Marker Usage Display

Marker Usage Display

Resolving the case of the disappearing markers



Central Issue

In public spaces, shared objects tend to go missing. While such disappearances are rarely intentional, they have a potential to negatively impact a work space. A prime example of this is expo markers within design studios. Since people use them and forget to put them back, they can quickly disappear.


Proposed Solution

The smart bins would contain motion sensors that are programmed to recognize certain designated colors so they can identify which which markers are being put in or being taken out. A bluetooth beacon installed in each dispenser would recognize which student is taking out or returning a marker.

When a motion sensor is activated, it would send a message to its bluetooth beacon. The bluetooth beacon would then check the area for a phone within a close proximity to the dispenser. Assuming that the student is carrying a phone in his or her pocket, the beacon would then identify the owner based on their phone and project his or her name publicly along with the marker’s color onto the whiteboard.



This system would increase students’ awarenesses of who has taken out which marker, making it more difficult for them to forget to put them back. In addition, the system would provide a trail of breadcrumbs for other students to locate lost items.



Idea Generation

I started by generating ideas for studio improvements through a series of brainstorms, sketches, and interviews.


Once I had a concept in mind, recovering lost studio items, I began prototyping low fidelity IoT solutions with the use of Little Bits and IFTTT. These included a drawer sensor and light sensor for the marker holder.