The Final Sprint: Prototype Design

Nikita and I sketching out our protoype.

Our First Design Steps

In our final sprint, we decided to create a prototype to help combat pet obesity. We experimented with trial and error to create a machine that could entertain the pet enough to get them to leave their couch and run after a ball. To find out which littleBits pieces would work the best for them, we began randomly stringing them together just to see how each of the pieces connected with each other. It made the process a lot easier by being able to read the instructions that each littleBits kit includes, in order to see which pieces did what. We could have improved our experience by getting debriefed in class about what happens for each piece, instead of going blindly into the assignment.

Our prototype set up before the pet sits on the couch.

Looking Back At It

One disadvantage of this product that we designed is the inability for us to reload and retract the system without another human present. Currently the arm that I designed will only throw the toy once, and there is no way for the pet to reload it, which is a problem if the owner is gone for a long time. In future designs, I recommend that we try to find a way to reload the toy into the mechanical arm if the pet decides to sit back down. I believe that this product would be desirable for a pet owner, because it aids in keeping their pets active and healthy while their owners aren’t home.

What was the process like to choose a design for keeping pets active while their owners are gone?

Through our testing with different styles of prototypes, we created a machine that will aid these pets with continual daily exercise. It prevents them from sitting on the couch too long, and stimulates them with activities to keep them active. For example, we decided to create a machine that throws a toy across the room after the pet sits on the couch for too long. When the pet sits on the couch, a timer is released and waits one hour. After one hour, a throwing mechanism releases a toy (like a tennis ball or a feather cat toy) across the living room for the pet to chase.

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