Prototyping Process Blog
In this week’s studio, we got to practice with device prototyping using the prototyping system LittleBits. It was a little overwhelming when we first saw these different components. However, we quickly found that they were not hard to deal with at all. We played around and got familiar with the kit using the instruction poster. With the help from the descriptions of the components, we quickly had a better sense of the kit. We then built a few simple prototypes such as alarms and music player. When it was time to built our own prototype project, we already had some ideas of what we wanted to do. We chose to do a prototype to help the busy pet owners to control their pets’ diets. We did a few sketches about the flow of control and decided which components we wanted to use. The prototype mainly consists of a power source, a light sensor, a timeout and a buzzer. Our idea was to make the pet go away using the buzzing sound if it keeps eating for too long. The light sensor can sense if the pet starts eating from its bowl and the timeout will count how long the pet eats. Then the buzzer will go off if the pet eats too much. We thought the prototype was feasible and desirable because it uses the light sensor and the buzzer to stop the pet from eating too much when the pet owner is not physically at home. But the prototype could be improved because we were not sure if the buzzing would really make the pet go away. (Youtube link :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZz1_gNAZ3U）
I liked this project especially the LittleBits kit. It was really fun to play around with. At the same time, the kit was also very simple and efficient. We could easily build up prototypes using the few components. However, we did have a little trouble with the timeout component because it was kind of confusing to use. But we figured it out after reading the instruction carefully.
Device prototyping is definitely important in the design process. I think all the electronic devices will need prototyping to test out feasibility and usability. No matter if the device is simple or complicates such as a flashlight, which needs very simple components, or a robot which is fairly complicated. But they all need device prototyping to let the developers to do usability tests. Overall, device prototyping is absolutely necessary in the process of designing. I expect to practice it more in the future.