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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)

11 thoughts on “How LVL1 Makes sure the trash goes out.

  1. Th3badwolf

    that's epic stuff indeed! Montreal really needs a hacker space now. =P

    Good job!

    PS: How about tracking stats of who took the garbage out to make more efficient remarks? =P

  2. Mathias Jackson

    I would like to give you guys the biggest hug ever.

    I've installed a similar system at my house.

    Light sencing diode under the Garbage Can, as well as a weight scale that will detect if its over 3Lb triggering the "Getting there warning". RFIP Tag on the Can lets the system know that the can is in motion in the house. And a Tag reader near the front door lets it know its moved passed the front door. When it no longer gets a knows its outside. When it picks it up again, its placed in "inside status".

    Theres also a range finder on the stairs to detect if the distance has changed from 36ft, distance to the building next door, to under 1ft, distance of can lid open to the stairs.

    If you dont take out the starts by shutting down search sites after 1 hour, 2hours it shuts down all video games, 3 hours it starts to text ever 15 mins, 4 hours, it calls me, my wife and my daughter via skype to empty the trash...this goes on every 5 mins, after 5 hours...internet is shut off.

    Only hit the 3 hour mark dont know yet if the skype call is working just yet...hope i dont have to see it work!!!

    Thanks for to make one for the coffee maker, laundry pile, cat turd detector (thinking Kinect hack?) and a "Let the Dog Out Monitor" (thinking RFID Tag, GPS Locator Combo).

    I would like you guys to try and make a "Force me out of Bed in the AM Monitor"

  3. kj6epl

    Why a "mother"? Why not Cave Johnson? "Cave Johnson here, you lab boys better clean up that mess, or I'll make you do extra testing! -This has been a pre-recorded message." Or if you insist on a female voice, at least go with GlaDOS: "The Enrichment Center reminds you of our new forced voluntary initiative to take out the trash. If any member would like to opt out of this voluntary program, it will result on a negative mark on your record. Remember, science rhymes with compliance."

  4. Sam

    Regarding Badwolf's suggestion, it would be a good idea to track who takes the rubbish out. Mother (actually it looks better as MOTHER) could then leave that person alone, for the nagging, or perhaps at least ask them nicely.

    Simple way of doing it, would be a simple button you press when you've done the job. There's no incentive to lie to it, all you'd be able to do is give someone else the credit. So people would be honest with it. The button could of course be on one of her no-doubt omnipresent touch-screens.

    If you wanted to be clever, you could smile in front of a camera and use face-rec, tho it would work better having the good-boy pose for the camera, rather than try to extract a face from a camera outside near the bin.

  5. Holly

    LOVE it, MOTHER!!! Though I would love to hear ”Never Gonna Give You Up" MegaWOMP in da house just once.

  6. Cmdr.Brandr

    MOTHER sounds awesome. Makes me wish I lived in Kentucky just to come work with you guys on this.

  7. SuperJames (TN native)

    Y'all *ROCK*!!! Now I wish I would've moved to KY instead of FL... :-{(>

    I suppose that the only logical action is to fire up some of that Southern-genius ingenuity and either find or found a local hackerspace to call my own (rather than living vicariously through y'all's excellently excessive exploits).

    And remember kids, "If it's stuck, force it - if it breaks, it needed replacing anyway!"

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