Since launching the project at Hackaday.io it got great publicity. It was featured on Instructables, it got covered on Hackaday.com and it was shared on some Arduino Facebook groups (including the official group). I got a lot of feedback and here are my takeaways.
- A lot of people are not familiar with the phenomenon of kids getting forgotten in vehicles. I thought that this was covered numerous time on main stream media, but apparently, awareness is still lacking. As a result, many reactions revolve around disbelief, denial and accusations of parents who have had such a tragic incident happen to them.
- Some people wanted to build a Fochica but need better instructions. Beginners may not know how to get the right parts on eBay, for example. There is a real need to make this as simple as possible.
- The device should be more aesthetically pleasing. Perhaps smaller too. Obviously, what was shown is a prototype on a breadboard so one should have no high expectations at this phase. Going forward, more compact, reliable and robust build is needed.
To address these issues, I am planning a few TODOs. First, I will try to do better at explaining the problem, mostly through directing readers to excellent resources that already exist about the subject. Second, I started to write a wiki for the project, which will have detailed instructions for everybody who is interested in building a Fochica. Third, I will be working on laying the circuit on a protoboard or PCB in an elegant form.
In addition to the above, there are some takeaways that I have as a result of using the device for some time now in my own car. Some of them have already been mentioned in past build logs.
- There might be additional types of sensors worth looking at. The goal is to find the simplest sensors that will also provide good reliability at detecting correct seat state. Need to research additional sensor types.
- The Fochica device is using power at all time. If the car is not used for a long period of time the car battery doesn’t get charged and there is a chance of a dead battery. Need to implement a discharge protection circuit to prevent such cases.
- There are ways to make the initial calibration/setup process shorter and simpler. Need to plan and implement those.
These are just “R&D” action items that I need to do. While doing that I will also be working with people who expressed interest in building a Fochica and with those who will be sending feedback.
Thanks for the support and feedback so far! More is welcome. Please follow if you want to get updates and like if you liked the project.