We're passionate about putting an end to imposter syndrome. Studies show that women and other minority groups are highly affected by workplace stress, but are less likely to report it. Why?  Because reporting these issues is often a tiring, complicated, and embarrassing process.

Our solution, Skweez, turns commonplace corporate swag into a valuable tool to promote healthy workplace habits, diversity and inclusion.  

What it does

A smart stress ball that can be used to discretely report workplace stress to company mentors, counselors, or members of HR.  When squeezed, the ball connects to the internet to send a message to a trusted source. The source can be customized or changed based on current needs.

The project was originally conceived as a way to discreetly report acts of harassment or misconduct in the workplace in real time, being concealed as a stress ball and sending a real-time alert to a trusted professional. As the project progressed we discovered more and more potential uses, such as adapting the sensor technology to work inside stuffed toys for long distance relationships, use in physical therapy applications, or for use with special needs patients.

How we built it

The main stress ball consists of an ESP8266 Microcontroller and a pressure sensor. It connects to Google Firebase. The Firebase system handles processing of data, sending alerts, and any other type of processing that may be required, and can be expanded upon if desired.

Challenges we ran into

The Firebase documentation is not very beginner friendly, and there is not a lot of quality external help available. We had a hard time getting Firebase to communicate with our other applications and hardware platform.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Getting Firebase configured and integrated with the hardware platform was an extremely challenging task. The design of the stress ball was quite difficult, especially getting all electronics to fit inside and have it still look like a stress ball.

What we learned

We all learned a lot of valuable information about dealing with Google Firebase, as well as embedded hardware platforms.

What's next for Skweez

The hardware platform can be expanded upon greatly. There are many potential uses for this type of embedded device as stated previously, especially for those with special needs who may have difficulty communicating with words or sounds. Haptic feedback could also be integrated into the device, allowing for physical confirmation that the message was sent successfully. Additionally, the software can be expanded upon to include messaging via SMS or push notifications to a dedicated app, as the notifications are currently sent via e-mail.

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