What is the Digital Diary?
As stated before, the Digital Diary is designed to help people who have problems with remembering things! This could be shopping lists, birthdays or meetings. If it's important, this system can remember it for you! It acts like an electronic personal assistant, you tell it what you want it to remember and when it has to remind you about it. When you turn it on and there are pending reminders, it will tell you about them. Ultimately, it remembers so you don't have to!
Hold on... My phone does this, why do I need a separate device to do the same thing?
Good question! The fact that your phone can remind you about important events is great, for digital natives the system works brilliantly and its great that this can be packed into a small device that has so much functionality. However, imagine handing the latest smartphone too an elderly person who is going through the early stages of dementia, and having to teach them how it works. The added functionality could well become a hindrance rather than an added benefit, and modern technology such as touch screens could be very confusing. This device is designed with simplicity in mind, so that anyone can understand it's interface and use it effectively. There are clearly labeled buttons, a display that shows clear and easily readable text and a few ports for access to slots and sockets. This device is designed to help with memory; so the device should be as easy as possible to use so that the end user doesn't have to remember how to use the device as well as the other events and notices in their life.
So what's included in the system?
The system includes the following:
- A 20 x 2 Alpha Numeric LCD Display with Blue Background and White Text
- A QWERTY Keyboard with Letters and Numbers, as well as Shift, Space and Backspace
- A Micro SD Card Port
- A Real Time Clock that keeps System Time, this can be set by connecting the system to the computer
- An Arduino Micro running as the main Micro Controller
So what still needs doing, and what are the plans for the future?
There are a few elements of the system that still need completing:
- The main code needs finishing and debugging, so that the system runs reliably and quickly. Functionality such as word wrapping in the text editor and a navigable UI (User Interface) is being added so that the system is easy to use. A clock feature is also going to be added so that users can check the time and date using their device.
- Custom 3D Printed Keys are going to be added to the system. They will be in a mesh like structure so that assembly of the system is easy.
- The face plate has been designed so that it is swappable from the rest of the casing and system. Thus custom designed can be made and laser cut with patterns or characters on them. This may appeal to a younger audience, who would enjoy having more appealing casing designs.
This is a device designed and built with simplicity in mind. This means it's easy to teach someone how to use it, and easy for them to remember how to use it. It does what it says on the packaging, and nothing more. This is fundamental for the problem it is trying to combat, as any added functionality will just make it more confusing. As much of the device is automated as possible, so that it needs very little maintenance (apart from replacing the batteries).
Ultimately, the Digital Diary takes the responsibility of remembering lots of little bits of information out of the users hands. This means that they can enjoy life without having to worry about whether they have meetings or tasks to complete.
Main Processor - Arduino Micro
QWERTY Keyboard with Letters and Numbers - Interfaced by two 74HC165 IC's and a 74HC164
20 x 2 Alpha Numeric LCD Display - White Text and Blue Background
Micro SD Card Slot
DS1307 Real Time Clock with Battery Back Up
Full debugging support with error reports over the USB Port
Thanks for reading! There will be more updates about this project in the future!
See you next time!