Immediately after seeing the littleBits kit I was perplexed on what circuits could be made. Each piece looked unique and odd. After finding the booklet with the descriptions of all the pieces we began to get a idea of what could be done. The initial tutorial we did was very enjoyable. Putting all the pieces together and seeing it work was very satisfying. However, after being tasked with creating a device for a child who was learning to cook we began to ponder what we could make. The primary idea we came to was a timer to sound when the oven was on or was on after a certain amount of time. The counter seemed like a perfect piece to use for this idea. We wanted it to count down in which after it hits 0 the alarm goes off and the child would come to check up on the stove. However, after some tinkering we noticed that the counter couldn’t really do what we wanted. One minor issue we ran into was that since some extra electronics were added we didn’t have descriptions of what they did. Fortunately, after doing more prototyping we were able to find a piece to fit our needs.
One of the major problems we found as stated above is we had issues finding a type of count down system. At first we wanted to use the counter and have it count down to 0 and sound the alarm. However, we had no way of having it count down each individual number. To do that we wanted, we would need a separate “tick” to make the counter move each time. A continuous circuit wouldn’t create that unfortunately. We were able to find a piece called “timeout” which actually had an internal timer. When we plugged it into our system it would automatically do a countdown to let the current go through.
This way after a certain amount of time the alarm sounds requiring for the button to be pressed to reset the device. If we could do something differently I would definitely say using a different user. Immediately after choosing the user all our ideas centered around some sort of countdown. While this isn’t necessarily bad I would have liked to have a wider spectrum of ideas to pull from.
Is this prototype usable for its audience?
I would say yes. At it’s current state there are only 3 interactive units on the device. One being the on/off button which is fairly simple. Another being the button which resets the device, and the last being the time between each alarm. Having such simple controls allows for even children to use this device. This way, when they are cooking their is no confusion on how to use the product. In addition, parents can feel a little bit better when their child is cooking alone. In addition, this device isn’t just for kids, but could also be for parents. Everyone is subject to forgetfulness and this device could come in handy for those who might not always remember to turn off the stove after cooking. While the intended audience is children, people from all ages can use the product.