As a startup grows, so does the bathroom line.

Percolate has outgrown our office space, so the mention of Arduino technology during Hack Day kick-off quickly birthed an idea. We can build a way to check if the bathroom’s vacant from the comfort of your desk.

When Team Bathroom assembled–near the bathroom, of course–the first move was out the door. A shopping trip was in order.


At Canal Alarm Devices, the team picked up magnetic sensors to detect when the bathroom door opens.


Say hi everybody! From left above: April, Percolate office manager; Ian W, ops; Erik, mathematician; and Noah, co-founder and head of product.


There was a moment of reflection on Canal Street: How is this going to work exactly? The magnets tell a website if the toliet was vacant or occupied, if the door is open or closed. Visit a website to see and, if the door is closed, put your name–better yet, your Twitter handle–in the queue. When it’s your turn, you receive a tweet.


Then it was time to execute. Back at the office, April learned to code for the first time.


And Ian and Erik got to programming the Arduino.


Clearly, more field trips were eventually in order.


Meanwhile Brand Strategists Kunur and Jo selected the Twitter handle @PercolateWC and eventually wrangled a designer, Erin, for a crash-course in wireframing.



It took a bit of time for Kunur and Jo to find the wireframing templates.


At lunch, the team got a visit from Noah’s wife Leila. Clearly the Twitter bathroom reporter idea was born years ago: At Naked Communications, back when Twitter was first taking off, Noah sat near the loo and kept the office informed: “available,” “not available,” “hold off, someone took a while in there.”


Soon enough, Ian got the hardware working. Kunur, otherwise useless in these situations, put it on Vine.


And a working prototype was born in one working day. Awesome job Team Bathroom and on-the-fly recruits Doug and James OB.