Tao Tao: Final Project Ideas & Preliminary Lists

The final project approaches!! I must face my continued fear of arduino, coding, and all things technological.

I loved looking through past projects—so many cool inventions. Three of my favorites were:

  • Nigel’s Turn Off & Tune In rug (shuts off all devices so you can focus when you meditate)
  • Fortune Machine – prints out a fortune with fingerprint trigger
  • Location & Food Clock – shared clock with mom; shows school/work/traveling and student can alert phone as to whether they’ve eaten meals so mom knows <3 (I know my mom would loooooove this)

For my initial brainstorm, I thought about some of the tools and functions I saw in previous projects, and also considered projects I’ve worked on, or are currently working on, in other classes.

Idea 1: Interactive Two-Person Microphone

In 3DPD 1, I created this whimsical microphone designed for two people. Erica had the awesome idea of turning it into a working microphone as my final project. This would mean figuring out the audio (wireless? connected to a cord? I don’t actually know how microphones work??), and considering IoT possibilities — does something activate or upload? Does it make a sound when a certain word is uttered (think: birdsong, ice cream truck music, a fart noise…)

My ultimate goal with this microphone (name TBD — taking suggestions!) is to have something I can send to the guy behind Recess Therapy (an idea from Emma!). I think it would be so fun to see this microphone in action with kids in their interviews.

Prelim list of materials:
– Would I want to embed small microphones within mine to avoid having to build my own microphone?
– Would the foam material need to be something else (polyurethane?)
– I could build elements out of acrylic and wood
– This is honestly over my head

Idea 2: Household Chore Clock

Inspired by the Food & Location clock, this is a chore clock meant to track and serve as a (public) accountability mechanism for household chores, whether between family members or roommates.

Instead of times, there are chores (if a digital clock, these could be edited), such as clean bathroom and take out trash. These tasks would be synced with a digital spreadsheet, where tasks and periods of time are automated. The clock would also be linked to either an app or the same spreadsheet where participants confirm once they’ve completed their chore.

Prelim list of materials:
– Clock face, frame, and hands can be made from wood and/or acrylic
Servo motor
Adafruit Feather HUZZAH with ESP8266 WiFi
– An account on Adafruit IO
– An account on IFTTT
– Soldering equipment & wires

Idea 3: Bodega Prompt Machine
This concept is linked to a project I’m working on in our Climate Entrepreneurship class, which encourages more engagement with bodegas and bodega staff. It would involve either a fingerprint or motion sensor, and would dispense either: fun facts about the neighborhood or recommendations for local establishments, or fun facts or questions about the bodega staff. This would (ideally) prompt more interaction with the bodega staff and/or the local community and businesses—overall, helping learn more about your neighborhood.

Alternatively, Allan suggested chatting with a bodega owner and seeing what sort of IoT mechanism or device would be helpful to them in some aspect of running the bodega.

Look into:
Bodega whiteboards (people write down what they want)

– Not at checkout (too crowded/busy) – somewhere else that still gets foot traffic
– What’s the purpose?
– QR code (how is that better than something on the wall?); survey for what products
– Why is it interactive?
– Product suggestions – digital replacement for whiteboard
– thermal printer no good (avoid this)
– machine would be a screen ($40 on Adafruit)
– User can send to SMS / submit a message; Adafruit-IFTTT can print to screen
– Could be simpler interactive, Choice A or B (buttons); could also be mini questions, surveys (do you want more of this? less of this? is it about the products in the store or local recommendations). One simple interaction
– This week’s poll: Which flavor of… do you want? Rotates every hour/day etc. Makes you feel like your bodega is listening to you. Can show products they already carry, but different flavor/size options. Maybe products they’re thinking of carrying. (Already have sales data.) Suggest something we haven’t listed? Scan this QR code.
– Mr Mango, Mr Coco, Mr Melon – one of these might have a whiteboard (all owned by the same Korean family)
– Buy Adafruit TFT – follow instructions/tutorial (Adafruit GFX Library). Maybe 3D print some caps for buttons.

Final version is due: Tue, December 6 // Tue, December 13
Promoting project from Dec 6–13

Prelim list of materials:
– Wood for machine structure
– Miniature printer
– Motion sensor

Idea 4: Smart Lamp – No phone in bedroom
This bedside smart lamp is motion activated, and will not turn on until you’ve put your phone in another room (or at least a certain number of feet away).

This is to reinforce healthier phone-bedroom habits, as lots of studies show that not having your smartphone in your bedroom at night improves sleep, mental health, etc etc et.

Prelim list of materials:
– Lamp materials (depends on lamp style)
– Probably not pursuing this idea…