I borrowed an extra DropCam to add to my existing account. I was interested to see the setup experience in a system that includes multiple connected nodes, but does not require a hub to control them.
Not only is DropCam by far the most error-free setup process of all of the connected devices I have reviewed, adding an extra node was simply a pleasure. After plugging the cam into my computer, it is recognized as a flash drive containing the configuration software. With just a 3 step process (Log into my account, Choose my WiFi Network, Place the Camera in it’s location) the cam was ready to go. There were no connection hiccups with arbitrary pairing procedures.
This process is superior because:
- With the DropCam physically plugged into the computer, it illiminates connection failures
- With a serial number for each device, the system knows who owns it even if it goes offline
- The app and the DropCam both communicate directly with the user account on the server, no failures because the camera did not connect to a hub or the app directly
- If one camera goes offline, the whole fleet is not knocked out
Now, I’m seriously considering this type of configuration for my thesis project instead of a hub and nodes approach.
Alex, Justin and I will be working on a system for letting air through your window to regulate room temperature.
In class feedback included:
- Instead of a hydraulic system use levours to open and close
- Use it for air quality
- Place the sensor far enough away to understand the average reading of the room
- Make sure to build a purposeful actuator into the system
- Make it burglary proof
I look forward to working on the project!
Jess and I created a fun New Jersey Party experience: A Fist Pumping Light Show using the RoboSmart connected lights. In this experience, a partygoer holds their phone in the hand they fist pump with, and the synced light will flash with their fist pumping action! We had originally talked about creating a way for rock show attendees to control the lights onstage, but we decided on a really fun “House Party” experience instead.
A big challenge was designing how the user would learn what to do. We considered using screens that the user swipes between or having a separate instructional section in the app. We decided to pair the whole process down to 3 steps: a connection animation, a simple instructional animation, and the fist pump action as the ‘go’ to start communicating with the light. This simplicity helped make it a smooth experience. Here’s what the app looked like: (White NJ = RoboSmart light ON; Blue NJ = RoboSmart light OFF)
First working prototype:
It was surprising to me how much I like the Nimbus, once I had it set up to things I care about. Knowing how many emails I have is helpful— I can plan on reserving extra time when needed, and the Weather is nice to wake up to as well.
I purchased a Fitbit because Nike plus is not supported. The first week was great- I could check my step count before I went to bed to reflect on how active I had been that day. Then, about a week later, I forgot what the number meant. While setting up the Fitbit it suggested a daily step count goal, but that number has lost its meaning since I forgot how it compares to that goal. It would be stronger if it said the goal, or the % to the goal.
Then….. IT BROKE. (kinda)
About a week in, I looked at the readouts and they were not updating. What?
I unplugged it and set it up again— no luck. The house icon on the back kept blinking red. The instructions say “If your device is blinking red or green, it is still connecting” so I waited… and waited… and waited… . Calling support, the nice representative explained that “red blinking” means it can’t connect to WiFi. Ok….. so of course, I just move it into the living room (close to the router) during setup and voila! a working Nimbus. Wouldn’t it have been nice if that error message included this information?
Also, while I’m talking about the ‘needs to be improved’ -The clock face dials are so useless- I can barely see them and honestly haven’t even noticed if they moved– they could have been totally still this whole time- maybe they were. Why are they clear? Why? The design of this product is so frustrating because it’s so close to being great. But I guess I should be glad I feel that way. 🙂
A Quick Video of the Final Result:
In Class Demo:
With an interaction challenge so similar to my thesis, I had to pick up a Quirky Nimbus to see what it’s like. The box arrived quickly and was nicely printed, clearly boasting the ‘inventor-ness’ of the product. The packaging was adorable and made from high quality materials- clearly professional and inviting. The little owl graphic was even a nice touch – it was playful – much more fun than opening a normal appliance.
When I opened the package I almost gasped- it was much smaller than I had pictured it. However, this smaller profile is better- I don’t want this thing taking up my ENTIRE nightstand. The vacuum molded packaging perfectly cradled and protected the product. The power cord came wrapped in a nicely weighted cardboard box, which also donned the directions for setup. That power cord came with a sticker with “Quirky” printed on it — a nice feature. I hate it when a company leaves it up to the consumer to label their power cord – how are you supposed to remember what goes with what? I wonder — if you have more than one Quirky product, does the same adapter power all of them? Continue reading