An automatically-dimming light
Created by InterLinked
Products | Created 5/15/2020 9:59 AM | Last Activity 5/30/2022 5:52 PM
Many of us frequently end up studying or working late into the evening - often long after the sun has set. Most of us turn to artificial light, but bright lighting disrupts melatonin production, making it harder for us to fall asleep. Blue light filters for computers already help reduce blue light exposure; what if your lamp could do something similar?
Introducing... NiteLite! In the hours before bedtime, NiteLite will gradually dim the lights to allow for a smooth transition from work to sleep. You can use any lamp of your choice with a standard incandescent bulb. NiteLight is a controller for your light source, an adjunct to lighting you already have. This means you can use your favorite lamp - no need to buy a particular kind of lighting.
Why Incandescent Bulbs?
- Incandescent bulbs universally support dimming. No need to worry finding bulbs that support it - it's implicit.
- Incandescent bulbs are better for your health. Energy-efficient bulbs carry many varying health risks - including both CFLs and LEDs. Using an incandescent light source ensures you get near-natural lighting without any of the health risks. It uses more energy than CFLs or LEDs, but it's better for you and for the environment!
Currently, NiteLite leverages a standard light dimmer and uses an Arduino connected to a servo motor to control the dimmer switch, so you don't have to! Additionally, motion and temperature sensors allow for additional functionality.
One setback we encountered was the Arduino used for the prototype can't easily directly control the voltage. A transistor is insufficient, because we need to work with mains electricity, which is AC (alternating current). At 120 volts, this is dangerous (and deadly, if you don't do it properly). That's why we looked into mechanically controlling the dim cycle, rather than electrically, for this prototype.
Currently, the prototype of NiteLite is only capable of dimming a light over time, and it can't increase the brightness over time. A servo motor capable of 360-degree movement would allow additional control, flexibility, and ease of use.