In this system diagram, we can see how each device is communicating with one another within the Particle API. One device’s tilt sensor is manipulated, which causes that device to send an availability signal to the other connected devices and activate their vibration motors. At this point, the users receiving the signal would have the option to tap on their devices to activate the pressure sensors which would indicate their availability and request acceptance. From there, the API would send an Zoom link via text message to all available users to invite them for a casual socializing break from work.
Prototype: Tilt Sensor
Our process in putting creating our prototype was to get each component working on its own before putting them together. We started with the tilt sensor by getting it to turn on an LED when it was straight up, and turn it off when it was tilted over. The tilt sensor is what would need to be manipulated by a user to send out the first initial of availability. When tilted 30+ degrees, a small, metal ball inside connects the two terminals together. The Serendipicube uses the tilt sensor to trigger an alert to other users - “I’m ready for a coffee break!
Then, we got the vibration motor working and experimented with the different speeds in order to determine the ideal intensity with which we would want our prototype to shake and sound when it alerted users that a connected acquaintance was available to chat. Output from a small weight motor creates a strong vibration. The Serendipicube uses the vibration motor to actually alert others that a loose acquaintance is ready for a coffee break.
We then put the tilt sensor and the vibration motor together on one breadboard and programmed the vibration motor to activate if the tilt sensor’s state was changed to high. The Serendipicube prototype combines the alerting (input) feature of the tilt sensor - user turns over or shakes their cube - with a cube vibration notification (output) to other cube owners.
We wanted the receiving device to vibrate only for a few seconds any time that the signaling device’s state was changed, rather than a continuous vibration only when the signaling device’s tilt sensor was high. With a lot of experimentation and a little bit of help, we were able to prototype two devices that did exactly that.
We wanted the device to take the form of décor that users would want to have placed on or by their desk so we used a hollow acrylic box and wood vinyl to roughly design a small wooden box that would interact well with the vibration motor. Finally, we encountered our biggest challenges at our next steps: networking the devices and timing the vibrations right.
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