ERU: LED Lighting Installation

Part 5 of the Electronics for the Rest of Us series

Team members: Jesse, Michael, Mackenzie

Our group’s Arduino project focuses on making an LED lighting installation which will be used to extend the functionality and aesthetics of a desktop personal computer. A strip of individually addressable RGB LEDs will be affixed to the back of a computer monitor and attached to the Arduino. The Arduino will receive information from the desktop PC, and adjust the lighting of the LEDs into one of several modes depending on what the user is currently doing on the PC. Some modes can also be manually engaged to suit the needs of the user. Some examples of these modes and their functions are:

  • Gaming Mode: The LEDs illuminate in red and blue (or other customizable colours), providing an easy way for the user to see the amount of mana and health they have. As they lose health or mana within the game (or another relevant stat), the intensity of the light decreases. Below a certain threshold, the LEDs can blink rapidly to indicate danger.
  • Movie Mode: The LEDs enter a dynamic colour mode, meant to enhance and expand the colours of the movie/tv show on screen. A scene with prominent red colours, possible from a bloody martial arts movie, will have the LEDs turn red to continue this motif on the wall behind the computer.
  • Pomodoro Mode: For users who are studying at their computers, the pomodoro mode is ideal. A certain time period, usually about 45 min, will be designated as study time, where the user is dedicated to focusing on studying. During this time, the LEDs will be a solid colour, slowly growing in intensity. After this time has elapsed, the LEDs will strobe for several seconds, then turn a secondary colour, indicating it is now time for a break. At the end of the break, the LEDs will strobe once more before returning to the primary “study” colour.
  • Passive Mode: A collection of soft, changing colours when the computer is asleep or no other modes are engaged.
  • Browsing Mode: While browsing the internet of doing other less intensive things, the LEDs are dimmed except for notifications from Facebook, email, etc.

These are a few of the many ideas our group has. The nice thing about using an open source platform like Arduino is that the user can make their own modes or customize existing ones.

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