by Bill Huseby
I often get asked, “What cool projects are you working on at SIGMADESIGN” Sometimes the question is asked differently, “What is your favorite project you have ever worked on?” Appropriately, many of our clients have strict confidentiality rules that don’t allow us to discuss their projects or even mention their names. With one of our Core Values being Integrity, we make it a point to stand by their requests of confidentiality. This means we can’t share many of the really neat projects we work on. We are really excited and proud of this work!
There is one project I can share that is by far my most favorite of my entire 34 year career. I didn’t make a dime on it and it took me about 20 minutes to complete.
A good friend of mine came to me and explained that his elderly father was suffering from dementia. His father would spend hours every day in front of the TV to pass the time. However, because the remote control for the TV had so many buttons he would often end up pressing the wrong buttons by mistake. The result was that the TV would end up in some useless state and my friend’s ailing father was not able to get back to watching his normal channels until someone came along to assist, often hours later. I was asked if I could make a remote where the only functional buttons were: ON/OFF, Channel Up/Down and Volume Up/Down.
It didn’t take me very long to open his remote, place some scotch tape on the button contacts that I needed to disable and pop it back together. My friend’s father could then press the buttons to his heart’s content without ending up watching the “static channel”.
This project was by no means a feat of engineering brilliance. It certainly didn’t require years of engineering training. What makes it my favorite is that someone came to me and asked for help, not for himself but for someone else, AND I was able to provide the help very quickly. This project sticks with me because it is a good example of two of SIGMADESIGN’s Core Values: Help Clients and Each Other as well as Exceed Customer’s Expectations. There are many other more complicated ways this project could have been solved, but this example makes it clear that sometimes the best solutions are the simple ones.