The making of the “yes-no” box

I was given a mysterious job at work from the very top management in my company. I was asked to make a simple communication device that merely says “yes” or “no” with a single button. A longer press means “no” while a short press means “yes”, denoted by a blinking red and green LED respectively. Who it was for was never mentioned. And it was a hush hush, under-the-radar kind of project, a personal, unofficial project, and I was working on it alone. I was guessing it could be for someone with locked-in syndrome like Stephen Hawking, or someone with severe intellectual disability that does not allow him or her to talk. Maybe I should have called it the ‘Stephen Hawking’ communication device, but that would be disrespectful to the scientist.

So I made a prototype first using a breadboard and cardboard casing, to make sure my programming and wiring was correct. I got feedback from that top management guy and then made a final version with a soldered circuit and putting it into a proper black plastic box.

This is what the prototype looks like on the outside:-

Yes-No box prototype

Yes-No box prototype

And this is what it looks like on the inside:-

Inside the prototype

Inside the prototype

So after the prototype was approved. I started soldering the final circuit. Pics of it before mounting it onto the box:-

Top side view of final circuit

Top side view of final circuit

Other view of final circuit

Other view of final circuit

I paid S$50 for a shop to do all the mechanical mounting for me. The shop drilled the holes using a S$400 rotary drill and a S$100 bench drill.

rotary drill

rotary drill

bench drill

bench drill

That $50 was totally worth it cos it would have taken me a whole day to do the holes and I would have done a lousy job of it and the box would turn out ugly.

So the final product looks like this:-

With a grip switch

With a grip switch

Closeup of inside

Closeup of inside

Here’s a short video showing how it works:-

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