Bad Vibes Desk

Shelving Knollbot™

It’s become very apparent for several reasons, including, but not limited to, the wildly complex nature of computer vision and robotics, my complete lack of experience with said things, and an extraordinarily expensive BOM, that Knollbot probably isn’t the smartest idea to pursue  for my PComp final.

I am, however, going to maintain some sort of continuity by developing a different piece of interactive  furniture. Something simpler but also conceptually driven.

The Bad Vibes Desk


Design and build a piece of furniture that takes technological integration to it’s natural (and absurd) conclusion. In this case, a desk with integrated notification vibrations.

Someone will text the desk and, like a phone, it’s vibrations will make impossible to work.

Project Plan

I’ll be working simultaneously on designing the desk itself and configuring a network-connected GSM module to receive SMS and use them to trigger an external event. In this case, turning on a motor.

GSM Module

I’m working with a couple GSM modules to get aquatinted with the technology. One of the modules isn’t an official Arduino board, so haven’t been able to get it to run with the build-in GSM library yet. However, using a serial communication workaround I’ve been successful interfacing with the module. I’m able to communicate with it using AT commands. It’s been perfectly responsive with everything so far, including sending and receiving SMS. Next I’ll need to determine if this work around is what I’m going to have to use to code the Arduino or if I’ll be able to get the GSM library to work.

There’s a second GSM module from Adafruit that I’m also going to be experimenting with.

Fabricating the Table

I’d like this to be a well designed and functional desk. I’d also like to highlight how annoying and counterproductive being constantly connected is. To be successful the table needs to be light enough to vibrate violently and strong enough to hold it together while it’s being used as a work surface.

Bill of Materials

System Diagram



November 10 – 17:

  • Complete BOM
  • Order materials
  • Configure GSM module
  • Begin coding
  • Desk design

November 18 – 24:

  • Desk design con’t
  • System testing
  • System refinement
  • Desk prototyping

November 25 – December 2:

  • Desk fabrication
  • Assembly
  • Testing
  • Troubleshooting

December 3 : PROJECT DUE