Each month all San Francisco Fitbit employees are invited to join in a hack night project. This casual event is an opportunity for employees to tinker and participate in various fun projects. The first few hack nights focused on learning to solder using various kits from Adafruit and Sparkfun — some favorites were TV-B-Gone, MiniPOV and Electronic Dice. In another other hack night we added physical feedback to our automated build system. In the case of a failed build a robot voice speaks the engineer’s name and blinky lights are fired off.
Our most recent project was a pair of office thermometers that graph real-time temperature readings using an online data graphing service called Cosm. Indoor office temperature tends to fluctuate throughout the day. Many employees are quite vocal (even dramatic) about their temperature experience, “My blood is boiling, I’m a goner for sure” or “Brrrr, I can’t type, I’m shivering too much”. Temperatures In the mid 70s °F seem to please the most people most of the time.
To get a bit of objectivity on the temperature discussion we decided to provide a reference for each of our two San Francisco locations by having real-time temperature readings posted to a place everyone can see, a web page. If you’re interested in trying something like this yourself, just keep reading.
What is the electric imp? In essence, the Imp provides an easy, integrated way to connect almost any hardware device both to other devices and to internet services. It’s more than just a WiFi card, or even a WiFi module with processing built in – it’s an integrated platform that deals with the drudgery of connectivity, allowing you to concentrate on the application instead of the mechanics.