The main goal of this project was to learn more about minifying and adding battery/charging to "untether" an Arduino for an extended time. This was a fun personal project to build a better understanding of the embedded world, but also a fun way to surprise friends at Slice Of Lime with a one of a kind holiday present. The company enjoyed the effort and I was able to learn more about portability and practicality of physical projects.
I had a lot of spare hardware sitting around from previous projects and Adafruit bingeing to build something within those limitations. Sure, it could be connected to wifi and the lights be controlled but I think that's overkill for now. I wanted to keep it simple. Here's the summary of what I used:
Always order 2 more of those cheap, critical parts of your project; that's the biggest lesson I learned in putting this together. Working with hardware was a great reminder of how forgiving software is, the smallest mistake would require reordering parts and delaying progress. Under-estimating projects isn't a talent.
I chose to build around the frame with the electronics exposed due to the frames owner being tech savvy. I ran into a few problems when adhering the power switch and charger to the frame, accidentally gluing the switch to permanently being on. Access to the On/Off switch and the charging plug were two things I put above all other considerations when gluing it into place.
There was something missing with the frame, an interaction between the person and the frame besides charging the device every month. The goal is to accommodate the users preference, portrait or landscape, without adding complexity (a button) or confusion. It's a nice touch when you first pick up the frame and start looking for places to stand or hang it; the screen reacts to how you hold it. I tried quite hard to create animations as transitions, but couldn't quite get the hang of it at the time.
There's no big reveal; Slice of Lime enjoyed the device and I learned a good deal of how to package and power an embedded device. I'm hoping to take this knowledge in the direction of something that will sense other types of data while wandering about; Fitbit has fascinated me lately with the experience they've created with their bands. I'd love to explore minifying something further or creating a frame that displays information from the internet.
By building a way for coworkers to know if there's a seat free in the bathroom, I came up with a way for companies to track the status of their conference rooms.