A study shows that 61% of US households now have WIFI. (TechCrunch)
So they started building…
“WiFi is short for Wireless Fidelity. WiFi is a wireless networking technology that allows computers, some mobile phones, ipads, game consoles, and other devices to communicate over a wireless signal.”(Bellis). It’s 2017 and everyone uses Wifi in their daily tasks.
Catalina and Joaquin could not live a day without using internet on their phones or with their computers. Joaquin Gonzalez and Catalina Mas were simply students when this idea came to them. Joaquin is from Madrid, Spain while Catalina Mas is from Bogotá, Colombia. They were born and lived their usual lives without knowing the existence of each other. In 2006, Joaquín moved from Madrid to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. He was 5 years old and unaware of the big change happening to him. Catalina moved from Mexico, her old home in 2012 and moved to Punta Cana. In this year, they both met and became friends. They both attended the same school, Cap Cana Heritage School (CCHS). They always kept a classmate relationship between each other until 2015, when they were in 9th grade when they became good friends.
The CCHS Science Fair happens every two years and it’s taken very seriously. The 2017 Science Fair was going to be different, it was going to be an Engineering Exposition. Catalina and Joaquin were both very lazy, they didn’t want to do another big project. Since the assignment was given when Catalina in Washington, D.C; Joaquin chose her as her partner for the Science Fair. Joaquin created a mind map with multiple ideas that could be an option for the Science Fair. When Catalina came back to Punta Cana, she saw the ideas and they both decided on doing the third option: a Wifi Signal Booster. They wanted to target a problem that affected the residents of Punta Cana, and the students of CCHS. This was a problem becausefor most of the work and projects students did they needed functioning internet. Joaquin and Catalina were one of the many children who whined about slow internet; but, they weren’t like the rest. They were planning on doing something about it. They wanted to make a change.
Catalina and Joaquin interviewed some of their classmates about the wifi signal in their houses/school, and if a DIY signal booster would improve their situations. We interviewed Nicole La Chapelle, a fifteen year old classmate who has a really big house and has problems with her wifi signal reaching her whole house. She said that she would actually like an alternative for her $80 bought wifi wireless signal booster. Also, they interviewed Erika Gonzalez, another fellow 15 year old classmate who has problems with her wifi signal in her house. She said that her signal doesn’t reach her room. Also, they asked their Science teacher Ms. Probst if she would also benefit from it. During the creation of the prototype they asked them if they would use it or built their own, they said that this would be extremely helpful especially in this school. Caty and Joaquin started building with three different prototypes. The first prototype they would create was made out of paper. They both search on the internet and found a website which showed a DIY signal Booster. From the same website where the found the information, Caty & Joaquin downloaded a template which explained how to build the prototype. They downloaded the template, one for each, and cut it as indicate in the template. After cutting everything as said and plugging in the two pieces the signal booster was almost finished. They added aluminum paper in the back of the booster since this made the signal expand and it was what made the signal booster work.
The second Signal booster they were going to build was created from a 2 Liter coca cola bottle. This one was more complex as well as bigger, so made it more difficult to build. The day before they build it, Joaquin went to the Nacional, a Local supermarket and bought the material: one Coca Cola bottle and aluminum paper. The next the they started building. With the help of Ms.Probst and Matteo Bobak’s knife they cut the bottle making a hole form the half to the bottom. Once they cutted the bottle the cover the hole with aluminum foil. Once they finished with that they made a hole on the tap that was where they were putting the antenna of the wifi. They finished the prototype by painting it black so it would look more professional. Finally, the last prototype was a cardboard one, this one was the one that was supposed to work the best. They started by cutting three pieces of cardboard. A big one of 36cmX15 cm, and two little ones 36cmX7cm. They pasted them together and covered the big piece with aluminum foil. Lastly, they painted the whole thing black for professionalism. They tested it with an application called Speed Test by Ookla. This was the moment they realized they had changed everything, they had created a disposable, DIY, and cheap wifi signal booster. The three prototypes resulted very useful and everyone was delighted with the wifi booster. The signal in Cap Cana Heritage improved a lot once they started using the inventions. Not only that but they were breaking news all over the country. A group of student were available to upgrade their school wifi signal. Their invention was such a success the whole world made notice of it, but there were better news yet to come. Apple the multimillionaire company wanted to buy the booster. Apple offered 200 million for all the prototype and Caty and Joaquin took them happily.
We started our brainstorm by thinking about problems targeting the people of Punta Cana/ Cap Cana. We came up with three ideas, a portable goalie, a groceries caddy, and a Wifi amplifier. These targeted athletes, everyone, and students.
We interviewed two CCHS students (Erika Gonzalez and Nicole La Chapelle) and one CCHS teacher (Meryl Probst). We asked them if a Wifi Signal Booster would help them with their problem. Some said they already had a signal booster; but, they were way too expensive.
These products are from online website such as Amazon or Ebay. The prices of these items are $20, $40 and $45 dollars. We wanted to make a cheaper, and easier version of these wifi boosters.
On our next step, we needed to find resources and items that could create a wifi signal booster from items found at home. We found a website called Instructables.com with three different DIY Wifi Signal Boosters.
Prototype 1- Paper
Print out the template found online
2. Cut out where the lines tell you too
3. Fold and put both parts together
4. Cover the back part with aluminum foil
5. Test it with a wifi antenna
6. Collect data with an app (Speed Test by Ookla)
Prototype 2- Plastic
1. Clean out the 2L plastic bottle
2. Remove the label
3. With a black marker, mark a ring around the bottom and a window that takes up just half of the diameter of the bottle
4. Cut in the lines of the bottle carefully with scissors or a knife
5. Line the inside of the bottle with aluminium and get it as smooth as possible
6.Make an X on the bottle cap and cut it. The antenna will go here
7. Put the reflector in the antenna and adjust it left or right until you see an improvement on the wifi signal
8. Use a wifi signal tester to check of the signal increased or stayed the same.
Prototype 3- Cardboard
1. Get a piece of cardboard 64cm x 30 cm and two 64cm x 8cm
2. Cover the big piece with aluminum foil on one side
3. Cut the other pieces so they fit the folded big part
4. Paint everything that wasn’t covered in aluminum in black paint for professionalism.
Strengths: Cheap materials, increases the signal, easy to make, etc.
Weaknesses: Not pretty, looks breakable, unprofessional looking, etc.