This May I was contacted by a product developer for a new device called Airdoro. After corresponding via email, he offered to send me an early prototype. This small device combines a Pomodoro timer with various environmental sensors to make a great office productivity tool.
After several weeks, the prototype arrived. At this stage of product development, you have to adapt because things don’t always go as planned. For example, my package included a nice USB cable. I was perplexed so asked Igor why not just use batteries. They do, but there was additional paperwork needed to get the item through US customs if a lithium battery was included. It would’ve delayed delivery.
The Activity Timer
One of the main elements of the device is a Pomodoro-like timer. This is a productivity method based on setting a dedicated amount of time to do an activity. An activity can take one or more timed periods. In the Pomodoro method, when the timer goes off, you record a checkmark. These are called “Pomodoros”. After a set number of Pomodoros, you can take a break. The break timers don’t automatically start, but there are 5 and 15 minute timers that work well for these situations.
Using the top control buttons, I can set a timer for 5, 15, or 25 minutes. The mechanical arm and LED timer silently move as the timer ticks down. Eventually the arm will reach the bottom and reset. There is a slight sound as the arm resets. This just enough noise to catch your attention, but not enough to disturb you. The nice thing is you don’t have to touch the arm to set it. The top buttons control everything.
When the timer is running, you also see various environment settings such as temperature and a CO2 readings. In the picture below, my office temp is 78.9 and my CO2 reading is 667. The 03:49 indicates how much time is remaining to completion.
The Airdoro also records your Pomodoro counts. By clicking the top controls, I can see the number of finished Pomodoros for today by duration.
Your Office Environment
The second component of Airdoro are the environmental sensors. It’s easy for us to ignore these items, but they can be very important and impact productivity. When a Pomodoro timer isn’t running, you see:
- Temperature (you can choose either centigrade or Fahrenheit)
- CO2 reading
In this case, the LED lights easily let you know if your CO2 number is in range. As the reading goes up, the LED colors change from green to yellow to red.
Initially, I didn’t give much thought to these measurements, but then my area had 2 major events. I live in Northern California and we’ve been plagued by devastating forest fires and smoke. The second was we had extreme heat for our area. Most people around here do not have air conditioning. Both my office temperature and CO2 readings went up because the windows were closed. (Thankfully, the Bay area has low humidity.)
Beyond the Prototype
As you can tell from my photos, the prototype isn’t complete. There are some markings missing and this design is made of wood. I like the wood and mentioned this would be a great DIY science project for students. I’m tempted to open mine so I can add the battery, but I’m afraid I’d damage the unit.
The company plans to change both the casing and materials. You can see in the new concept below. The new one is no longer using wood and has a tapered design. The display is much larger as the physical arm and LED lights have been removed. This does make me wonder about the sound and if the new units will be totally quiet or have some audible component.
There’s An App for That
In my earlier emails with Igor, I said I didn’t need a phone app and there are a number of Pomodoro apps. Besides, I liked having a physical object on my desk. After seeing the mock ups for the app, I’ve changed my mind . I failed to consider the environmental stats which I think are important. Moreover, I see several new ones have been added that I like. As a F.lux user, the Ambient Light appeals to me and I’ve often wondered about my Noise levels when those gas-powered leaf blowers go by.
The other aspect that appealed to me were the cumulative performance stats. These reminded me a bit of RescueTime and their reporting. If the app can give me these cumulative stats, I’m a convert. These are the type of stats that prompt me to use the app and set the timer.
I applaud the AirDoro team as they’ve made lots of progress. I look forward to seeing the next model and to test the phone app. If you’re interested, you can also sign up to be informed about their Indiegogo campaign.