Don't you hate it when you get up from your desk at work to go to the bathroom, only to find out that all the stalls are occupied? I did, so I made a website that shows the current status of each stall. It normally looks something like this:
To make this possible, I installed a 433 MHz door/window sensor on each stall door. Somewhere nearby I put an ESP8266 module with a 433 MHz receiver board. Each time a stall door is locked or unlocked, the module gets a signal from the sensor and passes it on to a Firebase cloud function that saves the current state and timestamp in a database. Finally there's a website that reads the database and displays the current status for everyone to see.
Even though the sensors I used are normally meant to detect when a door (or window) is opened, what I really wanted to detect in this case is whether the doors are locked. I achieved that using a zip tie and a neodymium magnet attached to the door lock:
What's nice about these sensors is that they're cheap, require no modification, and will run on a single AAA battery for many months. One thing to keep in mind is that it's important that the sensors send a signal every time they detect a state change in any direction, not just when they detect that the door/window has just been opened. Not all of the sensors on the market do that and sometimes it's not clear from the description.
The ESP8266 board I used was a Wemos D1 mini clone, here's what it looks like with the 433 MHz receiver board:
The rest is software, the ESP8266 is running an Arduino sketch and the web part uses Firebase. You can see the whole thing here. The cloud function part isn't strictly necessary, the ESP8266 could write to the Firebase database directly, but it was much easier for me to do it this way.
Right now I'm only using the website to know if the bathroom is occupied, but it might be interesting to gather some statistics, such as the average time people spend in the bathroom or how likely it is to be occupied depending on time of day.