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PizzaTime: The Internet of (Fun) Things

“Explore. Innovate. Create a New World.” That’s the motto of Intel’s global IoT Hackathon Roadshow featuring their new Edison platform, and a call to action we find hard to refuse. The opportunity to spend 48 hours imagining and creating, coupled with a new, tiny, development board with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low-Energy, got our makers fired up about this new challenge.

We signed up for the Seattle hackathon in February, scratched our makers itch, learned a few lessons, but most importantly, we cooked up something entirely unique. Introducing PizzaTime: the world’s first smart clock that tells you the time and orders you pizza.

Will hack for pizza

PizzaTime is a physical clock that uses the Edison platform to connect to the Domino’s Pizza Tracker API to deliver you melty, cheesy, carby goodness at the press of a button. How does it work? You twist the dial on the top of the clock to reveal different apps on the LED display (in this case, the PizzaTime app). Press down on the button to select, twist again to choose your favorite kind of pizza, press down again to confirm your order and boom! 30-45 minutes later you have a piping hot Domino’s pizza at your door!

artefact-pizzatime-clock-inside

Of course, there are a few other steps that have to happen in the background first, like entering your credit card number and assembling your favorite kind of pizza, but the idea of creating a connection between the digital and the physical world and getting a tangible (and tasty) result in under two days is pretty appealing.

PizzaTime won’t exactly be winning us productivity awards any time soon. But our goal was to demonstrate the potential for the Internet of Things to be not only utilitarian but also delightful. It is these edge scenarios and sort of Mad Lib situations that make the Internet of Things so exciting. We hope to inspire more makers to create IoT experiences that go beyond the obvious and instead are actually fun to engage with and maybe even produce some wacky results.

artefact-pizzatime-clock-coding

To that end, we wanted to share some the resources we created in the process so other makers to hack together their own simple click and scroll apps like PizzaTime:

  • Edison is so new that a clean pin out map of the mini breakout board doesn’t exist yet, so our UX designer, Patrick created a complete pin out map of each pin and its corresponding number on the Edison Mini Breakout board so everyone who uses Edison now has a point of reference when creating their own devices.
  • Our developer, Nick, has cleaned up the code and documentation for PizzaTime on GitHub here.
  • You can also use this app, created by our UX designer, Tucker to design pixel images for the PizzaTime display. The app then generates the array code needed to display the image from within your app. This makes it super easy to plug that code into your own app. The app was built in Framer.js and is available on GitHub here. It should be easy to modify for use in other array-based pixel displays.

And in the spirit of open-sourcing, below you can read our recipe for hackathon success. Happy making!

artefact-pizzatime-clock-process

The PizzaTime recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 designers
  • 1 developer
  • 1 Intel Edison development board
  • 1 Intel Developer Kit
  • A dash of PizzaPixel art
  • 1 Domino’s Pizza API

Prep Time: 1 day
Cooking Time: 2 days
Finishing Time: 1 day

Instructions:

  1. Get to know your ingredients. Like any experienced maker knows, it’s always nice to familiarize yourself with your tools and materials when you have the chance, especially when it’s a brand new system you’re working with. Prior to the hackathon our developer, Nick was able to troubleshoot with Edison and test the components. He worked out some important kinks in the very new system, which helped prepare the team for the impending 48-hour maker marathon.
  2. Know your strengths. It seems like every other IoT project these days is focused on targeting wearables, which can be really tough to pull off in two days. Instead, our team came up with a clever idea that was relatively straightforward in an effort to nail the execution of the product. At Artefact, our highest priority is quality of work, always. The team took this to heart even at a hackathon, embracing the simplicity of our project to create something that others could easily start hacking on without intimate hardware knowledge. As a result, we came out of the hackathon with a fairly legitimate product that looks good enough to sit on our desks, and code that’s ready for others to begin creating their own apps with.
  3. Assemble a small team of talented and passionate cooks. Sometimes smaller IS better. When it comes to hackathons, it’s easy to think the bigger the team, the more you can get done but that can quickly lead to a feeling of too many cooks in the kitchen. By keeping our team pretty lean, we were able to brainstorm and execute without spending too much time reaching a consensus. While this isn’t always the best approach for real life projects, it’s great when you have a finite amount of time to simply prove that something is possible.
  4. Spice it up with something that hasn’t been done before. Unlike baking, hackathons aren’t an exact science. They give you the chance to get creative and experiment with new ideas that challenge the status quo and do exciting new things others haven’t yet. What better way to test the boundaries of the IoT than with the beloved Domino’s Pizza Tracker API?
  5. Stir in an extra challenge or two. Connecting the clock and the API wasn’t quite hitting the spot for our team – we felt like the idea was missing something. We wanted the clock to have a little more personality and give it a way to display the information it was processing, so we added an LED matrix display to show simple but pixel art.
  6. Make it versatile. Don’t get us wrong, ordering pizza is awesome, but we see our smart clock doing so much more. Above all, it is a blueprint for endless possibilities. We chose to connect PizzaTime to Dominos, but we could have as easily connected to 10,000ft, making entering your time for a project as easy as hitting the snooze button. Or imagine a mobile app that houses all your preferences for different applications in an object of your choice: The PizzaTime app would know your favorite kind of pie, TrackTime could integrate with 10,000ft to let you enter how many hours you’ve worked on a project, or AmazonTime could order you more laundry detergent from Amazon (who needs a dozen Dash buttons?). There are countless other scenarios and applications we can see for PizzaTime – we would love to see what others come up with from the code posted!
  7. Share the dish with friends.

Hungry yet?

 

*See more photos of the hackathon process in our Facebook album here.