ERU: Smart Night Lamp

Part 4 of the Electronics for the Rest of Us series

 Team and authors: Chandula and Matthew

For our project, we would like to make a ‘smart’ night lamp. There are 2 main criteria that this lamp must meet; it must be energy efficient and appropriate for a variety of ‘bedside activities’. In addition we also have the optional criteria of being aesthetically pleasing (decorative). This is the ‘solution’ we have designed to meet our criteria; we will be making a LED lamp that uses a photocell sensor to detect when it is dark (a good representation of ‘night time’) and turns on automatically. On the side of the lamp, there will be a linear trim pot (volume knob) which will have a few ‘settings’ marked. These settings would be various bedtime activities including reading, relaxing, listening to music, etc (we would code different combinations of RGB colours and intensities of the LEDs for each ‘setting’). Using the knob, you can smoothly move between the different ‘mood settings’ to best suit your current activity. In addition there will be a softpot (touch position slider) which will serve as a dimmer, which you can use to select the required brightness setting for the lamp. Ideally this entire system will be built into a professional looking painted frame in order to achieve our additional optional criteria of aesthetic value. The great thing about this project is that we have all the materials we need (except the optional painted frame) right in the starter kit itself (granted we might want to use more LEDs, especially the RGB ones for greater effect). In terms of timeline, getting the entire setup wired up and even getting the LEDs to light up when dark shouldn’t take too long (projected to be done by Session 3). The remaining ‘adjustment and enhancement phase’, coding the settings for the linear trim pot and the softpot, should take a lot longer (projected to be done by Session 5). The remaining time is planned as contingency time, adding any additional features that may be added to the design in time and polishing up our presentation. We were inspired by various mood lights created using Arduino online such as We also wanted to try stick with the materials in the box.

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