As college students, our team was inspired to create Pomodoro Pro due to our own struggles with time management and staying focused. We often found ourselves procrastinating and feeling overwhelmed by the demands of school and extracurricular activities. We realized that many of our peers shared these same challenges, and we wanted to find a solution to help ourselves and others be more productive.
What it does
Pomodoro Pro is a productivity tool that enforces the Pomodoro method of learning. This technique involves 25 minutes of study, followed by a 5-minute break, typically repeated 4 times for a total session of 2 hours. Our product is structured like a video game console. It directs the user to study for 25 minutes before taking a 5-minute break, during which they can play the Snake game. The console comes with a fully fleshed-out operating system, user interface, and many extra features, including but not limited to:
- Customized user options for study length.
- A scoreboard that records results across multiple sessions.
- Specialized sound effects that resound during gameplay.
How we built it
- We started by outlining a system of states for the operating system. For example, State 0 was the start screen, State 3 was the timer scene, State 6 was the actual Snake game, etc.
- Work was divided among the group such that each member dealt with a similar subset of states. After each component of the program was written, one member combined the information in a single file, which we proceeded to test and debug while connecting to an Arduino.
- While we were working on this, we also CAD-ed the design of the enclosure. We decided to go with an arcade machine-style container, which we laser-cut and 3D printed the components for.
- To further improve the user experience, we created some cool sound effects using a Piezo Buzzer and some music theory.
- Finally, we organized the wiring to allow everything to fit inside the enclosure.
Challenges we ran into
- Memory allocation issues. Our snake code used 6 kilobytes of memory by default, so initially, there was not enough RAM to compile the program. To fix this issue, we used the Arduino Zero board (32 kb of RAM) instead of the Arduino Uno (2 kb of RAM).
- The size of the console container was also problematic, as it was difficult to fit all of the circuits inside the enclosure.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
- The dynamic and user-friendly interface for the entire system.
- The music arrangements that play during the snake game.
- Cool, clean-looking enclosure.
What we learned
- Compromises are important. Even if you don't agree with every decision, it's important to maintain team unity and continue to work together to build the best final project possible.
- Planning ahead is very important. One of our biggest issues was the size of our console container, which struggled to hold the entirety of our product's circuitry. Better planning, specifically with regard to the size of the Arduino setup, would have enabled us to finish a lot earlier.
What's next for The Pomodoro Pro
We have two main goals going forward:
- Implement more games like Pong and Tic-Tac-Toe to increase user engagement.
- Add an option for lo-fi music while users are in the middle of their study session.
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