Cubicle entry notification


Old 08-29-08, 05:20 PM
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Cubicle entry notification

I'm not sure what forum to post this in (or even if this is the right web site) but here goes...

I'd like to have a very simple alert system for when someone enters my cubicle at work. The entrance to the cubicle is behind me, and I listen to music with full-ear enclosing headphones most of the time to help me focus and concentrate, and eliminate the distraction of people talking and making other noises. The side effect of this is that when people need my attention I don't notice them at all, so they've taken to tapping on my shoulder.

However, I'm getting tired of this tapping. When I asked a few people recently to instead just wave a hand in my peripheral vision to get my attention, one of them started making a joke out of it and harassing me. Today she flapped her hands in the air when she already had my attention, and laughed. For some reason I'm not taking this sportsmanlike with my usual humor (maybe because I'm irritated with her for other reasons already and am feeling ungenerous).

Now yes, a mirror is an option and I may get one, but I'd like to give the impression that I can just tell when people enter my cube, without the obvious mirror sitting there to explain why. Plus, I have an idea that would be cool and, well, it's hard to resist cool!

My idea is for a simple low-intensity LED to light up any time someone walks into my cubicle (or perhaps even passes by the entrance to it). I can put the LED off to the side where I will notice it in my peripheral vision (I immediately notice the light on my phone even when I can't hear the ringer).

I initially tried to find an existing product for sale that could do this, but am coming up short.

I found a Non-Functioning Mock Security Camera. It might work, but I'd have to tear it apart to get the LED on a wire (probably 6 feet or so necessary to route the wire unseen), and to orient the motion sensor correctly I'd probably have to remove it, too, since I don't want it sensing my own movements. Or maybe I could just strategically tape off the housing? Anyway, I'd like it to be unobtrusive so was thinking of putting it under the desk, or in the corner of the desk behind some other small objects I have on it. The smaller the device is, the better. I am also concerned about putting the LED from this product on a long wire as the voltage may decrease enough to be a problem (I have only small practical experience with electronics and don't know the answer to this question without trying it). I'd like the light to not blink, just come on when it detects movement and turn off otherwise. I'm not sure if this light blinks or not.

I've discarded the idea of a beam-break sensor/electric eye because that requires an emitter and a detector, or a combined unit with a mirror (I think) and hiding the detector or mirror is not possible as it would be plainly visible on the wall.

There's also the possibility of some computer-interfaced motion detection system such as a wireless motion detector or USB camera with software that can give me a small alert when it detects motion, but we're starting to talk real cash here and I'd like to keep this very inexpensive. I can't have some video window sitting on top, I'm looking for something like an icon flashing in the system tray or something. And where do I even begin to look for that?

In trying to find motion detecting electronics components, I was dismayed to find that they cost $10 and up--twice the price of the mock security camera above!

So where would you start if you wanted to do something like this?

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Old 08-29-08, 05:44 PM
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I think they have simple entry notification systems at places like radio shack. But I know they are much more than $10. I'd go with the self adhesive parabolic mirror from an auto parts store or wally world. Rig your own mount..and keep it in the corner of your vision.

This and find a company that doesn't relegate their people into cube farms.
Old 08-29-08, 07:50 PM
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I'd get a pressure sensitive mat or an optical beam system to detect entry into the cubicle, and have that trigger the LED, or a cell phone vibrator motor, if not reconfigure the cubicle to notice people entering by sight.
Old 08-29-08, 10:02 PM
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Take a small, cute dog on a leash, put 'em at the entrance, and wrap his leash around your wrist.

You'll never miss a person entering your cubicle, and it might even attract some hottie to your area
Old 08-30-08, 01:40 AM
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You'll have to spend a lot more than $10 to do what you want, or just get the mirror.

If you don't want people to know how you do it, get a smoked-glass picture frame instead of a mirror.
Old 08-30-08, 03:00 AM
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If talking mock security camera, you are not even serious about folks entering the cubicle. If you were serious about folks entering the cubicle, you would rearrange it so that you would be 'face on' to anyone that did enter while you were there. If you are not there, then that is a different issue. Lock your desk and secure your computer with a password.
Of all the issues in the world about which to worry, this is one that ranks at the bottom. I say this because I have just been slammed with a diagnosis of congestive heart failure. Thus, I would not care who entered my cubicle. And, if I had one, I would welcome anyone who entered. The opportunity for discussion about anything would intrigue me.
Life is short. Focus your energy on things that are productive. Don't be so paranoid. Set up your computer with a password and rearrange your cubicle. Welcome folks that enter. Life alone can be devastating, whether at work or home. You sound like someone who is asocial.
Old 08-30-08, 08:45 AM
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is there a shrink in the house?

1st my answer to the first poster. I've bought a zillion thru beam sensors in my last job, and I'd think a thru beam might be the ticket here. To make the cost, consider a home garage door opener sensor, ebay or whatever.

To the last poster, my condolences. Make the best of what you have left, good advice even for the young and healthy.
Your response reminds me of what I read some years ago in a boating forum. Someone wanted to know how to polish a bronze thru-hull, the part that was inside the boat, in the bilge. One reply suggested he get a life, basically. Yeah, there are some people with apparently either nothing to do, or are obsessed with doing the inane. From my view in the forum world, it's either about helping others, learning, or sometimes, simply getting entertained.
Old 08-30-08, 10:50 AM
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Can you reposition your desk so you can see the entrance?

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