Laundry Time!

Made by Sisi Yu

Found in DioT 2019: Augmented Objects

Smart laundry bag that tells you when its time to do laundry. When your laundry is getting full, it will automatically send a calendar event and block out time during a busy work day.



Write about the big ideas behind your project? What are the goals? Why did you make it? What are your motivations?

"It is so frustrating when I forget to schedule time for laundry pickup" - Connie

Connie is a 23 year old female living with roommates in Brooklyn. She commutes 40 minutes to work every day and loves living in the city. However, when I started to talk to Connie about frustrations she experiences, she quickly mentions how much she hates the process of doing laundry. In New York City, it is a luxury to have in building laundry and the closest laundromat is at least 15 minutes away. This is why she resorts to laundry service, but she would have to remember to call ahead and be at home when they pick up her laundry. She tries to do her laundry at least once every three weeks in the winter but often forgets coordinate time ahead of time for pick up before her laundry bag gets too full. 

Through leading a Co-Design exercise, we brainstormed potential ideas and outlined her main pain points. It is my goal to come up with a simple and "magical" solution that would potentially make scheduling laundry less painful. 



After sketching out different ideas and browsing for inspirations online, I decided to create a smart laundry hamper that once it gets to a certain fullness, it would notify you and automatically a schedule a calendar event. This way, when Connie is at work, she is able to be reminded that she needs to be home early that day to schedule laundry pickup. 



I took inspiration from sites such as Ada-fruit, Arduino and Instructables. I loved seeing what others have made although I didn't come across a project attempting to set laundry reminders.

 My project is essentially broken down into three pieces:

1. Need sort of sensor that would detect the weight of laundry bag or distance to the top. (Originally, I wanted to use a load cell for 10Ib, but I decided that I would need to be detecting a large enough surface area) 

2.  A way to measure the distance to the top of the laundry hamper and a way to document it so it would trigger an action once it gets to a certain distance

3. A way to then connect and send the user a reminder 

While building the circuit I encountered different issues:

1. I had to try and compare different sensors, but ultimately I chose to use the SHARP distance sensor 

2. Calibration error. I soon realized that the results I was getting for distance would be huge numbers that did not make much sense. Hence I had to come up with a formula to convert the values to a scale that is legible. 




Circuit Diagram

The components I used are:

- Distance sensor

- Red LED

- White LED 

#include "Particle.h"
#include "math.h"

int infraSensorPin = A0;
int ledPin = D2; 
int ledPin2 = D3;
int distance = 0; 

void setup() {
    Particle.variable("distance", distance); // Send variable to cloud
    pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT);
    pinMode(ledPin2, OUTPUT);

void loop() {
   int volts_1 = analogRead(A0);
   //int calculated = (6762/(reading-9))-4;

   int volts = (3.3*(volts_1-900))/2000;  // value from sensor * (5/1024)
   int distance = 320/(1+10*volts);
   //int distance = 13*pow(volts, -1); // worked out from datasheet graph
      digitalWrite(ledPin, HIGH); // turn on red LED
      digitalWrite(ledPin2, LOW); // turn off white LED
  } else {
      digitalWrite(ledPin, LOW); // turn off red LED
      digitalWrite(ledPin2, HIGH); // turn on white LED 
  Particle.publish("volts", String(volts));
  Particle.publish("distance", String(distance));
Click to Expand

Recorded results on Particle Console 

The console logs the different distances the sensor records when I move my hand up and down. 


Configuring IFTTT

Then I proceeded to connect to IFTTT. I created a new Applet that connects to Google Calendar. I formatted it so that when the distance variable is under 15cm, I would get a calendar event in my calendar to do laundry. See below for the video demo. 


Final Demo


Next Steps

Going forward, I would want to be able to add functionality to keep track of the items of clothing in the bag and being able to sort the light and darks. Additionally, it would also be useful to keep track of small items such as socks and underwear 



I thought the exercise is a really good introduction to using sensors and integrating it within the personal home. The main challenge would be how to integrate it seamlessly into everyday life in a way that is creative that non-intrusive. Perhaps even extending a connection to the office space. Maybe when the laundry needs to be done, it triggers an ambient light at Connie's work desk to subtly remind her to do laundry. 


User Feedback

I sent the demo video to my friend Connie and she really loved the idea of getting a reminder in her calendar that prevents her from double booking friends when she needs to do laundry. An area I would focus on also would be she has a hanging laundry bag, so the attachment might be difficult.  

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49713 Designing for the Internet of Things

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A hands-on introductory course exploring the Internet of Things and connected product experiences.


Smart laundry bag that tells you when its time to do laundry. When your laundry is getting full, it will automatically send a calendar event and block out time during a busy work day.


January 31st, 2019