12/2 Device Prototyping
Natty and I only got through two of the littleBits tutorials, before creating our prototype, so I feel that we could have taken more time to get to know the kit’s capabilities. The tutorials we did had fewer components than our prototype design. So, we essentially took the two to three component prototypes and connected to make a larger prototype. Learning how each of those little parts worked together, with one input and one output used at a time, helped us to understand how multiple inputs and outputs would work in our prototype. We to answer the research question, “How can technology make learning to cook safer for children?,” because that seemed easiest for us to brainstorm a solution.
We started by deciding how the device would sensor the children’s presence. A light detector made the most sense. We designed the prototype step-by-step. If the light detector sensed light (i.e. no one is standing in front of the stove), then it would turn on the temperature sensor. If the temperature of the stove was over 220 ℉ (past the point for water to boil), an alarm could alert the child who left the stove unattended.
We had difficulty in deciding what order to put the littleBits components in. A TA suggested to include the threshold bit to set a maximum temperature, which would set off the alarm. We could get the light sensor to work, but had trouble with the temperature sensor. Since the temperature sensor wasn’t alerted, the alarm didn’t sound. If we had a blow dryer or another heating device to activate the temperature sensor, we probably could have better tested our prototype.
Below, you can watch the video explaining our Safe System Alarm prototype.
Overall, I think this concept would make learning to cook a safer activity for children. Concerning feasibility, most technological devices nowadays includes at least one of these types of sensors, if not all. The Safe System Alarm prototype provides an educational and safe tool for parents to use when teaching their kids to cook. Most parents ultimately want their kids to be safe, especially in their home, which is what makes this device so desirable. This device works on its own and should be easily connectable to a stove, if it doesn’t already come with it, which provides usability.
My biggest concern is that parents might leave their kids alone to cook. Depending on their age, that might not be a great idea. This concept is first activated by light (no human standing in front of the stove), which means that, if a kid is standing at the stove the whole time, cooking unattended, they could still burn themselves. We didn’t design the system to activate at raised temperatures when a kid is standing at the stove. We had difficulties deciding which components to include, so we left that scenario out of our design process. If we were to develop on this project, I would try to figure out how to make that part of teaching a kid to cook safer.
What did you like about this project?
I enjoyed brainstorming with my partner, Natty. We both provided helpful ideas and worked together equally to bring our design process to life. I also enjoyed playing around with the littleBits kit. I haven’t created prototypes such as this before. There’s something special about seeing your own design process in a tangible form. Using littleBits, I got to interact with our design too, which I found to be super cool.