Rapid prototyping:
Tracking time with 3 SIDED CUBE

3 SIDED CUBE are a worldwide app company with a unique way of validating, designing and building apps: rapid prototyping.

The goal is to get real people using a real working app, in a real environment. Honest, qualitative and quantitative feedback is essential in informing business decisions.

Head of Creative Technology, James Rosenberg identified a common problem in workplaces; Time tracking is easy to let slip, not visible enough and often ends up being done in one go at the end of the project. His answer was to make an app to simplify the time tracking process, and a connected physical button to remind people of the need to track time and provide a shortcut means of starting and stopping timers.

Timi (named after the Icelandic for time) is built from an Arduino nano, mini breadboard, BLE bluetooth shield, Keyes KY-040 rotary encoder, a neopixel strip with 15-20 pixels and hookup wires. Having participated in a 3D printing workshop in the Bournemouth Maker Space earlier in the year, James decided to develop his skills and design and prototype the housing with the support of the Eagle Lab.

This went through several iterations, firstly moving the lighting strip from the top housing and adding a diffuse ring for the lighting, with some parts being completely redesigned. Mark 6 was the final version, comprising five parts; base, lid, diffuse ring, encoder base holder and encoder top holder, with a total print time close to 7 hours. 

The user interface uses the colours assigned to ongoing projects which correspond the ring of lights. Written in C, the code uses hardware and software interrupts, allowing the user to twist the top to select a project and press in to start the timer. About the size of a coffee cup, Timi is an attractive reminder to track time and bill this to the correct clients!

3 SIDED CUBE have continued to utilise Bournemouth Eagle Lab for rapid prototyping and other members of the team are developing their CAD design skills and preparing files for laser cutting.

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