Introduction: Blue by Team Dropz

About: IU SoIC. Parsons MFA D+T.

This is a project created by Chris Miller, Mayo Tobita, and Sarah Wever at the Intel® IoT Roadshow Silicon Valley Hackathon 2015.

Blue is a device that helps monitor your daily shower use and was designed specifically with California residents and other regions experiencing drought in mind. The device detects when the user enters the shower and starts a timer with the goal being to complete your shower in 10 minutes or less. The device slowly turns yellow to give you a warning that it is time to finish up in order to meet your goal. Once you have passed the 10 minute limit the device intercepts you shower time playlist and begins to blast Nickelback with the only way to stop it being to turn off your water.

To simulate the shower knobs we made use of one of the Grove buttons. To display the amount of time left we used the RGB LCD. We plugged these into the Intel Edison board. To build the enclosure we ran to our local hackerspace at 6am to laser cut some scrap acrylic. To take over the music we used shell to control our playlist with command line VLC player. To monitor use over time we stored shower lengths to the cloud with the intent for them to be sent to you in a weekly update. Our goal is for users of Blue to become more aware of their water usage and their environmental impact.

TL; DR Blue is a device that helps monitor your daily shower use and conserve water as you become aware of your effect on the environment.

Step 1: Materials

Step 2: Hardware

Since we are making use of the Grove protoyping shield and components the set up here is pretty straight forward. After connecting your shield to your Edison board make sure to connect the grove button to digital pin 6 (or any digital pin really but if you want to use our code in the next step make sure to use 6). Once your button is connected connect your LCD screen to digital pin 2.

Step 3: Software

Using the Intel XDK IoT Edition software upload this main.js file to your Intel Edison board. In order to run your code you will first need to npm install --save-dev intel-edison-lcd-rgb-backlight-display-helper. If you changed where you plugged in any of the digital pins you will need to make that adjustment in the code as well as update ip address in the code with the ip address of your computer.


Step 4: Laser Cutting

For our enclosure we used 3mm acrylic, if yours is a different thickness you may need to make a new file to size. A good resource for getting the interlocking box pattern is Maker Case. Make sure to use the settings on your cutter best for the thickness and type of material you are using.

Step 5: Assembly

Once your board is ready to go attach your battery to your components and make sure it runs. After that use the acrylic nail glue to assemble your pieces of acrylic.

If everything is running correctly pushing the button should kickstart the shower timer. In our example we timed the shower to be within 30 seconds for demo purposes but you can set the shower times for whatever your water saving time goals may be. The RGB LCD screen will be green while you're showering within the goal time. It will slowly turn orange to give you a nice warning that you need to finish up and get out soon. Once you past the goal time the screen will turn red and take over your playlist and start playing Nickelback (it will do this using command line VLC player which is why you need to make sure you have it installed). At the end it will display your shower duration as well as store that information in the cloud.

Future goals include: switching to a flow sensor to detect actual water usage ( we didn't have access to one at the hackathon ) as well as actually developing our interface prototype to make the data we are storing to the cloud more digestible for users.