Tag Archives: Team Reflection

Team Project Reflection (Fast Forward)

Hi class – we enjoyed meeting and working with all of you throughout the semester! Below are our final remarks:


When working together toward our final project in BADM 395, our group benefited from the unique experiences and skill sets each of us had. Scott and Shayna are both ISIT and Marketing Majors, while Aubrey is majoring in ISIT and Accounting and also has a Technology and Management minor. Aubrey was able to bring her past experiences with using Arduino to the table, as our final project ended up revolving heavily around this area. Scott has had exposure to R and SQL coding, which was very beneficial in the creation of the code that was ultimately uploaded to our Arduino. Finally, Shayna has Business Plan Development experience and used soft-skills when crafting the different deliverables.

Our initial idea generation had us considering projects as diverse as 3D printed wheelchairs and musical instruments to a breathalyzer bracelet. We finally settled on this motion detector to count the number of people coming into and out of a building. The idea was that this would help restaurants, bars, shelters, and various businesses keep track of their traffic so that they would know things like when they reach capacity, how much inventory they might need for certain weeks and days, and how many workers they should have based on how busy they get at certain times.

In our needs analysis, we covered many “How Can We” statements about how to prevent overcrowding in certain businesses and buildings, how to count the number of people in a place without a full-time person to count, how to detect movement, and more. We also contacted a few businesses such as BrewLab and CU at Home homeless shelter, as well as a few on campus bars. We researched online and found that professional versions of our idea cost anywhere from $120 to almost $1000, which most of these small businesses can’t afford. We were confident that our version would be able to be made for far less, even including labor.

Our resources came mainly from the MakerLab and the Fablab. We received help from Brandon at the FabLab, who suggested that we use PIR (Passive Infrared) sensors instead of our initial idea of a laser and a sensor across from each other. We also got plenty of advice from Vishal as well as our classmates. Norman, especially, helped extensively with our coding process. In the end, we used a laptop with Arduino software, two PIR sensors, one Arduino, ten conducting wires (where six were in-to-out and four were out-to-out), one perfboard, and one USB-A to USB-B cable.

Our prototyping efforts went through many different iterations. We began with our people-counter, and were trying over and over again to get the code just right in order for our push-button version to work. This version was just supposed to “count up” when a button was pressed. Our prototype was very messy and filled with tape to keep things in place and to separate wires. We became frustrated when this wasn’t working and asked Norman for some help. He advised us to skip the push button step and go straight for motion detection, which we helped us develop a code for and attach the sensors to the Arduino and board. We first started with one simple PIR sensor and attached it to the Arduino to test if the code worked. When it did, we moved on to the two sensors connected to the Arduino through the Perf Board and had the code read “Motion Detected at Sensor 1” and “Motion Detected at Sensor 2” depending on which was triggered. We are pretty proud of how user-friendly our code is and how much cleaner we were able to make our final prototype appear.

To make our final product feasible to put into businesses, we felt that we would need to contain the wires and the Arduino in some sort of unobtrusive container. We found one in the MakerLab that had been left there and used this as our inspiration. We created a long, thin box with holes for the USB port as well as for the sensors. Our model, however, went through a lot of change in a small amount of time, and therefore become much smaller than we had originally thought. For this reason, the box that we found in the lab turned out to be a better fit for our needs, so we gave it a purpose and used it as our Arduino and Perf Board container with the idea that it could be attached to a wall for use in stores. Our final product took only $33 to complete, not including labor hours. We are proud of how affordable our model is, as it would be a great competitor in a market where the next cheapest product is over $100.

In summary, our design started as one thing and became something significantly different. Through speaking with possible end-users, we found that many places can simply use Google Analytics data to track how busy they are at different times. While some may still have use for a people counter (such as bars for capacity reasons and homeless shelters due to lack of cell phone GPS data for Google Analytics to track), we felt that moving forward with an area sensor would be the more practical choice. One business owner said that they would appreciate this both so that they could keep track of where people are in their store for security reasons but also as a measure for the effectiveness of displays or the desirability of certain products. Soldering on an attachment for an SD card to record data would have been our next step for this project.

We see sales potential for a product like this as a cheap alternative to existing products on the market. If we were to start this business, we would begin trying to sell to small businesses in the area and grow the business to other areas if this is successful. The ultimate goal would be to sell in the online space to directly compete with the other models available. While we were able to get a lot of good feedback from different businesses, we were never able to test this product in-store or track and store real-time data.


Instructables Link can be found here.

Presentation Slides can be found here.

We learned a lot from this project! We learned that tinkering and taking time to try, fail, and try again is very important. We also learned that the project you start on might not be the project you end with. Finally, we learned how beneficial classmates, teachers, and other makers can be when we actually ask for help. We have loved this class, this project, and can all say we learned a great deal since January.

Thank you for a great semester!

– Team Fast Forward