Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 08, 2016, 05:50:54 AM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Last post Author Topic: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"  (Read 8480 times)

mouser

  • First Author
  • Administrator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 36,412
    • View Profile
    • Mouser's Software Zone on DonationCoder.com
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« on: August 19, 2013, 12:40:59 AM »
So I have had this very simple little gadget idea for years: A "Timestamper Disc"

And i cannot for the life of me understand why it doesn't exist yet.  It seems like it would make a perfect kickstarter project.



The Timestamper Disc:

The device would basically be like the watch face of a digital watch -- small, round, thin, powered by watch cell battery.

In its simplest form it would have a single "NOW" button on the front, and would simply display the date and a time that the button was last pressed.

Scan - 8 19 2013 , 12 40 37 AM.jpg

If you had room you might display an additional line showing an natural approximation of the time since the last button push, like "13 days ago" or "6 months ago." If space was tight, you could have the button that cycled through the display of last pushed date, time, approximation, and hold button to trigger the NOW timestamp.



So, what would this device be used for?

You'd want to have several of these around the house -- you could use them to keep track of the last time you changed your water filter, the last time you took your medications, the last time the dog was walked, the last time you called your mother, the last time you used the exercise machine, the last time you cleaned your room, the last time the smoke detector batteries were changed, the last time you ate a snack, the time you woke up, the time you went to sleep, how long ago you put on the last coat of paint, when the lassagne was baked, etc.

You'd just place one of these Timestamping discs on or near the object you want to keep track of (velcro, magnet, band, etc.), and just hit the button when you use the object or perform the task.  Now whenever you come back to it, you can see how long it's been since you last performed the event.

They'd be cheap enough that people would buy them in packs of 5 or 10.  With watch cell batteries they would last decades.  You could probably use watch parts and manufacturing machinery.  It's basically a glorified simplified, half-watch.



Additional features:

If you wanted to get fancier, you could put a micro-usb port on it and let users connect to pc/mobile and get historical timestamps of every button press.. And i'm sure you could come up with additional ideas, like being able to set alarms to trigger automatically after the elapse of X amount of time since last press.

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 03:28:26 AM by mouser »

Nod5

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 858
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2013, 03:17:58 AM »
Great idea! I would buy some of those devices.

I've looked for a good Android app to do something similar but haven't found a perfect one yet (all the ones I tried involved too many steps for the basic actions). A physical display at the location of the thing you want to keep time on is very practical!

An alarm feature would be very useful. You'd set up a time interval and once it runs out a small red LED would go on.

Re a possible fancier version: a NFC tag could also be used, since most newer smartphones are NFC capable and you wouldn't have to connect a usb cable to the little device.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 03:28:00 AM by Nod5 »

mouser

  • First Author
  • Administrator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 36,412
    • View Profile
    • Mouser's Software Zone on DonationCoder.com
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2013, 03:22:46 AM »
Good ideas.

I definitely think a physical little disc that you could keep in the places you would use it would be most convenient, and that getting out a phone in each place you would want to use it would be inconvient, but a mobile app has some advantages, like a central location for all items, and no manufacturing issues.  So a simple mobile app would make sense too.

Nod5

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 858
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2013, 03:33:15 AM »
Come to think of it, I think I might be equally happy with a setup that only uses regular NFC tags together with a new android app. You'd put NFC tags on the things you want to monitor. Hold the phone next to the tag (and, depending on your phone setup, press some button) to trigger the app. The app itself would be similar to your the progress bars of life. When a timer runs out the progressbar turns red and (optionally) the user is notified (notification field, sound alarm, email, etc). Longpress a timer to reset it. Press a timer for setup (name, duration, alarm). Keep it minimal and show all timers on the same screen without a need to scroll around.

I can see the drawback with getting the phone out. But I think many people, especially younger ones, have their phones out more often than not so...  :)  Furthermore there is much tech buzz about "smart watches" soon to be launched. They'd interface with your phone and show notifications. I bet many such watches, once they're out, would have the capabilities to interface with the NFC tags. So in that scenario you'd move the arm/watch near the tag and press a watch button. Your phone in your pocket could then read the timer data out loud.

Anyway, I think enough people would be interested in all these alternatives. Hundreds of millions of people aren't going to get a smartphone anytime soon and I bet many of them would have use for small smart hardware timers.

apankrat

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2010
  • **
  • Posts: 138
    • View Profile
    • swapped.cc
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2013, 07:12:00 AM »
I can see this being pretty useful.

Needs to be very thin, almost film-like and allow for a bit of bending. If it could cling both magnetically and with static, it'd be the best. Needs to be washable. Just think - peeling it off a container of leftover pasta *after* taking said container out of dishwasher :)

NFC is nice and so is extended single-button interface (with long-presses, multi-taps and Morse code text entry), but I'd say these are secondary to the hardware hotness. For every thick extended version I bet you could sell a dozen of simpler thin ones.

2c

Nod5

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 858
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2013, 11:15:08 AM »
Since my last post I got to thinking of more and more things around the household that the standalone hardware devices would be perfect for. This could be the type of product that once you find one use for it you'll soon find more uses and come back and buy more.

An obvious advantage with the devices (over app based solutions) is that anyone in a household can read them without the need for all household members (or their guests) to have a smartphone.

I really like the idea and I hope this gets done!  :Thmbsup:

Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,220
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2013, 08:26:01 PM »
Do consider pricing on the display form factor as that will be a major consideration. Round screens seem to be more expensive than rectangular ones.

LCD/TFT modules vary in price, but you can get them for $1+, though I'd expect to pay more than $1, especially if you don't order a very large number of them. Here's a quick example:

Screenshot - 8_20_2013 , 11_02_56 AM.png

(Keep in mind there that often "1 piece = 1 box/crate" and not 1 module.)

It also appears that there are some below $1, but those numbers are fuzzy (e.g. $0.1~$10.0) and volume is a major consideration. Do you want 10,000?

Round modules seem to be quite a bit more expensive. The cheapest I saw were $6.50+ (going MUCH higher). (A lot say $2, but they give a range of $2 to $100, which isn't useful, i.e. "call us".)

A very small form factor might be more difficult to start.

However, a larger form factor would likely make more sense for industrial/commercial use. e.g. an 8x5 cm unit to stick on the side of (or above) a machine that need to have a part replaced every so often, or be cleaned every so often. My guess is that smaller form factors make more sense for home use, e.g. an 8x5 cm module might be a bit large to stick on a counter-top water filter.

Anyways - just a few thoughts.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Target

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,606
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2013, 08:57:18 PM »
think about digital watch type displays instead of more 'regular' displays, and most round displays are probably 'square' displays mounted in a round holder

no idea about price, though given the limited display options these might be cheaper

industrial machinery is often a managed out of a software solution so they can get the most out of their plant (both in production and down time).  Could be useful for small operators, but I'm guessing that in a lot of cases their service intervals might be longer than is practical for a device like this

Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,220
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2013, 09:19:57 PM »
This might be close to ideal:

http://www.alibaba.c...ith_touch_panel.html

  • 1. Display Type: 1.44  inch TFT
  • 2. Display mode: Transmissive
  • 3. Resolution: 1.44 128*(RGB)*128
  • 4. Number of colors: 262K
  • 5. Outline Dimensions: 30.05*33.82*2.3 mm
  • 6. Driver IC: ILI9163 or eqv.
  • 7. Interface Type: MPU-8Bit
  • 8. Backlight: White 1 LED
  • 9. Operating voltage: +2.6V~3.3V
  • 10. Viewing Angle: 12  O'clock
  • 11. Operating Temp: -20°C~+70°C
  • 12. Storage Temp: -30°C~+80°C

It's about the right size, and priced at $1.50 to $3.50 with a minimum order of only 500.

1_44_inch_with_touch_panel_128x128.jpg

The voltage is pretty low as well. But, it's a touch screen, which is good and bad - more power required, but adds to the "cool" factor.

1.44" was the smallest I could find. I didn't spend a huge amount of time though.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

apankrat

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2010
  • **
  • Posts: 138
    • View Profile
    • swapped.cc
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2013, 02:38:28 AM »
No, gents, this ideally should be an always-on display, like a piece of paper with scribblings would be.
So it needs to be e-ink based.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2013, 02:45:49 AM by apankrat »

Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,220
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2013, 03:50:16 AM »
No, gents, this ideally should be an always-on display, like a piece of paper with scribblings would be.
So it needs to be e-ink based.

E-ink would be a lot better. Here are a few BCDs I saw that are smaller:

http://www.alibaba.c..._display_module.html
http://www.alibaba.c...ay_panel_128x64.html
http://www.alibaba.c...y_module_192x96.html

Seems to be a bit more expensive. Voltages all look good. Operating temperature ranges are a bit more restricted, but still pretty darn good.

There seems to be a lot less in that market, though some manufacturers seem flexible in configurations/customization.

But at $9 for a module... yikes... that's a LOT of cash for the display when thinking about 5 and 10 packs of the product. No idea what it'd be though - the price ranges are too broad. $3.50 could be doable. Dunno.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

MilesAhead

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2009
  • **
  • Posts: 7,286
    • View Profile
    • Miles Ahead Software
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2013, 01:42:37 PM »
Hmm, instead of having an electric gadget for each location, how 'bout just a gadget that did a time stamp and printed out a circular sticky?  Just stick it on the water filter... whatever.. after removing the old sticky??

Maybe the time stamp micro printer is small enough to be on a keychain? I don't know if that's feasible.  But surely somethng could be made pocket sized.



mouser

  • First Author
  • Administrator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 36,412
    • View Profile
    • Mouser's Software Zone on DonationCoder.com
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2013, 01:51:58 PM »
i suppose the really low tech solution would be.. plain white round stickers you could write on.

when you think about it.. kind of obvious solution that would work pretty well isn't it..

sigh, sometimes you have to step back and ask yourself, are we just inventing gadgets for the sake of creating high-tech inferior solutions that are different just because we want something new and fancy, when the low-tech solution is clearly better?

apankrat

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2010
  • **
  • Posts: 138
    • View Profile
    • swapped.cc
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2013, 01:56:58 PM »
@mouser - you were trolling all along then, weren't you? :)

MilesAhead

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2009
  • **
  • Posts: 7,286
    • View Profile
    • Miles Ahead Software
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2013, 02:45:11 PM »
i suppose the really low tech solution would be.. plain white round stickers you could write on.

when you think about it.. kind of obvious solution that would work pretty well isn't it..

sigh, sometimes you have to step back and ask yourself, are we just inventing gadgets for the sake of creating high-tech inferior solutions that are different just because we want something new and fancy, when the low-tech solution is clearly better?

I don't see any problem with having the sticky generator.  For one thing, my handwriting is bad enough I may not be able to read what I wrote on the sticky the next day.  Just hit a button. Out pops a decal with time stamp printed.

MilesAhead

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2009
  • **
  • Posts: 7,286
    • View Profile
    • Miles Ahead Software
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2013, 02:45:45 PM »
@mouser - you were trolling all along then, weren't you? :)

That would be cheating.  :)

Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,220
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2013, 07:19:05 PM »
i suppose the really low tech solution would be.. plain white round stickers you could write on.

when you think about it.. kind of obvious solution that would work pretty well isn't it..

sigh, sometimes you have to step back and ask yourself, are we just inventing gadgets for the sake of creating high-tech inferior solutions that are different just because we want something new and fancy, when the low-tech solution is clearly better?

Not necessarily. It could have excellent commercial applications for things that have to get done periodically and that would benefit from a "paper trail" with time stamps. Problem there is that you're unlikely to get regular people to fund something like that. :(
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Edvard

  • Coding Snacks Author
  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,888
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2013, 08:32:05 PM »
Very interesting idea.  I REALLY like the round form factor, so it really is like a button.  In fact, make the whole face pressure-sensitive so no need for a smaller button... Fitts' Law and all that...
It should also be as thin as possible, and since we now have the technology for super-thin flexible batteries, it should be doable down to the thickness of a coin.
As Renegade pointed out, the most difficult hurdle financially would be the round form factor.  It would be harder to do and use more material per item, thus cost more to manufacture, BUT as with many new ideas, the first ones out the door can open floodgates... 

I'm also in agreement that the most practical application of this idea may be to print some sort of round bar code (like ShotCode)on a sticker that would interface with an app on your phone, and put it in places you want reminders for.  They could also be printed or stuck on kitchen-magnet material or vinyl clings, things like that.  All you'd need is a printer, some label stock and the phone app, and with phones as ubiquitous as they are now, it's not as inconvenient as you may think.

Great idea Mouser, I suggest you patent it ASAP.  :Thmbsup:


Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,220
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2013, 09:59:59 PM »
Great idea Mouser, I suggest you patent it ASAP.  :Thmbsup:

YES! Then go trolling with an overly-broad interpretation of the patent and all of a sudden you no longer need Kickstarter~! ;D
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Edvard

  • Coding Snacks Author
  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,888
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2013, 10:46:06 PM »
Great idea Mouser, I suggest you patent it ASAP.  :Thmbsup:

YES! Then go trolling with an overly-broad interpretation of the patent and all of a sudden you no longer need Kickstarter~! ;D

facepalm.jpg

Nah, I believe that as long as you use a patent like patents were intended to be used, it's a good thing.  Too bad the system was gamed long ago...

Target

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,606
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2013, 01:08:47 AM »
YES! Then go trolling with an overly-broad interpretation of the patent and all of a sudden you no longer need Kickstarter~! ;D

I'm coming for you rennie!! 

soon as my gun finishes printing, watch out!!

Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,220
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2013, 01:17:08 AM »
Sheesh! No good deed goes unpunished. :P ;)
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Nod5

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 858
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2013, 04:12:17 PM »
Mouser's idea has some advantages over paper stickers. You get served a countup time directly and don't have to calculate it from the date+clock stamp written on the paper sticker. You can very quickly reset the counter. If the device had a small LED it could notify you when time is up.


Deozaan

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Points: 1
  • Posts: 7,716
    • View Profile
    • The Blog of Deozaan
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2013, 01:32:03 PM »
I think it's not a bad idea to develop it as a mobile app. Sell packs of 100-500 stickers with unique 2D barcodes (QR codesw) that are just unique identifiers that you can assign to different tasks/meanings. Then use the mobile app on your phone to scan it to reset the counter.

This will have the benefit of it remaining cheap (stickers should be cheap to produce), thin, and the mobile app acts as the counter/timer with quick and easy to read displays and can also store a log and do a lot more fun stuff with the data.

Or just sell the app itself for a couple of dollars and let the user print out their own barcodes, or optionally sell the packs of QR code stickers for people who don't want to print out their own.


mouser

  • First Author
  • Administrator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 36,412
    • View Profile
    • Mouser's Software Zone on DonationCoder.com
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"
« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2013, 08:32:56 PM »
Well i've been looking for an ios iphone 5 / android app idea, so maybe this is a good small one.