its contract with the packaging bot is complete. It then leaves to find a parking slot at the parking station location fed in its system.
- Once the delivery bot finds a parking slot, it initiates payment to the parking node, which opens its gate once the payment is received. Hence a node 2 (delivery bot) to node 3 (parking gateway) contract is made here.
The entire process explained above has been shown in this video, integrated together demonstrating how even while adhering to lockdown rules, one can have packages delivered at their doorsteps with a single tap. The entire codebase has been provided as a Github repo, divided into separate folders for each node. The readme file provides all the necessary details to build and replicate this project.Conclusion
With the advent of autonomous vehicles, renewable energy and self-driving cars, such a system is becoming not just practical but also necessary. This pandemic has shown us the flaws that exist in our present logistic infrastructure and channels, and it is now up to us to revolutionize it so that even while sitting at our homes we are able to support our economy and growth.