Device Prototyping

Friday ~ 2 December 2016

What did we do?

In this week’s studio, we focused on prototyping. We worked with a prototyping kit called LittleBits, with which we created small and simple inventions with battery, input, output, and connector electronic building blocks.

Familiarizing ourselves with LittleBits

After getting familiar with the several different parts, our next exercise was to create a prototype of a device that can be used by a specific user. My partner and I decided to create a prototype for cat and/or dog owners who are often away from home and are concerned of their animals’ health and well being. We decided to create a device that automatically senses a cat’s idleness; if the cat has been in the same position for a while, it will trigger a signal to turn on a laser pointer that will instantly move in a pattern on the floor.

Concept design of a prototype that senses cat idleness, triggering a laser pointer

How the device will sense a cat’s idleness was initially sensed by a motion sensor. However, due to limited electronic parts, my partner and I decided to opt for a temperature sensor. This sensor will measure the temperature of a certain bedding (which the cat is on) and after it reaches a certain temperature, it will automatically turn on the laser pointer. This will intrigue the cat to get up from its comfy position and chase after the red dot. The temperature will then slowly drop and as it reaches a certain temperature, the laser pointer will turn off and the cat can rest.

Reflection on Experience

  • What surprised me? It was a little bit surprising to see a kit that was accessible and usable for people who may not have been familiar with electronics and its modular schematics. Working with LittleBits was exciting in that I was able to create a small functioning device.
  • What challenged you? Creating a device for a specific user was fairly challenging considering I was still getting familiar with the device prototyping kit. In addition, we were limited to the type of parts, therefore, my partner and I had to use other parts as substitutes to create our prototype. Another challenge was for my deliverable. It was somewhat difficult finding a clear and concise way to explain my device prototype and its users, usability, feasibility, and desirability in 90 seconds or less.
  • What would you like to explore? I would like to learn more about prototyping. Our studio was more of an introduction to prototyping, which familiarized us with the basics of device prototyping. However, I am interested in the next processes of prototyping and how a prototype can be created into a final product.
  • One question that I would like to explore is: As previously said, I would like to explore how a prototype can be created into a final product.

What did you enjoy?

I enjoyed using LittleBits, because it was interesting being able to create simple and easy device prototypes that are functional. It was also enjoyable to explore outside of the LittleBits tutorial and try to create our very own prototype with the basic knowledge we now have of the prototyping kit.

Enjoying working with LittleBits

Future Application?

I believe that LittleBits or any other modular electronics kit is very useful for any inventors endeavoring to create some final product usable and desirable by the world. It definitely gives people a basic understanding of how their device will work and how they can be improved to be more feasible, more desirable, and more usable.

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