The goal of this project was to create a window shade opening device for the consumer market. The following were identified as the main features of our product:
- Compact in size.
- Simple to use.
- Possible to install on existing window blind setups.
- Cheap to manufacture.
- Smart (possibility to connect to a mobile device). These goals were selected because even though there are similar devices on the market, the goal for this product was to allow having the convenience of automated windows for consumers that are not ready to invest a lot of money to sophisticated window automation systems.
The final product was designed to be a small box, that could be attached to the wall besides the window blinds that need to be operated (see picture 1). It was designed to be used with windows shades using a ball chain string pull system.
During this project, the selected topic was thoroughly investicated from market and technical perspectives.
The inspection of markets revealed that there clearly seems to be a potential market for this kind of a product, if it would be simple to use and cheap (based on general trend of smart home products, and a few interviews of potential customers).
The technical research and testing revealed that this kind of a product would be possible to realize with existing technologies. In the beginning, we identified the pulling strength of the motor, and battery life to be the biggest technical issues. The research and testing identified that the pulling strength would not be an issue on most common window blind setups, because we did not come across a blind system that would require more than 5 kg of pull to open. 5 kg was identified in the beginning as the approximate maximum weight that the motor would be able to pull, with a reasonable battery consumption.A prototype with the main functionalities was build using the Arduino development board. Also, an Android application was designed during this project.