[Note: The Mk.2 is live!]
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.

Step 1: Materials & Tools

  • Small Glass/Plastic Pane - Any material that is clear and stiff will work. Glass or plexiglass are the most obvious solutions.
  • Sheet Wood - The type of wood is mostly irrelevant as is the thickness, although I wouldn't go much thinner than 3/8" or 1/4". I used some 3/4" strips that were packed with some toe kicks from IKEA.
  • Cardboard/Plastic Sheet - Any thin, presentable looking material will work, even sheet metals.
  • Small Knob - This needs to fit your pot and be long enough to make it through the wall of your enclosure. In my build I improvised and used an internally threaded spacer as a knob.
  • Screws - Small screws to attach the back sheet to the wood enclosure.
  • Frosting Spray Paint; ($4, Lowes) - If you can find a pre-frosted pane then this is unnecessary.
  • Regular Spray Paint - I used the same color for the enclosure as well as for the blackout on the pane.
  • Wood Filler - When working with particle board (of all varieties) or ply woods using wood filler on the cut edges helps give a uniform texture and look after painting.
  • Wood Glue - Holds it all together.
Circuit Kit
  • 2x Small Perfboards
  • 1x Arduino Uno
  • 1x 6xAA Battery Holder
  • 12x 220 Ohm Resistors
  • 1x Red Blinking LED
  • 3x Red LEDs
  • 4x Yellow LEDs
  • 3x Green LEDs
  • 1x Green Blinking LED
  • 2x 74HC595 Shift Registers
  • 2x 16 pin IC Sockets
  • 1x SPST Switch
  • 1x Potentiometer - I honestly don't know the size I used as mine was salvaged. It just needs to have even output across a range of 0-3V.
  • Wires
  • Batteries
  • Table or Circular Saw - A table saw is best but you can make due with a circular or even a hand saw if one isn't readily available.
  • Sandpaper
  • Clamps
  • Masking Tape
  • Soldering Equipment
  • Drill & Bits
  • Utility Knife / Scissors
This is a great idea. If it was linked to a very simple &quot;I Had a Good / Bad&quot; day toggle app on peoples smart phones / computers it could act as a kind of aggregator for the office / house / region.<br> <br> 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.<br> <br> 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: &quot;For the 9<strong>,0037</strong>&nbsp;out of the <strong>15,356</strong> people in our local community of Nunsquat who are saying, on average their quality of life was <strong>7</strong> today&quot; or whatever.<br> <br> or in the foyer at work &quot;For the <strong>347&nbsp;</strong>out of the <strong>789 </strong>people at work today in Nunsquat Corporation who are saying, their average quality of life for today was a <strong>3</strong>&quot;. A kind of mood ring for the whole workplace.&nbsp;<br> <br> Just thinking....
<p>I just released a <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Quality-of-Life-Meter-Mk2-Smarter-and-Connected/">Mk.2 version</a> of the QoL Meter that basically has the functionality you describe here. Wouldn't take much to add wireless value setting.</p>
Thanks. <br>That makes me think of a sort of public &quot;art&quot; 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. <br>I kind of like it. I wouldn't be surprised if there was grant money to be had to make an installation like that.
<p>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 &gt;_&lt;</p>
<p>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 <br>probably will want wireless capabilities so it doesn't have to be near <br>your router at all times. The simplest route is either an vanilla <br>Arduino with a WiFi shield/module or an Intel Edison but there is <br>definitely a cost involved. I'm actually 90% done with a Mk.2 version of <br> my Quality of Life Meter built using an Edison so when that comes out <br>you'll have some idea of what an Edison version would entail.</p><p>As far as getting started, this guide here obviously will get you a controllable LED meter. The Arduino website, <a href="http://www.arduino.cc" rel="nofollow"> www.Arduino.cc</a> is the best resource for learning how to program for Arduino (look under the learning and resources pages).</p><p>The biggest challenge is going to be interfacing with twitter. There is a <br>user created twitter library for Arduino but it may just be for posting. <br> This may involve writing something for the twitter API to pull the <br>hashtag data and put it somewhere your Arduino can find it and easily <br>read it or finding somethig that does that already. This is where the <br>Arduino and Linux dual nature of the Edison might come in handy.</p><p>I'd be happy to help with particular issues you encounter, especially the <br>coding side, but really anything. Just shoot me a PM and I'll do my best <br> to help you get this done.</p>
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.<br><br>Thanks again!!
<p>XD Thats awesome !</p><p>Perhaps set a piazo element beneath your keyboard to scene how hard your typing &gt;.&gt;</p><p>Nice job; hope to see more :)</p>
<p>I've got a couple of new versions of this planned that I will hopefully be working on soon. Stay tuned!</p>
OO <br> U
I think that this is too complicated design, it could have been done with a single LM3916 led driver chip. <br>And if the blinking is necessary, then one NAND gate and blinking leds could have been used,
Will it go negative?
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? <br>
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! <br>Thanks!
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. <br>Do you use Android or iPhone?
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.
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. <br> <br>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
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.
This is a really cool idea!
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.
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. <br> <br>If you do make one be sure to post pictures.
This is a really cool idea!

About This Instructable




Bio: Why buy when you can DIY? Educated a Mechanical Engineer and trained as a classical cellist I consider myself a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, dabbling ... More »
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