Device Prototyping — HCDE 210

The author is working on the prototype with a partner

Learn to build an electronic prototype

For this week’s assignment, our goal is to develop a prototype prompted by a specific design challenge. We will need to build a prototype system by using a tool called littleBits. I am good at making the littleBits since I had used similar electronic circuits when I was a child. First, we need to figure out what components are currently available in the littleBits. Then it was time to choose between research situations. We picked up a research question, which is, when children learn to cook, how to remind them not to forget to turn off the cooking appliances before leaving the kitchen. Next, we came up with ideas together that it requires a detecting system and a reminder system.

How does the prototype work?

The prototype of alarming system

The prototype system consists of a power source, a switch which connects with the door, an IR transmitter mounted on the wall and an MP3 with a speaker. Every time the child is about to leave the kitchen after cooking, the transmitter will detect him/her 5 meters from getting out of the door. Then the MP3 player will be on and play mother’s voice to remind the child to turn off the stoves. As long as the child goes back to check the cooking appliances and finish closing the kitchen door, the alarm will be off.

Here is our video introducing the prototype:


How did we deal with the project if the studio time was not enough?

During the studio, I worked with my partner Khairul Rashed. When the research problem first came out. I generated several solutions to the problem. Then I shared my thoughts with him. My partner explained since we did not have enough time, it was important to pick up a direct and simple solution. Next, we came up with the IR transmitter and mp3 speaker idea, which is more of a mechanical way to deal with the problem. Then after studio, we worked together to record out voices and make a short film to simulate the situation.

Teamwork after the studio

Thoughts of improvement after the studio

Because the studio time was short and we were working in groups, I could not come up with more complexed ideas as fast as possible. Then it raised a question: The simple alarm system still goes off even if the parents have turned off the stove because it detects everyone passing by the exit of the kitchen. It makes the system annoying. How do we deal with it?

I personally had an idea of the improvement for the alarming system by adding a temperature sensor nearby the stoves. Because as long as the temperature of the stove is not high, which means the child have already shut down the stove, the reminding system will not work. It enhances the effectiveness and stability of the whole detection system and reduces the times it annoys people even if they have turned off the fire.

The temperature sensor
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