Picture of Quality of Life Meter
Harsh new rules at work getting you down? Overtime sucking the life out of you? Or maybe things are great, either way now you can show your co-workers and management exactly how you feel about your job without a single meeting, memo, or team bonding exercise. This is the Quality of Life Meter. Boss take credit for your hard work? Turn it down. Get a bigger bonus than expected? Turn it up.

There is no exact formula for the Quality of Life Meter, the whole idea is that it's a personal thing. That being said on my project we use it as a measure of the groups level. Things like taking a day off, long weekends, cancelled meetings, and getting critical data on time make the meter go up while overtime, useless meetings, server crashes, and management trying to dictate our quality of life make it go down. It's kind of a gut thing and you'll have to decide for your self exactly what factors into moving your meter.

I won't bore you with the story of how this came about but I will be clear that in my work place this is clearly a joke and everyone knows it. If you just show up with this one day and set it low feelings may be hurt and people may take it personally. I'm not saying I'm against using this as a tool to vent your frustrations but just make sure your intentions are clear, joke or otherwise.

Of course Quality of Life isn't the only thing you can use this for, that's the biggest reason there isn't a label directly on the box (at work there is a sign over it but there's a strict no photo rule so I can't show it). It could jazz up a fundraiser, track your exercise, or help you save up for a trip. The Arduino that powers my design is far from working at capacity so there is the possibility for expanding the meter by adding sensors that can directly control the output value or adding WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity allowing your phone or computer to influence the output.

As always, feel free to ask any questions in the comments or via PM and if you make one, or a variation, I love to see pictures.
thepete6 months ago

I have an idea for a Twitter hashtag meter, where a meter like the one you've created rises and lowers based on the frequency of a particular hashtag or group of hashtags. Does this sound like a doable project? I have zero experience with Arduino, but I'm interested in getting experience with it. Where should I start if my end goal is to have this kind of meter? Sorry for the obvious newbie post >_<

bwrussell (author)  thepete6 months ago

Sorry for the delayed response. You should absolutely be able to do this. I'd do a little research before committing to hardware for this project. One thing you are going to need is an internet connection. Since you want to have a display you
probably will want wireless capabilities so it doesn't have to be near
your router at all times. The simplest route is either an vanilla
Arduino with a WiFi shield/module or an Intel Edison but there is
definitely a cost involved. I'm actually 90% done with a Mk.2 version of
my Quality of Life Meter built using an Edison so when that comes out
you'll have some idea of what an Edison version would entail.

As far as getting started, this guide here obviously will get you a controllable LED meter. The Arduino website, www.Arduino.cc is the best resource for learning how to program for Arduino (look under the learning and resources pages).

The biggest challenge is going to be interfacing with twitter. There is a
user created twitter library for Arduino but it may just be for posting.
This may involve writing something for the twitter API to pull the
hashtag data and put it somewhere your Arduino can find it and easily
read it or finding somethig that does that already. This is where the
Arduino and Linux dual nature of the Edison might come in handy.

I'd be happy to help with particular issues you encounter, especially the
coding side, but really anything. Just shoot me a PM and I'll do my best
to help you get this done.

thepete bwrussell6 months ago
Awesome--thanks so much for the advice and the offer of help! I just might take you up on that! Though, I honestly hope I won't need to. I am thinking I'll stick with Arduino, just because I've seen projects very similar to the one I have in mind. Also, it'll give me some practical experience with a common platform. If this project goes well, I might consider doing an Edison-based project.

Thanks again!!
Wired_Mist8 months ago

XD Thats awesome !

Perhaps set a piazo element beneath your keyboard to scene how hard your typing >.>

Nice job; hope to see more :)

bwrussell (author)  Wired_Mist8 months ago

I've got a couple of new versions of this planned that I will hopefully be working on soon. Stay tuned!

Subdood1 year ago
momo44451 year ago
jukees1 year ago
I think that this is too complicated design, it could have been done with a single LM3916 led driver chip.
And if the blinking is necessary, then one NAND gate and blinking leds could have been used,
Davesp1 year ago
This is a great idea. If it was linked to a very simple "I Had a Good / Bad" day toggle app on peoples smart phones / computers it could act as a kind of aggregator for the office / house / region.

Imagine one in the town square and if people could send it say two 'votes / reports' a day the sign could display the Quality of Life for people in the locale. Two votes mean that people could cancel out a 'good' in the morning with a 'bad' in the evening and null their contribution for the day. The same aggregated information could be displayed on a community web site too.

I guess it would need to display the sample size for the day as well so it would have to say something like in the town square: "For the 9,0037 out of the 15,356 people in our local community of Nunsquat who are saying, on average their quality of life was 7 today" or whatever.

or in the foyer at work "For the 347 out of the 789 people at work today in Nunsquat Corporation who are saying, their average quality of life for today was a 3". A kind of mood ring for the whole workplace. 

Just thinking....
bwrussell (author)  Davesp1 year ago
That makes me think of a sort of public "art" installation, for lack of a better term. Actually more like public participation art. A big display somewhere public like a park or mall and a simple directions for texting in your vote. You see this kind of thing sometimes in ads or just by local artists or people trying to get involved in a community. A way to sort of get people thinking about there community.
I kind of like it. I wouldn't be surprised if there was grant money to be had to make an installation like that.
wobbler1 year ago
Will it go negative?
bwrussell (author)  wobbler1 year ago
Well, there isn't a set scale, just 11 segments with lights that go from red to green (with the bottom red and top green flashing. The 11 segments give you 0-100% in 10% jumps but since the scale isn't shown anywhere you can make the numbers whatever you want. Negative, positive, irrational, it doesn't matter. You could do a different shape as well or use different colours. The 2 595's will actually support 16 LEDs if you need more segments.
Wait, it goes to 11? Couldn't you just have made 10 louder?
bwrussell (author)  geckodfw1 year ago
Well played.
This is so awesome (but seriously challenging). Can you make an app and let us buy it from you? I would love to have it as the background on my iphone so it could coordinate with my calendar and automatically demonstrate my overall work/life imbalance. If everyone at the office had the same app, we'd know who the slackers were at a glance!
bwrussell (author)  anothercindy1 year ago
Well it's not that challanging, at least the circuit. Especially if you just use a breadboard and don't solder anything. You could make it even simpler by using a single RGB LED which can display any colour. You can also add Bluetooth to the Arduino and control it with your phone. If you decide to give it a shot and need help feel free to ask.
Do you use Android or iPhone?
im37331 year ago
Now, to completely nerd this out and attach it to bio-electric sensors to measure mood, then program it to respond accordingly. Slightly different end result than this idea, but still similar.
bwrussell (author)  im37331 year ago
If you all ready use some sort of bio stats gathering device with your phone (like a heart rate monitor, etc) you could feed that data into the meter with Bluetooth. Maybe I'll make a wearable V2.0 that gets data from your phone and uses a formula to set the value, or you could make it.

Really it can track anything you want.
It looks a bit... er... phallic. Just a look at it sitting on my desk at office will +1 my mood :P
bwrussell (author)  Antzy Carmasaic1 year ago
Heh, it's not so much in person, but if that's what you're looking for a little tweaking of the stencil can change that.
M3G2 years ago
This is a really cool idea!
bwrussell (author)  M3G2 years ago
Rodney77992 years ago
I want to make one but I was curious if it had an off switch because at my work I would just leave it switched off all day. I like it and I do wands make one for at home. When I come home from work I can look at it and see what kind of mood my wife is in. Cool inst.
bwrussell (author)  Rodney77992 years ago
The big red button on the side, also pictured in step 1, is an on/off switch. If you watch the video on the last step you can see me turn it on and of and it remembers the previous setting. The component you need is a SPST switch and it is shown in the circuit diagram, up near the batteries.

If you do make one be sure to post pictures.
M3G2 years ago
This is a really cool idea!