A couple of months ago I decided to try and move into product development, not a complete switch of career but perhaps moving a percentage of my time to building real things. This is a change that has no clear path at least from an income perspective so as a way in I have been spending some of my spare time designing and building devices which have a connection to the work I am doing with my existing clients.
The first item was a status gauge which I will write about separately, the second item was something I initially called the status puck. This is a hockey puck shaped glowing device which showed me the result of a series of tests run against a project I am working on. The tests are run by a service called Codeship and they provide a simple output with 3 possible states. These tests are run by multiple people working on the project so this light would represent the overall state of the code providing the team with a quick insight into the validity of the code.
The project took a number of evenings over a week or two to complete and during this time I came up with the overall design and went through multiple 3D printed prototypes. Having access to a 3D printer allowed me to quickly make revisions and tweak the design. In the end I went through about 3 versions of each part and came up with something that clips together without any adhesives and provides a place for the electronics to sit. I was also able to test different colours; in the end a simple black case looked the best.
The electronics are a neo pixel ring for the light and a trinket to control this, internet connectivity is provided by an electric imp. The Imp and trinket are connected by a 2 wire link which is currently set-up to relay 4 states but the aim is to move over to a spi or possibly i2c connection.