Office Status Light

An IoT status light for your desk. Let others know when you are free or busy.


Like most fun projects, this started off as a joke when my previous employer handed everyone status cards to tape to their laptops. This consisted of a paper pocket that would be on the back of your laptop and a few different colored cards marked “Free”, “Busy”, etc. This was supposed to help lower open office disturbances. I worked in the classic startup tech open office. I’m sure some caged chickens had more room to move than us. It was “Open Office” not “Free Range”.

Going with my style of humor, I wanted to take it up a notch. So I found a large tricolor status light meant for large machinery to put on my desk.

I connected a relay board to power the 12V DC lights and a Particle Photon(WiFi Microcontroller) to control it. Bash alias commands would trigger the devices API to set the light.

I planned to write some code to have it auto sync to my Google Calender or Slack status, but I quickly discovered that it would be futile.

The light meant to prevent people from bothering me while working worked like a porch light to moths.

Some Colleague - “Danny - Whachtya got there?”

Me - “It’s a light I made to tell people to not disrupt me….”

Some Colleague - “Oh wow, that’s so cool! How does it work?”

Me - “I give up”

Post COVID-19 Universe

My wife and I are both working remotely now. We live in a small apartment with our two dogs Sergeant and Pepper. Being aware of each other’s work status is now an important issue. Especially when you’re always wearing headphones and always on Zoom. I might have to dig the Status Light out of storage…

This project was completed sometime in 2016. This is part of an effort to document past projects on a weekly ongoing basis

· project, IoT, work tech, presence