Realized this was stuck in my drafts since the assignment failed and was iterated into my second crit, the toaster. Putting this here for posterity, but most of it is available in my Crit #2 – Grumpy Toaster.
For this post:
Problem: Toasters currently only use their *pop* and occasionally a beep to communicate that they are finished toasting whatever is inside them. It is also difficult to tell the state of various enclosed elements of the toaster, like if the crumb tray needs to be empty, any heating elements need wiped off, etc. I believe the toaster could communicate a lot more with its “done” state in ways that would be inclusive to a variety of different user types.
Solution: More or less, a toaster that gets grumpy if it is left in a state of disrepair. Toasters are almost always associated with an energetic (and occasionally annoying) burst of energy to start mornings off, but what if the toaster’s enthusiasm was dampened? Because users are generally at least half paying attention to their toaster, a noticeably different *pop* and kinetic output could alert them that certain parts of the toaster needed attention. For example, if the toaster needed cleaned badly, it would slowly push the bread out, instead of happily popping it up. Both the visual and audio differences generated by modifying this kinetic output would be noticeable.
Proof of Concept: I attempted to wrangle a transistor and solenoid for this assignment, but didn’t fully “get” them until after it was due. It would’ve represented the pop by foisting the toast up at different values. This and more failed due to the fact that I was powering the solenoid with external power incorrectly, but learning this was something I was glad to take away from the class.
Files + Video: Drive link from Crit #2 finished product
Discussion continues in Crit #2 – Grumpy Toaster