Status Display Lets Them Know You Can’t Play

All this ongoing forced togetherness is great, but sometimes you just need to be able to pretend you’re alone so you can get some work done. So, how do you keep family members out of your home office? Our own [Bob Baddeley]’s free/busy indicator is about as simple as it gets.

The best part is that the status can been seen on both sides of the door so you don’t forget to keep it updated. Or maybe it’s the super-low part count. There’s no BLE, LoRa, or Wi-Fi, just two sets of red and green LEDs, a three-way switch, and a power source. Well, and current-limiting resistors of course.

[Bob] already had all the components on hand, including the nifty enclosure, which is another great thing about this build. Like [Bob] says, you could house the control side of this circuit in just about anything you’ve got lying around.

Young children might abuse this one, but this status indicator that lets the family request your presence with the push of a button.

17 thoughts on “Status Display Lets Them Know You Can’t Play

  1. Home office door shut — treat it like I am at the office (physically out of house) and really think about would you dare call me over this while I am at work?

    Home office door ajar — come in if really important

    home office door open — feel free to stop by.

    These should be home office rules during pandemic or not.

    1. That and noise canceling headphones would be my only salvation, knowing most of my family.
      No matter the age or urgency, they always barge in and demand undivided attention, causing me to lose focus and my productivity vibe.

  2. While I know Hackaday is about DIY creativity, we use RGB pool lights with a RF remote. Blue means on a call – keep quiet – while red means on Zoom – so don’t even think about coming in. And flashing read means it’s business confidential – so don’t even try to listen through the door. With no extra wires snaking about, one pool light is next to the remote (so you know what status is set) and the other light is on the other side of the door on a ledge (so you’re warned before even coming down the hallway). Works great, extra versatile, and nicely inexpensive on Amazon. RF is essential to work through the door as most of the units are IR and not much good over 3ft even LOS.

    1. You know I was thinking about picking up a couple RGB wifi connected bulbs. That might actually be a better solution, though by the looks of it, not cheaper. Are you talking about the flood light looking bulbs that are mounted in the sides of pools or something else?

      1. We’re using the puck-like pool lights with the magnet on the back (which offers vertical placement options). They’re supposed to be waterproof, which many reviews say otherwise, but being a completely self-contained, compact unit it’s perfect for dry use.

        While the bulbs are more expensive, they do offer voice control options (Alexa, blink red annunciation light one). This was a low cost, I-need-it-yesterday, solution.

        But, yes, it’s gets increasingly elegant (and expensive) from there. Zoom and cell phone addons that signal an ESP8266 to control an addressable LED strip or a backlit LCD screen. Ultrasonic detectors to trigger an additional warning message. Day’m, even a door lock! Or, echoing the more sanguine posters, a mild shock to the door knob (with an appropriately ominous laugh from the proximity speakers).

        And then there’s the robotics.

        1. And along with custom voice annunciations a tracked robot that flashes a strobe light and launches Nerf rockets. Day’m, it could even have a chase the cat subroutine. What, too soon?

  3. This scheme could be extended. Another color light for “bring coffee” and another for “bring food”. And add a loud buzzer in case passing family members don’t notice the new lights coming on.

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