This is a concept for establishments such as care homes or residential homes - anywhere where privacy is required but a lock is not always suitable.
The idea was created with the disabled toilet at my workplace in mind - we all use it because it's cleaner, but it is hard to see when it is available. I have lost count of the times people rattle the door when I'm minding my own business inside. It's ok for me - I lock the door, but in other situations it could be very awkward for people. The room has motion activated lights and no external windows, so a small hole in the wall would allow people to see when the motion activated lights are on, even from a distance, indicating if the room is in use.
Using these options a nurse or carer could tell at a glance if a room is in use (or if someone is wasting energy by leaving the light on!). They can be mounted high to avoid privacy issues, and there are several variations which allow different amounts of light to pass through.
As I thought about the concept, I realised that this solution wouldn't apply to all bathrooms - some have always on lighting, and others are well lit using windows. With this in mind I created a few different parts to either house semi transparent windows, or motion sensors and bulbs, and it would be ease to modify the template to match your requirements.
You just drill a hole in a wall and glue a cap over each end (with your choice of "payload" in each cap). It is purposely made in one piece, and I think the thickness of the plastic sides should allow it to be fitted quite firmly without bending or deforming the shape.
The single parts are meant to be interchangable and are all the same width. A janitor or workman could wander round with a bag of these and a drill, and fit the appropriate combinations on any room. The main face which is visible should be nice and flat because it is printed face down on the 3D printer bed, so they shouldn't need much sanding or preparation to make them look ok.
This isn't meant to replace locks (or even engaged signs) - it is a supplement, so it won't always be suitable, but in a lot a cases it should be useful.
I also made a Tie Fighter example, mainly as a bit of fun, but also to demonstrate that you can fit it into different types of room - a kids bedroom perhaps?
It could also be useful as an eco-friendly tool to see when lights have been left on in store rooms etc (especially if you use an eco friendly plastic like Polylactic Acid to print the units in the first place).
I made this for the Makebot and Make Magazine competition. It's not the most complex concept out there, but I'm happier submitting socially responsible ideas, and I believe it plays to the Makerbots key strengths - creating a useful item which you don't necesarily need hundreds of. The design should be quick to print, simple enough not to have too many quality issues, and easily modified and built on. I hope someone finds it useful, or it helps them to come up witht heir own concepts.
I'm not sure if the automatic rendering on here makes it completely clear what is going on, so I have attached some screenshots from MiniMagics as well - hope it makes sense.