Coin Sorter Re-design

December 13, 2013 Experiments

With the semester wrapping up, I have a little bit of time to catch up on adding projects from the past semester.  One of these was for my Interactive Prototyping class with Bryce Beamer.  The second project was the Record Player I already posted, but the first project was to re-design an existing product to improve the interface and user experience.  For this project, I chose the classic coin sorter:


Now, this item as it currently exists is pretty much devoid of an interface.  There is an on/off switch that controls the rotating feeding tray to send one coin at a time through the sorter.  The sorting is done mechanically, based on coin size, where specifically sized opening s along a spiral ramp allow dimes to fall out first, then pennies, nickles, and finally quarters.  The coins then fall into their respective tubes which have a stopper at the bottom to allow only the prescribed number of coins (40 quarters, 40 nickels, 50 pennies, 50 dimes) fall into the wrapper, at which point extra coins will slide over the top.

For my re-design, I wanted to solve some of the problems that this interface, or lack of one, presents in its current form:

  1. Manual Operation – The on/off switch works.  But can it be done differently, with a better result?
  2. Noisy During Use – The gearing reduction on the feeder tray is really loud.
  3. Insufficient Feedback – There is no way to tell how much money is presently in the machine until you fill a full roll of coins.

Here’s what I came up with:


The new design takes care of these problems by limiting input.  A simple slot allows you to only put in one coin at a time, removing the need for the noisy coin feeder.  Using the Arduino skills learned in the class, I added electronics to determine what type of coin was deposited, and display this information to the user a the time of deposit.  If the user doesn’t have a coin, they can simply tap the sorter to activate the display:


To keep the functionality of the sorting, designed a custom coin roll holder that stores the coins tube wrappers like the original design:


Here are some of the final pictures:

Check out the video I made as a final project documentation deliverable:

Coin Sorter: an interface redesign from Seth Moczydlowski on Vimeo.

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