The device we intend to create is an ambient device that notifies the owner of the air quality both inside and outside of the home. The target user expressed during the session that knowing indoor air quality would be very useful since he has no way of currently knowing it. He has a cat and a dog and would like to keep his apartment clean, but it is hard to know how clean it is on a given day. He and his wife also suffer from seasonal allergies, so outdoor quality would also be nice to know.
The device has a dust sensor to track indoor air quality. The outdoor information comes via a weather service through an IFTTT connection. The object presents as a small decorative “snow globe” that sits on the living room TV stand, which is the central gathering place in the home. Using 2 Neopixels, one inside and one outside, the lights change color to communicate air quality.
First Concept Sketch
During the initial prototype review, we gained some insight into how to improve the translation of information to users using the light cues. The original cue for outdoor air quality was on the “ground” outside of the house, and this was improved by making it an overhead light to be more representative of the outdoor air. We also moved the dust sensor inside of the structure in order for it to be more compact and aesthetically appealing, and we did this by making an air passage through the base of the structure where the sensor could sit. Finally, we constructed the whole device out of wood, and encased it in a clear plastic.
The goal of the final design was a minimalistic and aesthetically pleasing display. The device communicates when air quality inside or outside reaches a concerning level, and when noticed by the owner, can motivate a helpful action.