Kuan Liu - Sun 31 May 2020, 9:23 pm
Modified: Fri 5 June 2020, 9:44 pm

Friday workshop

Elevator pitch

This Friday contact we got a question we need to have a concept name and 1 minute elevator pitch selling the concept (not a prototype). Here is what I had (not precisely what I said because I didn't remember the exact words, and I refined a bit).

Concept name: Little Garden Terrarium

A small indoor garden to help children be aware of sustainability and environment protection with the digital sensor monitoring in the Smart home is going to be a future living style. Energy consumption and water usage are the key factors that control the little garden terrarium. That means when energy and water usage reduced; children would give water to the terrarium; otherwise, a smoke would automatically enter the terrarium. This concept is teaching children to have responsibility for their behavior, and every action has a consequence. This little garden terrarium represents the earth, and the future children are going to live.

The feedback I got from Clay was that I need to think in a perspective of who is going to buy the product. Even though my target user is children, parents are the one who has the money, so I would need a pitch that is when talking to the parents and speaking to the children. I also got a chance to hear other classmates' pitch, and I can learn from them. I felt one of the advantages of taking online classes was that I was able to focus and listen more about what others did. If it was in a classroom sometimes, I would easily get distracted by background noise or talking while someone was sharing during the lecture.

I had a discussion with Alison about my concern about the remaining tasks I need to accomplish for the exhibition. There are three things,

  1. Countdown to trigger the smoke when the water was not added before time is up.
  2. Build a water system that can add the water when the button is pressed
  3. Build a system that can automatically trigger the smoke when the data meets

With all these, my biggest worry and concern would be technology stuff, which is coding. I am not comfortable and easily overwhelmed when I don't have much experience. I had learned some before but did get successful in what I wanted to achieve. Learning new skills was the intention of this course besides the one that we are comfortable at. I like to learn new things. I wanted to build my coding skill was what I wrote in our week 1 journal. I still want to learn it: I am afraid I couldn't make it work and fail with the expectation of what I intended to achieve. I guess I would need to start taking actions and facing the fear I have with coding. However, Alison reminded me that since we don't have enough time left, I should prioritize an essential function in my project: the water and smoke, and the data could come later.

I wanted to move the smoke from the top to the side of the terrarium. To do that, I would need to have an object to transfer the smoke to the terrarium Allison and Wally helped me and suggested using a plastic tube or bottle. When I shared my worry and concern about how to read and to analyze the data from PHP to Arduino, Wally provides some suggestions and a library link using Python with Arduino for me to look at. This was kind of help that this class was intended to have if we were not sheltering in place. Learning and helping others from what we knew was one of the keys.

With the smoke, Alison and Clay suggested using a spray bottle and pipette, but Clay said that using the pipette is much more easier, and I won't end up giving too much water to my terrarium at the end of the exhibition.

Imgur Imgur Imgur

A friend of mine came. I was able to tag along with them to get an airline tube. The store also sells plants. It was a beautiful store, and I also got some plants and sea shells for my terrarium. I felt the current terrarium was lacking the aesthetics I hope adding these new plants would make my terrarium look nicer.


  • Adding a fan to the smoke machine
  • moving the smoke machine next to the terrarium instead of hanging from the top.
  • Adding a countdown timer, button to add the water, and a reset function to the timer when the water is added
  • Lastly, using two-channel rely on triggering the smoke machine when the countdown timer reached zero.

With the limited time I have right now, I felt these functions are the priority to my project at this moment.