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Arduino & Processing Prototyping

Project Overview

The goal of this solo exercise was to capture data from the environment, and create outputs based on that data. The exercise had several requirements:

  • Capture data from at least two different sources using the Arduino or other technologies

  • Output the data to two different networked services  

Project Scope

Because I was familiar with the Arduino and its capabilities, I chose to use its sensors to capture my desired data. My sensors included a simple button, and the ultrasonic sensor to detect motion. I used the web-based applet service,, to output the data. 

What I Learned

After completing this exercise, I have come to appreciate and understand how Arduino and Processing can be extremely helpful, insightful, and invigorating ways of evaluating an idea. Prototyping takes on many forms, and I feel confident that I will be able to think outside of the box in my future prototyping endeavors.  

My Role

UX Designer


Four Weeks

Project Type

Solo Exercise

The Process


Arduino & Processing

After successfully getting my simple button and ultrasonic sensor to work on the Arduino, I connected Processing. The most challenging part of this exercise was connecting Processing to IFTTT. With the help from the internet and my peers, I was able to connect all of the separate parts.   


Visual Outputs

Both visuals showed up as notifications on the owner’s phone; one from IFTTT and the other from GroupMe. In an ideal situation, it would only send one notification to the phone so that the user does not become overwhelmed with the amount of notifications they're receiving. 


Real-Life Context

Based on my chosen Arduino sensors, I created a unique and relevant context in which to prototype. My roommate introduced me to a Twitter account, @PepitoTheCat. A Tweet is sent with Pepito’s picture when he leaves or enters the house. This gave me the idea to create my context. 

The Final Result

Detailed Context

Rusty the cat goes in and outside the house on a daily basis. His owners need a way to know if and when he comes home. They installed a mat at the entrance of the house that has a hidden button underneath. When Rusty enters through the doorway, IFTTT will be triggered and send a notification to their phones that he has stepped in. Because Rusty may not step on the mat with the button when he comes inside, his owners installed a motion sensor that will detect Rusty’s presence upon entry. The motion sensor will trigger IFTTT to send a GroupMe message that he is inside to all members of the household that are in the chat. These devices make Rusty’s owners feel secure in knowing that their cat is safely inside. 

Full Documentation

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