Starting the Beeminder Button Project

I use a website called Beeminder to track various habits/tasks. What’s special about this app, is that they charge you real-world money if you don’t follow through with your commitments.

Most of the tasks I track, like reviewing Hebrew vocabulary, have an automatic data source. That means that after I finish reviewing with Clozemaster, Beeminder is automatically told that I did my review for the day, and they shouldn’t charge me! But some tasks I want to track (like flossing, taking medication, or doing laundry) would require me to tell Beeminder manually that I completed the task. Often, I’m in a rush, or my phone isn’t near me, or I just plain forget, and I don’t remember to log these tasks.

I saw this post on the Beeminder blog, showcasing a user who tracks various tasks using a physical button. I instantly saw that this would solve my problems and allow me to track these tasks, but when I researched the available options, they were all very expensive. Based on my experiences in the course Designing Humanity Centered Robotics in Fall 2017, I knew that I could make Bluetooth buttons myself much more cheaply (and have more control over the design).

Additionally, I was already inspired to DIY some Beeminder hardware by this post in the Beeminder forum, where another user was building an dashboard that would display all of your goals using an e-ink display.

So in summary, I’m working to build a system where pressing a button will log the completion of a task with Beeminder, and a display that shows upcoming goals. I hope to use this system for more smart-home tasks once I know how to make Bluetooth Low Energy buttons.

It’s really important to me that my documentation for this project is accessible. I don’t have much formal technical background, and have mostly learned from working with people with more experience and the internet. So please, don’t hesitate to comment or ask me directly to clarify if something doesn’t make sense to you.