I’m looking for a way to use sensors to track how often I utilize my standing desk. Suggestions on ways to get data into SmartThings relating to position, as I don’t have anything “smart” built into the desk (despite it having sensors and numbers?) I would then automate/record it further.
Ideas I can think of:
- Use a magnetic switch sensor to track position, and a motion sensor to track activity
Cons: Would require multiple sensors for each position I have it in, unless I just go for binary but that would likely be unreliable (unless I possibly added additional magnets?) - movement of my desk to any other position (possible) would be problematic
Inspiration found at https://forum.beeminder.com/t/tracking-standing-desk-time/1832
- Place/wire a secondary button next/on top of existing buttons
Pros: Easy to do, doesn’t change workflow
Cons: Requires more manual work/intervention
- Rewire/program the whole thing (something like https://timmyomahony.com/blog/home-made-standing-desk-raspberry-pi-controller)
Pros: Looks awesome
Cons: Looks like a lot more work
- Manually bug me every time to enter information
Pros: No technical work required
Cons: Not really “automatic”
Sounds like an interesting project!
For anything like this, you first need to define the physical changes in the environment that you are going to track. Once you know those, you can figure out what devices you’ll need to track them. So how are you going to tell the difference between actually working at the standing desk and walking across the room near it, for example?
Also, do you use the same desk in a seated position? That is, does it go up and down and you’re trying to track when it’s elevated? Or do you use a different desk when you are seated? The reason I ask that is if it’s a desk that you only use as a standing desk, you could just put a pressure mat in front of it and get the data that way.
If it’s a desk that can go up and down and all that, one of the easiest things might be just to put a motion sensor in a fairly hidden position and just wave your hand in front of it when you want to start tracking. And another similar sensor to track when you stopped. I have a motion sensor on the side of the nightstand next to my bed facing the bed so it never gets triggered accidentally. I just wave a hand over it when I’m getting out of bed to turn on the lights, for example
Or again if the desk lifts up you might be able to just use a contact sensor that will know the difference between desk lowered and desk raised.
You might also find the following thread gives you some additional ideas:
Using a simple door sensor could tell you if the desk is on the seated or not seated position. I use one to tell if my lounge curtains are closed. As you say, additional magnets would allow you to extend the range of the closed position. The smartThings door sensors has vibration that should be able to detect desk movement.
An alternative would be to use a roller shutter module. These allow you to set and monitor a variable position but would need to be wired into the motor. Fibaro, Aeon and Qubino make these modules.
If you can find a Smartthings multi sensor they have a pretty strong magnet. I was also thinking of using the tilt function on a DIY slide or arm. The idea would be something that would tilt as the table would go up.
Setting up automatic tracking would be pretty hard; you should set a timer when you go into standing mode. I’ve been using eurekaergonomic.com in my work for a few years now, and I’ve never thought to time my work standing up. I decided to buy a desk like this to stretch my muscles and work standing up sometimes. Thanks to that, my knee pain is gone.
Setting up automatic tracking would be pretty hard; you should set a timer when you go into standing mode.