Blog - Sketching with Hardware

Day 1 – Creating an unnerving home

Published on: | Author: Christopher Masurek | Categories: 2018b, Daily Logs

After two days of introduction, all participants were really hyped for the project topic and for creating their own revolution in the field of smart home assistance – while including some aspects the user would not except. The motivation across all groups was high, and the 30-minute brainstorming session birthed some promising ideas. Each team discussed their ideas in the group for exchanging or sharing some projects with the rest. Quickly, the first concrete ideas manifested and the teams started to draw, discuss and build their first prototypes. In the following, the group ideas, the planned features as well as their progress for the first day and their next steps will be documented.

Day 1: Humble beginnings

Team 1 had the idea to overthrow the whole clothing business by recoloring old pale shirts and dresses. Using a color sensor, the two planned to automatically detect the color of the given piece and spraying it with dye to rejuvenate the color. For their first steps, they wanted to use soy sauce for the color black and milk for the color white and add more colors during the project. By combining several base colors, the full rainbow spectrum should be made possible. To evenly distribute the colors, a range of fans were planned to be integrated, which helped to spray the color across the surface. Their further plan for the rest of the day was to evaluate what motors or fans could be used for their project and then buying a bunch of fans and parts for their case, since it needed to be large enough to hold any given piece of clothing.

Team 2 wanted to build a mouse trap which comforts the mouse rather than killing it. The idea was to build a „house for the mouse“, where the only resemblance to a traditional mouse trap was the self-closing door, after the rodent has entered the building. To access the house from anywhere and to reset the door in case of a false alarm, an internet connection should be integrated into the house. Another use for their planned Wi-Fi integration was the implementation of a webcam to check up the mouse. To comfort their planned guest, food, music and lighting was part of the blueprint. A small disco ball should motivate the mouse to do some dancing after eating the given food. Their daily goals were a blueprint of the house and a first prototype of the door for their mouse-house.

Team 2’s blueprints

Team 3 took their ideas into the kitchen and wanted to address one of the most controversial topics in most shared apartments – the dishes. By creating the „dish devil“ – a place to store all dirty kitchen accessories – each user should be forced to clean rather than to procrastinate. The idea was to create a sensing platform, which punishes the whole house if the dishes would stand on it for too long. By indicating the time since the first dish was put on the plate, a sense of urgency should be created. After a given time, the whole platform would just dump all of the dishes into the sink, combined with vibration and noise. In addition, the dish devil would post a tweet on the users account, indicating another failed time span of dish work. At 2 pm the team had worked out several possibilities of creating their construction and had built their initial indicator buttons for sensing the weight on the platform. The next step was to think of a way to lift heavy objects like plates and mugs, since normal servomotors were too weak for the task.

Replacing a servo with a “slightly” bigger motor

The idea of team 4 was to end world obesity by creating a snack bowl with personality, which decides by itself if the user should be allowed to treat himself. Their plan was to make it possible for the bowl to run away from the approaching hand. If the escape failed, the bowl should get angry and punish the user verbally for not obeying to the rules of the bowl. This should be made possible by an alarm system with sound and blinking leds. Their plan was to build a tabletop with magnets and a part of a CNC-Cutter for the movement. Using sensors, the plate would know where the arm is coming from and send the bowl to the opposite direction. Their daily goal was to further gather information and create a strategy before buying the plywood

Team 5 wanted to accelerate every woman’s morning by creating a makeup-machine that applies the users’ makeup in only a few seconds. For usage, the face had to be put inside of a wooden box, where powder, eye shadow and lipstick would be brushed and powdered against it. The construction should be made possible by a bunch of servomotors, two for each makeup-part, to make it symmetric. After half the day, the required makeup was already bought and their plans were conceived.

Colorful plans for the makeup-machine of team 5

Team 6 had also the plan to attack the global obesity problem by creating a smart body scale that compares the last measurements of the user. If he lost weight, it would celebrate, if not it would punish. For punishment, red light and a non-comforting sound should be played. As an additional incentive, a mirror should be mounted in front of the scale which would widen the users mirror image if his weight should have gone up. At noon, the team had already opened up their scale and had noticed that there was no clear way to read any weight off it. While waiting for the delivery of a chip that could solve their problem, the team decided to scan the contacts with an oscillator to find any other signal they could use.

Dissectioning a scale for further use

Team 7 tackled a day-to-day topic: Smartphones. By constant use, smartphones can get very dirty, that’s why the team decided to create a car wash for cellular devices. Like the real counterpart, the device should drive through a tunnel where several cleaning steps should be applied to it. Their planned cleaning measures were brushes or frays out of a microfiber cloth to clean the surface. After cleaning, the phone should land in a bowl of confetti to celebrate the new freshness. At noon, their plan was to buy a set of cleaning wipes and brushes to build their first crude prototype.

First tests with motors to use

Like the makeup-machine, team 8 wanted to speed up the users’ morning routine by building a breakfast machine that should bring joy to all cornflakes-enthusiasts and Instagram-addicts. Their goal was to automate the process of opening the cornflakes, pouring in the milk and personally adding a spoon to the whole mixture by throwing it all together at once. After the procedure would be completed, a picture of the creation should be taken and would be sent directly to all of the users’ followers. Their plans were competed at noon, the instructions for the laser cutter and all of the needed electronics were taught and their shopping list was set.Their next step was to collect the wood for the case.

Last but not least, team 9 wanted to take it a step further and attack obesity in the animal kingdom. Their use-case was a home with two cats, where one cat had a few more pounds on its hips then the other. By differentiating the cats with RFID-Tags, their food supply should be steered. To prevent the portly cat from stealing additional food, it should be sprayed with water. In addition to the separation, the fatter cat should work for its food by including a catapult-mechanism which throws its food across the room. After buying the RFID-Tags, the team started to get behind the needed technology to include it in their first prototype

Altogether, the team topics spread over a broad spectrum of home ideas, and every single team was highly motivated to make the most out of the following few days of cutting, building and soldering.

linked categories 2018b, Daily Logs

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