Prototyping, 12/1/16 Studio

This is a sketch of the user scenario that we considered. This sketch illustrates a child, who is learning to cook, leaving his or her food cooking on the heated stove. Our device then senses that the heat has been left on and alarms the children to come back and take care of the stove.

Helping Cook Safely

In studio, we considered a specific user to create a prototype for in order to help them solve a problem that they have. This user was a child who is learning to cook. Unfortunately, the child sometimes forgets to turn off the stove when he or she is done cooking. For this user, we decided to prototype a device that would alarm the child when they forget to turn off the stove. We created this prototype of this device using a tool called LittleBits. To start, we first had to identify all of the pieces we were given in the LittleBits kit. We then drew out our user scenario in order to focus on the challenge at hand. With this challenge, we then drew out a design for our prototype. After that, we built our prototype in the way that our design suggested. Overall, the designing of the device went really well. The concept that we came up with was fairly simple and very effective. The only thing that could’ve gone better is if the device performed at a higher level than it did. Some of our LittleBits parts didn’t quite have the advanced calibration level that would best suit our device. It works for the prototyping that took place, but for an actual product, a different method for building the device should be used. The link to our device’s video can be found here.

This is the prototype that we created. This device consists of a power source, a temperature sensor, a screen, a threshold knob, a light sensor, a switch, an LED light, and a buzzer. When a temperature that is beyond the set threshold is detected, the buzzer will sound and the LED light will shine, alerting the children to come back and turn off the stove or the oven.

Looking Back

We did have some problems with the threshold device. Ideally, the threshold device was supposed to set a certain temperature in which the device would alarm at. When the device sensed a temperature over the threshold limit, the buzzer was to sound and the LED light was to turn on. However, the threshold on the device was not very precise in its cutoff. We were not able to cause a temperature change large enough to cause the buzzer to sound with the tools we had available, no matter how precisely we set the dial on the threshold. I am left with one question after working through this prototyping process: what is the next step after completing a prototype? Can the idea be sold to a company who can make the device? In the future, before I create a prototype, I will brainstorm the problems that could occur in the testing phase of the prototype and then think of solutions to these problems before I begin.

What are some of the different ways to prototype?

There are many different ways to prototype. In this case, we worked with device prototyping. This way of creating a prototype allowed for a physical object to be created and tested for flaws and successes. Another way to create prototypes is through ideation or sketching. This way of prototyping allows for the quick generation of design ideas. A third way to prototype is through the creation of visualizations. This prototyping involves creating ways to view data in an organized and effective way. A forth way to prototype is through the designing apps for computers or smart phones. This, like with device prototyping, involves creating a prototype that can be tested for flaws and successes and can be later built upon through further revisions.

Cameron Trader

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