We’re back! Happy New Year everyone!

So for this semester, we actually have to MAKE this the Sustain-a-Stack. We put together a list of materials we need for a crude prototype that we plan to construct next weekend.

  • Arduino - library (then later on, buy one for ourselves)
  • sensors - potentiometer, temperature sensor, humidity sensor (?)
  • LED’s
  • wires
  • wood
  • housing (start of with cheap plastic)
  • buttons
  • soil
  • plants - start off small (Pete II)

This initial list is just for a simple prototype that would help us sort out the form of the product and if we can actually get the technical side to work so we’re starting with cheapest materials we can find. We can spend more money later on.

Here is our Timeline for the next 13 weeks of epic work!

IAT 404 – Gantt Chart: Timeline


View our graphical gantt chart timeline.

WEEK 1: January 6th - January 12th – Team Organization
- Gantt Chart and Team Management/Structure established
- New roles established
- Materials List compiled
- Team Contract: Roles altered to accommodate new class requirements

WEEK 2: January 13th – January 19th - Material Assemblage
- PHASE #1 Widget Design
- PHASE #1 Physical Prototype Construction
- Address storage issues
- Material Assemblage
- Sensor Research

WEEK 3: January 20th – January 26th - Prototype Design
- PHASE #1 Widget Design Completed (January 21st)
- PHASE #1 Physical Prototype Construction
- PHASE #1 Widget Development
- User Testing Recruitment (ideally, the same participants which we used for the last semester)
- Usability Testing Design
- Sensor Research

WEEK 4: January 27th – February 2nd - Usability Design
- PHASE #1 Widget Development Completed (January 28th)
- PHASE #1 Physical Prototype Construction Completed (January 28th)
- Usability Testing
- Sensor Research

WEEK 5: February 3rd –February 9th - Usability Testing
- Re-document Usability Testing Results (in a presentation-friendly form)
- Midterm Presentation Outline
- Sensor Research

WEEK 6: February 10th – February 16th – Usability Analysis

- Midterm Presentation Design
- Analyzing User Testing Results
- Evaluate Feedback and Classify as Necessary/Unnecessary Changes
- Sensor Research

WEEK 7: February 17th – February 23rd - Presentation
- Midterm Presentation
- Re-assign roles for Iterative Process (dependent on user feedback)
- Sensor Research

WEEK 8: February 24th – March 1st – Prototype Re-Design
- PHASE #2: Physical Prototype Construction
- PHASE #2: Widget Design
- Sensor Research

WEEK 9: March 2nd – March 8th Prototype Re-Design
- PHASE #2: Physical Prototype Construction
- PHASE #2: Widget Design Completed (March 3rd)

WEEK 10: March 9th – March 15th – Prototype Refinement

- PHASE #2: Physical Prototype Construction Completed (March 10th)
- PHASE #2: Widget Design Development
- Marketing Planning

WEEK 11: March 16th – March 22nd – Marketing Design
- Marketing Design + Execution
- Practice Run Through of Presentation
- PHASE #2: Widget Design Development Completed (March 17th)

WEEK 12: March 23rd – March 29th - Troubleshooting

- Final Presentation Design
- Marketing Execution

WEEK 13: March 30th – April 5th - Presentation
- Final Presentation to Class

As for the team contract, whatever we agreed on last semester still applies. End of story.



Thanks to Thecla and the 402 crew for giving us an extension for our final presentation due to various problems. The presentation was a success and here’s the copy of our delicious presentation. Do excuse the long loading time as we were concerned with the quality of the images.



Oh and Manuel, if I haven’t told you already, stop stealing my slides!!!

- el prototipo rapido



Much thanks to the Octoboxers who took the courage to step up and put together our submission for this assignment. We misinterpreted the assignment details and ended up having to scratch together a last minute piece. It still turned out quite well and we are pleased to submit this design brief.

The Octoblog could use some posts that don’t count as weekly updates. So here’s a good start. The design brief represents a general plan of our approach towards the user feedback phase of the project. The interface mock up is something we’re really proud of which is worth checking out the submission. We also added in some extra sketches and a good mood board to help up stay on track throughout the project.

Octobox Sustain-A-Stack Design Brief



To begin this week, our entrepreneur Andrew, explores other possible forms for the Sustain-A-Stack design.

“I think that we need to take the word furniture more seriously. There are many other types of furniture that must be explored. Let’s see what happens”

Here’s what Andrew came up with:



During class this week, we expanded on the work we’ve been completing over the past week. During the lab session, each team was expected to give an update in the form of a brief presentation where the team’s preferred feedback event would be discussed in detail. Furthermore, each team would outline the three activities that will be utilized during the event. Although we had already completed a brief summary of our preferences, our team had the opportunity to expand on such intentions. During the presentation, Kurtis introduced our team and our event type. Manuel expanded on this by describing the three activities we intend on integrating into our user feedback interviews. Afterwards, we received feedback from the class and the instructional team. There wasn’t too much time remaining in class, but Thecla encouraged our team to ensure that in beginning our interviews, we introduced a concrete context (if we decided against introducing our project initially).

Aside from the lab session work, we’ve been addressing the short-term goals we set last week. For the most part, each of these goals have been completed! We finished the mood board, an interface mock-up, user profiles, and physical sketches. Each can be seen and described in our design document that will be submitted later.



Today’s class served as a great opportunity to evaluate the current state of progress. We also shared our recent changes (in light of last week’s stand-in focus group) and presented a brief performance of one facet of our projects interaction. In short, we have defined our conceptual design and are proceeding to refine our project into a more coherent and understandable package.

In light of today’s class topic, concept refinement, we’ve assembled a lengthy list of weekly requirements to have complete in preparation for the user feedback stage where our team will engage in focus groups and a series of one-to-one interviews.

The following are our short-term goals:

1) Further Project Definition

2) Mood Board

3) User Personas

4) Create new and alternate design aesthetics (thus far we’ve focused too much effort on the box/rectangular form)

5) Create the look/feel/style of our digital interface

6) Questionairres/Interview Preparation

7) Find Participants for Interviews & Focus Groups

To supplement the above directions, we began to refine the project’s interactions:

Firstly, there are two primary types:

(1) the physical interaction with the actual stack

(2) the interaction with the digital web-based interface

On the physical side, we have narrowed our focus to :

  • dials for altering light levels and water usage
  • interactions afforded through the project’s form (how one provides water or, more simply, how one gains entry to the stack)
  • the base of the stacks (divided in logical manner for accessibility to the various parts — largely for troubleshooting purposes)
  • an alert system that alters the look of the stack so as to indicate a change from the norm

On the digital side, we’ve narrowed our focus to (adding/editing/saving):

  • a calendar system (where the user can keep track of the days on which the plants were watered)
  • health monitor (a visual represenation of the plant’s state of being)
  • water/light levels
  • FAQ section (to be integrated on a separate page — it is our goal to keep the central interface as clean and minimalistic as possible)

Sketches are to come!