The Clutterometer, f.k.a. The Conscientious Sink was my Intro to Physical Computing mid-term project. My collaborators were Karl Ward and Andrew Cerrito. Two more clever and twisted brains you'd have trouble finding. And for me that was perfect.
There is a common kitchen area on the floor at ITP, and somehow, with selfish and neglectful behavior, it frequently and rapidly becomes cluttered with dirty dishes. We wanted to change that.
The Clutterometer detects when you are at the sink, engaging in dish activity, and then rates your contribution to the community based on what is in the sink after you leave. If you leave your dishes there, the needle goes to Red, if you do only your dishes it hovers at Yellow and if you've done more than your dishes, it rewards you with a Green status.
Once the user steps on the welcome mat, force sensors detect that someone is in fact at the sink, and they trigger some suggestive audio tracks. Then pixel data from an IP camera mounted above the sink begins to average any changes and jiggle the needle. As the user leaves the sink/mat the average of 10 random captures of pixel data (including the status of an empty sink, the status when the user arrived at sink and the status upon leaving) gets mapped to the Clutterometer and records the success and degree to which the user has contributed to the sink. If getting a response of Yellow or Red, the "audio barb" is triggered. It is the sound of water running and someone else washing dishes. It was meant to inspire someone to come back and finish the job, or at least think they left the faucet on, and thus having to go back to engage the sink.
Here is a little sizzle reel of the project.