Smart Object / IoT Device
MFA Products of Design, School of Visual Arts / Guidance from Becky Stern / Fall 2016
| Digital Hourglass Helps You Save Water! |
PixelGlass is an hour-glass-inspired digital timer that uses a PIR (Passive Infrared Sensor) motion sensor to measure time. I became interested in ways to decrease water usage earlier in the semester, and wondered, " Could I create an Internet-of-Things device that would measure my time in the shower and motivate me to shorten it—thereby saving water? ”
Here’s how PixelGlass works:
Inside the clear acrylic case is a PIR sensor, which connects to an Arduino Wifi. The device is “aimed at the person taking the shower,” and the duration of the shower is measured based on their motion. The data is then stored on Adafruit.io as a feed. When the person leaves the shower stream area, the device stops timing, and sends a notification to the user via text message, email, or Twitter using the IFTTT platform.
For this project, an SMS reminder seemed like the perfect reporting method, but people might want to use other notification options—tweeting out your shower time, or triggering an audible sound on your cellphone. Since the device is near the shower, the sound could be your cue for ending your wash-up.
Process and Inspiration
Using Adobe Illustrator to draw the design of Pixel glass, I then used a laser cutter to generate the shapes out out the transparent acrylic. Stacking the layers, I was able to build up the 3-dimensional form. There’s something kind of ‘pixelated’ about the layers, so I thought that that would be a poetic match to the low resolution of the device.
The project was Inspired by Fei-Fei Li’s TED Talk about how we are teaching computers from a set of data (and how they process a particular kind of data), as well an article in Forbes about LiFi—a category of Visible Light Communication. It was also gratifying to use the project to gain a deeper grasp of the relationship between the Internet of Things and data, learning an important lesson: “Utilizing the data in creative ways is very different from just collecting that data.”
Instructable here for this project, and perhaps be inspired to build your own!