[0] Concept of Final Project


The final project is COMPLETE! Please click here to see the result.


I’ve been thinking hard about what I want to do for my final project… since I have no design experience, part of the difficulty for choosing an idea is trying to understand the level of complexity in realizing a design, and getting that to match my abilities.

Currently, my favorite idea is to build context-aware window blinds.

I was inspired by the idea of automatically controlled window shades because of my life-long problems with sleep.  I read some studies last year that detailed how the circadian rhythm is regulated in people, and what I learned was the following:

  • eating meals at the “right” time of day helps pace the circadian rhythm appropriately
  • the body controls the sleep cycle mainly by input from exposure to sunlight
Just enough light at the right moments to help you feel relaxed in your own home

Just enough light at the right moments to help you feel relaxed in your own home

Eating meals at the right time of day is not so difficult, that is almost a given for most people.  But how do we control the exposure to sunlight when we spend most time indoors (especially in the winter)?  Last year, I successfully resolved my sleep issues by exercising regularly (which helped manage my stress), but I would also sleep with the blinds totally open so that I would be woken by the sunlight at sunrise.  I’ve barely set my alarm a few times in the past year and I can say, without a doubt, not only is the feeling of being blanketed by sunlight in the morning better than a blaring alarm clock, but I feel much more rested and clear in the morning, as well.

Yet, leaving the blinds open presents other problems.  What about privacy?  Sometimes I would stay up late at night on my laptop, and I was conscious of the fact that people could see me at night, reading Reddit.  This was an uncomfortable feeling.  But, if I closed my blinds at night, wouldn’t be able to wake up in the morning anymore without an alarm clock.

Hence, we have the solution: context-aware window blinds.  A context-aware blind understands what time of day it is, and what level of sunlight or moonlight is perfect for the occasion.  Context-aware blinds know when you need privacy and when you need sunlight.  They know what to do at just the right time, to promote your quality of life.