So far in the past several weeks team Plugged In has made one complete prototype out of cardboard panels and hot glue. It was a fairly quick and and easy process because we just measured out the dimensions on big cardboard sheets and cut them out using an exacto-knife. I would say that the hardest part during this process was deciding how to make the holes in the back of the back panels for the USB cords used to connect the phones to the charger and we’re still thinking about how we would install the lock and key system system to ensure maximum security for the phones inside. Nonetheless, we are (so far) proud of our design and product because we believe that it’s different from other phone or electronic device charging stations due to it’s locker style appearance and lock and key system.
This last week our team has been putting together and finishing their second prototype made out of cardboard and hot glue like the first prototype. However the first one was quite bulky and was not as portable as what we imagined. We wanted to complete a second prototype because we wanted to see what our product would look like with smaller dimensions, so we shaved off four inches length wise and three inches width wise. We are happier with the second prototype because it’s easier to carry around and we think it would be more aesthetically pleasing with clear acrylic panels.
One way we think we could work with the locker system is through installing an actual lock and key system, this will work by giving the student a key to lock the doors of their cubby and when their phone is done charging then they can give their key back to the teacher before class ends. The only problem with this is that we have not decided whether we are placing it in a more general area of the school or if we are going to put it in a teacher’s classroom. If we placed it in a teacher’s classroom then the teacher might gain the responsibility of making sure all the keys are properly handed out to the students and then they have to make sure all the keys are given back before the end of class. This might be a cumbersome method for the teachers who do not want to give up class time. If we placed it in one of the general ares of the school then this might decrease the level of security of the phones since there wouldn’t be a constant chaperone to watch over the charging station.
We are not moving onto working with actual acrylic panels so out group has been researching ways to design the cut-outs and template on Adobe and then eventually we can use the laser cutter to cut out the squares of each cubby door and the charging holes for the sub cords to go through. We hope to put together the acrylic product by the end of next week so we can start on the security and charging aspect of the product as the Makerfaire is quickly approaching. Here are two links that are great at providing tips on how to work with acrylic: How to cut, drill and glue acrylic and Acrylic Sheet Care.
As the end of the year approaches we want to finish strong with the help and motivation of our teachers, peers, and of course…daily cup(s) of Folgers.