How LVL1 Makes sure the trash goes out.


LVL1 Trash Night Automation

How do you make sure the trash goes outside on trash night?

Simple..   You just create your standard Artificial Intelligence system, which you then connect to an Arduino, a home security system, your google calendar, give it the ability to send email to your google group forum, and finally some quick  scripting to link members latitude gps locations and google talk communication.  Thats all there is to it!

They don’t call me “Johnny Overkill” for nothing.  Actually… they don’t call me that at all,  but I’m hoping it catches on.   Anyways, back to the trash.  Yes it may sound like overkill, but it has been quite effective the past two weeks.  Here’s a break down of the events that occur:

Pleasant Reminders From MOTHER
MOTHER monitors the spaces Google calendar allowing her to detect which nights are trash/recycle “Take Out” nights.  On the morning of a “take-out night” MOTHER will start monitoring the presence of our trash cans (How MOTHER  knows when the trash is outside) and periodically speak the following request over the spaces audio systems:

“The trash needs to go outside.  Can someone take care of this for MOTHER?”

She continues to do this every 30 minutes until the trash has been taken outside or until 10pm, at which time things get interesting.

Un-pleasant Notifications from MOTHER
If the trash has still not been taken outside by 10pm,  MOTHERS mood becomes “angry”, which is obviously not pleasant for anyone.  First MOTHER announces to the members at the space:

“It’s now 10pm and the trash has still not been taken outside.  I am posting a request to the LVL1 message board for someone to take care of this since you all are obviously un-able to contribute”.

(Yes, MOTHER can get a little bit of an attitude).   She also happens to include which members have been at the space and ignored her request throughout the day. (Yes, MOTHER is spiteful)


MOTHER starts showing some “Tough Love”
After posting to the message board MOTHER continues to perform “Angry” actions until the trash is taken outside.  Some of MOTHERS “angry” actions include:

– Toggling of random lights at random time intervals. (She likes to wait until you’ve sat back down before she turns the lights back off again)

– Hijacking of spaces media systems and constant repeat of MOTHER’s “Angry” playlist which includes such hits as Rick Ashton’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” (Yes, MOTHER can RICK ROLL with the best of em)

– Ignoring of all google talk request and responding only with:

“I’m sorry I can not do that *insert member name here*.  I would consider doing that for you if someone would take out the trash”


MOTHER then tracks you down!
Aside from being an annoyance, MOTHER also continues to attempt to get members to take the trash out, but at this point she starts directly communicating with specific members over Google Talk.  However, She first polls all the members that have opted to share their latitude location and finds the members that is currently the closest distance away from the space.  She then will ask them if they have time to come lend a hand.  If they respond with “No” then MOTHER will continue to the next closest member.  If they say “Yes”, then MOTHER gives them 1 hour before moving on to the next closest member.

MOTHER is happy again… for now.
Once MOTHER detects that the trash has been taken outside, she will become un-angry and cease all annoyances.  Of-course that’s usually just in time to restart the process for bringing the trash cans back in 🙂

So far we haven’t made it to the 10pm mark so MOTHER has not yet had to display her power and wrath, which I suppose means she’s being effective (that doesn’t mean I’m not anxiously awaiting a session of MOTHERS wrath).


Trash Can Presence Detection:

MOTHER uses a combination of sensors and systems to detect whether or not the trash/recycling cans have actually been taken outside.  Being a “Hackerspace”, we knew the first thing members would do is try to “Hack” their way around MOTHER and find ways to circumvent the system.   The entire detection system still has some final touches to be added but here’s the overall concept:

A sensor of various forms is connected to an arduino, which is monitored by MOTHER.  The plan is for a “pressure” sensor that is triggered when the trash can is located on it’s platform.  Now obviously this isn’t enough. Eventually a  members is going to just drag the trashcan off the platform (with all intentions on taking it out later we’re sure).  So once the trash can is removed from the platform, MOTHER changes the trashcans status to “Going Outside..Maybe?”   But MOTHER is also connected to the spaces security system which monitors the Overhead door that has to be opened to get the large trash cans outside.  So MOTHER waits for 5 minutes to see if the Garage Door is opened.  If not, then MOTHER starts complaining that someone is trying to pull one over on her, and she is not happy about it.

This is the point where you would think someone would just take out the trash, But again, we know that someone is going to just tap the garage door button enough to break the contact and then leave the trash can sitting inside.  SO… a second contact is located at the bottom of the garage door that will trigger only once the garage door is completely open.  At this point if you have moved the trash can off it’s base, slightly opened the garage door, then fully opened the garage door, and NOT taken out the trash, well then MOTHER is happy that she forced you to work 4x as hard to circumvent a task that would have taken 25% of the time to actually just do. (Yes, MOTHER will always win)