ERU: Smart Night Lamp, in progress

In order to present our understanding of the Arduino circuitry and programming language, we set out to make a ‘smart’ night lamp. We had 2 main criteria that the lamp to meet; energy efficiency and being an appropriate companion for a variety of ‘bedside activities’ in addition the optional third criteria of being aesthetically pleasing (decorative). There has been 45 days since our last blog post and we have a come a long way from a mere idea. While we have met many limitations along the way, currently we have a product that can very well be considered a night lamp, albeit a rudimentary one.

Currently our tiny breadboard contains 3 main features; an RGB LED that continuously and smoothly cycles through the colours of the rainbow, a photocell that detects when it is dark (and thereby ‘night time’) and turns on the said RGB LED, and in addition we have an additional single coloured LED that changes its activity (currently the rate it blinks) as the knob of a linear trim pot is turned. This is not very far from our final product that we had designed back in the first days of the class. Since we have successfully made the circuit detect night time, with some simple additional wiring (that will be done when assembling the final product) we have a mechanism that automatically turns on the mood lamp in the night, meeting our energy efficient criteria. The linear trim pot successfully detects and relays different settings, different “moods”, and with some basic changes to our code we can easily change the current command to change the rate of blinking to change the colour of the RGB LED and perhaps even start strobing for a certain mood.

There are a few features that we have decided to drop, such as the softpot for changing the overall brightness of the lamp, since adding the softpot caused an unnecessary amount of messiness when it came to wiring and was frequently unpredictable, and the ability to play music as buying a music shield to read and play proper audio files didn’t seem worth the cost for the project. For a while, we tried to add an additional feature of running the entire code off an ATTiny 45 as that reduced wiring, removed the need for a bulky RedBoard and helped the overall product closer to a more aesthetically pleasing device (our third optional criteria) however due to current issues in getting the ATTiny 45 to recognize analog input (from the linear trim pot), we might drop this feature and instead design a clever way to hide the ugly RedBoard. In addition to making the minor changes in wiring and coding as described above, we also plan to use craft supplies to actually build something that looks more like a mood lamp rather than a gathering of wires and silicone that happens to have a RGB LED smoothly cycling through colours in the night.

What our current mood lamp looks like. As you can see, the photocell recognizes the shadow of the hand (relating darkness to night time) and turns on the RGB LED which cycles continuously and smoothly through a loop of colours.

What our current mood lamp looks like. As you can see, the photocell recognizes the shadow of the hand (relating darkness to night time) and turns on the RGB LED which cycles continuously and smoothly through a loop of colours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chandula & Matthew

Posted in Blog, Electronics for the Rest of Us! Tagged with: ,

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