Office Intelligence: Popcorn Maker (Part One)

Posted by Chris Bond on June 23, 2016

 

A few months ago we hacked together a device using a Raspberry Pi to measure our office coffee consumption. Well, the non coffee drinkers of the office started to get jealous that we had cool data and a cooler viz, and they didn't have anything. Enter the popcorn machine:

 

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This popcorn machine has been with us at Arkatechture since 2015 and is our Chief Data Officer, Amy Mullen’s favorite part of the office. Before we got started we asked ourselves "How do we measure when a person wants to grab a handful of that sweet, sweet golden crunch?"

Someone in the office mentioned that the handles of the machine connect to a single magnet in the back, and that they make a circuit. We can work with that. Here’s a picture of the doors opened and closed so you can see the magnet behind them.

 

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You might ask: is it safe to run electricity through the handles? Well I don’t know much about electricity, I'm a just a Software Engineer, so I can’t answer that. But I can tell you that it’s only 3 volts going through the handles, and after trying to electrocute myself for 10 minutes and failing, I deemed it safe.

 

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The backend looks very similar to what we did with the coffee maker. We created endpoints using AWS’ API gateway and then post to a database. Although this time we used DynamoDB instead of SQL Server because we’re changing and adding things constantly and our data is pretty unstructured.


In our next installment, we made a viz of how much popcorn everyone (Amy) at Arkatechture eats!

Read More About: Data Visualization, Culture

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