We Make An Enchanted Object

This week we got the opportunity to work together with another bachelor degree of Howest. The two options we had were “Sport And Movement” and “Industrial Product Design”. Both options seemed equally appealing with lots of interesting projects so it was very hard to make a top three as asked by our teachers. Fortunately we work in team and after some consultation we got a consensus.

The teachers then had an even more difficult job to make everyone happy and assign the right project to the right team. My team got assigned to a project from “Industrial Product Design” or “IPD” called “Flowergotchi”.

This project is an idea by Stijn Van der Heijden, a last year’s IPD student. He took some inspiration from the “Tamagotchi” toy where you have to take care of a virtual pet. The only difference is now you have to take care of a plant instead of a pet and you can use your smartphone for this.

Stijn wants to make a smart flowerpot. He wants to be able to compete with friends to see who has the greenest thumb. He also wants a history log of the life of the plant. He would like to get notifications when the plant is thirsty for example. He would love to be able to see how old and happy the plant is. He also wants us to add some fun facts to the app. Phew, that’s quite a lot isn’t it?

Let’s go over the practical side of stuff. How can a smartphone know whether your plant is happy or not? By using sensors of course! The plant will be constantly monitored by UV sensors, temperature sensors and even a moisturise sensor. The mood of the plant will be shown in the app and on an RGB led. Before I go into any further details, it might be easier to show you a scheme:

Technological Scheme

As you can see, all data gets processed by an Arduino. The Arduino then sends everything to a Raspberry Pi which is connected to the Cloud. In the Cloud all kind of magic happens so the data can be beautifully displayed on the smartphone. Fingers crossed this will all work out in the end!

We Are Team Awesome – Technical Skills

Now you’ll finally find out who’s the smartest of us all! Well I’m afraid I have to disappoint you because we’re all equally smart. Each and every one of us has their specialisation. This can be clearly visualised with another radargraph:

Radar Graph Of Technical Skills

Some conclusions can be drawn out of this graph so we made a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).


We Are Team Awesome – Situation Description

In this blogpost we’re going to get a little bit more serious and check for weaknesses within our team by looking at some statements.

1. The conversation falls silent. Which member will try to continue the communication?

Kenzo will because he’s an extrovert and will always find a subject to talk about.

2. We get asked to offer some ideas concerning a bottleneck caused by a new backlog item. Which member will have the most ideas?

Kenneth will because he’s the most creative of us all. He’s a “feeling” type and those tend to be more creative.

3. Because of a new backlog item, a lot of ideas are offered. There’s some discussion about whether it should be added as an MVP instead of a feature. Who will make the decision?

I will because I am a “judging” type and can separate main themes from less important ones.

4. Who is rarely happy about the quality of what happens or gets executed? Yes but …

Kenneth is because he’s also a “judging” type and can be quite a perfectionist.

5. Who is the joker in the team so it’s always fun to work and take the tension away?

Kenzo is because he’s emotionally unconcerned and can make a joke out of every situation.

6. Appointments have to be made. Who is the person who takes care of the planning?

I do because I’m “judging”. This means I make a lot of plans and tend to stick with them.

7. Someone disagrees and doesn’t want to change their mind even though all sides of the argument have been offered. Which teammate is this?

Kenzo is because he can be quite stubborn. That’s because he’s emotionally unconcerned.

8. Who is the person who shows empathy when someone else has a setback?

Yentl is because he scores highest in unselfisness.

9. Whose opinion in the team has to be explicitly asked for?

Mine, because sometimes I don’t dare to share my opinion fearing I’m saying something wrong. This is caused by my being an introvert.

10. Who needs to be reminded to finish stuff on time. I didn’t have time, I didn’t feel like it, …

Kenzo is responsible but he sometimes works very close to the deadline. That’s because he’s prospective rather than judging.

We Are Team Awesome – Personality Skills

Radar Graph V1

The project of the third semester doesn’t mean we only have to collaborate with other bachelor degrees but also with other classmates. Fortunately we got to pick our teammates ourselves. I ended up with two of my best friends, Kenneth and Kenzo.

Of course we first had to check whether we were all truly compatible with each other. So after loads of tests, an ingenious maths algorithm and quite a few mysterious formulas we decide we were. I’m just kidding of course. Well not about the compatibility. Because we belong together and this for two reasons:

  • Our team scores equally high on most aspects
  • When our team does score low, there’s someone who compensates

So what are our weak points? We don’t have any! We are called Team Awesome for a reason. And our strong points? Well, we have a secret weapon. And that’s our newest member who joined us at the end of the first project week.

Radar Graph V2

As you can see, this Yentl person helps compensating the introversion of two other teammates as well. So now there’s definitely no arguing that we are all compatible. This got proven when we had our very first real teammeeting. Or at least our very first online teammeeting. Everyone was exactly on time (except for one person who apologised beforehand), we didn’t have any troubles choosing the tool to communicate and everything went smoothly without any arguments. No-one was afraid to share their opinion and each and everyone of us listened very carefully.

Everybody and everything has its flaws but at this time I have high expectations for our collaboration. Now let’s hope the end result will be just as good as our friendship.