This is our first installation of WillowTree Labs, a recurring blog post series in which we will discuss the details of our quarterly internal research projects. Each project is voted on by our team, and designers and developers share updates at our weekly Research & Development meetings. We conduct these research projects in an effort to stay on top of the latest technology trends, continue learning, and contribute new innovative mobile solutions for our clients.
Good startups grow fast. While WillowTree is outgrowing its ‘startup’ moniker, we still have our share of growing pains. We have moved and renovated several times over the past few years, all to make room for new hires. As a rapidly growing company, our biggest problem is not the struggling wifi network or the contractors bustling around….it is the ever-growing bathroom line. Since last year, we have doubled our staff without adding any new bathrooms. Renovations plans are in the works, but we were not willing to wait. Since bathrooms can’t be built overnight, we built a tool to tell us if one is available. Enter: “Bathroom Monitor”.
Our primary goal was to detect and broadcast the bathroom status throughout the office, using whatever technology was available. After several iterations, we elected to use magnetic contact switches and a Raspberry Pi. Each contact switch would be mounted on a bathroom door and wired to a central RPi. The RPi would then broadcast the switch values through an API. The end goal is to have desktop/mobile clients that consume the API and report the status in real-time.
Here is how we built it.
- Raspberry Pi, Amazon
- 3 Magnetic contact switches, Amazon
- Prototyping board, Amazon
- Adafruit PermaProto Pi Breadboard, Amazon
- Wire strippers
- 16-18 gauge wire (10-30 ft.)
- Banana connectors, Wikipedia
- USB Wi-Fi dongle, ModMyPi.com
- 5V 2A micro-usb power supply (optional, to power the wifi dongle), Amazon
Configuring Raspberry Pi
If this is your first exercise with a Raspberry Pi, use this guide to…Continue Reading Article