An interactive and customizable light system

that indicates flow of time quietly.

A Little Jar of Time

MY ROLE

Arduino Programming

Build Circuit

Interaction Design

TEAM MEMBERS

Can Zhao

Xinbei Hu

Me

Time

2 Weeks

Class

Prototyping Studio

Problem Setting

Setting a timer is common in everyday scenarios - in presentations, meetings, and at work. However, in some scenarios digital timers might have negative effects triggered by the precise display of time or the alarming sound.

 

Alarm Anxiety​

People feel anxious triggered by precise time display and alarming sound.

Quiet Place

Alarming sound disturb others and too intrusive for a non urgent task.

Meeting

Alarming sound would interrupt the conversation during meeting.

HOW MIGHT WE

Help people set up a quiet timer without being intrusive and disturbing to ongoing tasks and surroundings?

Design Solution

Timer

The light flow serves as you customizable timer. 

Reset

To reset the timer, simply  tilt the jar.

Bluetooth

Connect the light wirelessly to your phone to customize the time.

Time

change is indicated by rise of light

Flip

the jar to reset the time then the light start filling from the bottom.

 

 

Connect

your light wireless through bluetooth to customize the

timer

Product Solution & Material

LED Strips

8.6 cm

Button

Switch and Bluetooth

Materials

Tactile Button Switch*2

Bleached Mulberry Paper*2

Individual Addressable 144 LED light strips*2

Clear Acrylic Sheet

Tilt Ball Switch*1

PLA(3D printed Caps)*2

Arduino Uno

Breadboard and Wires

Button

Base

Lampshade

8.6 cm

21 cm

LED Light

Design Process

Ideation

Hardware

Programming

3D Modeling and Printing

Gluing and

Integration

Ideation

We ideate different shapes of hourglass as the container of light. We wanted to use the form of hourglass to represent the concept of flowing time. Afterwards, due to the limitation of technology, it’s hard to have LED strips fit the hourglass shape, we compromised to use a cylinder shape.

Hardware Programming

Two strips of LED lights are powered by Arduino board. Each LED is programmed to have its blinking speed corresponded to timing duration

Form Making

Considering its organic texture and diffusion ability, we use Mulberry paper as the light cover. (figure 1) We 3D model and print the two base. (figure 2)Inside the light, we laser cut 27 rings on a clear acrylic sheet and glue them together to build the body of the jar.(figure 3,4)

4

4

1

2

3

Integration

We put all LED light strips inside the jar and assemble all wires and components together. Power it, it works!

User Test

1 female and 3 males are recruited on the prototype. Their age range from 20 to 30 years old. 1 is a student from UW; 3 works in Seattle based companies. We recruited these four people because of their level of technology literacy and their professional working experience in technology.

Procedure

 

Tasks

After the jar was preset for 1 minute, we compared 2 modes of light by asking

our participants to 

1. spot differences in given pictures 

2. talk to the moderator about their work

For each of the task, we asked the participants to turn on or reset the jar and remind the moderator when time was up. 

 

Two Light Modes
Mode A: Light rises up from bottom to top and gradually fills the whole bottle. When time is up, the pulsing light lasts until the user turns it off.

Mode B: Light rises up from bottom to top. When time is up, the light turns off automatically.

3

2

1

Insights

The power button should be resigned to be more reactive to tapping and have buttons at both top and bottom

When participants are asked to turn on the jar, 3 out of 4 needed guidance to "press harder." P3 and P4 used both hands to press the power button. P2  tap the top of the jar to switch on, and P4 verbally expressed the same intention. we inferred that the button should be tappable on the top and bottom of the jar.

 

Inverting the jar to reset the time is desirable, but the size and shape of the jar should be optimized ergonomically

When we asked the participants to flip the jar to reset, 4 out of 4 expressed different levels of compliments. However, in the debrief session, 3 out of 4 mentioned that the jar was too big to be inverted easily. 

 

Participants did not notice that time was up until they finished the tasks in both prototypes. 

P2 and P4 was focusing on the given task and did not notice time was up with both prototypes immediately. Whereas when talking to the moderator, he ended the conversation when he noticed that time was up. They claimed that they preferred Prototype B because it was more obvious to them.

Video Demo

NEXT PROJECT

©2018 by Victoria Song.