R2-D2 Keeps this University Bathroom Smelling Fresh

For a fun university project, [Cengizhan Can] and friends decided to make an automated air freshener for one of their bathrooms at the Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Happening to have an old R2-D2 plastic candy jar, they decided to try to see if they could make it Star Wars themed.

They loaded up the R2-D2 shell with an Arduino, a ton of sensors (don’t worry, nothing for spying) and an actuator for triggering the air freshener. During normal operation the LCD will display ambient temperature information and the approximate number of air freshener shots remaining in the canister. An external door sensor checks to see if the stall is open, and coupled with a light sensor, only sprays freshener after use, and when no one is in the stall anymore.

They also added a motion sensor and an ultrasonic sensor, which could be used for determining occupancy as well — for a future upgrade we suppose.

For other fun air freshener hacks, did you know you can use one as a remote camera shutter release?

8 thoughts on “R2-D2 Keeps this University Bathroom Smelling Fresh

  1. I wonder why they did a whole setup like that instead of repurposing electronics from one of the cheap consumer units. and also why arduino? ESP8266 would do this nicely on batteries so you dont need the wires, and report battery life as well as if the can is getting close to empty by counting sprays.

    1. It’s a goofy college project :P I’m sure they grabbed what they had in their junk boxes or else wanted to learn how to use different peripherals. When it comes to the Arduino vs ESP8266 (or any other board), all of us have to start somewhere and Arduino is a good way to start out.

  2. am i the only one that sees a problem in putting robot like things in bathroom stalls? if i were to stumble upon that stall, i sure as hell woudn’t do anything there, because that just yells CREEP CAMERA

    1. If somebody wants to install such a camera, it would attract much less attention if he hides it in the case of a standard air freshener.
      On the other hand, I know somebody who did penetration testing for companies, also for physical security. Sometimes he was able to connect his own wireless access point to the internal LAN of the customer. He mentioned, that the best “camouflage” was to use a bright orange casing and a thick cable, so that nobody questioned at all, that this was some legitimate installation, perhaps something for the fire protection/alarm system.

      1. too bad there’s no “upvote” function. but this, right here.
        all something has to do is “look like it’s supposed to be there”. Blatant things are never hidden, and therefore, “supposed to be there” for almost everyone who sees it.

        We had the Army Corps of Engineers along with the state cut a huge flood control bypass underneath our parking lot-it’s the size of the underground passage for MUNI in SF- about 5 years ago. Took months.

        Seems no one even remembers its there. Large drain vents too. You could hide a bunker down there right now and no one would be the wiser……muahahaha!

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