FINAL PROJECT (SO FAR)
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Revised revised plan:

There comes a point in every undergrad's life when she realizes that she is in no position to own a chandelier. Okay maybe that's just me. Anyhow, I decided to make a more tiny-apartment-friendly design: a set of lamps that can be arranged around a room and controlled by a single controller. Each lamp will contain a very bright cool white LED and a very bright warm white LED as well as a controller board that can detect signals from the remote and dim each LED accordingly.

Materials beyond fab inventory:

LEDs Sparkfun 5 pk. each of warm white and cool white $7.95/pk
Coin cell battery holder Sparkfun $1.95
2x CR2032 batteries Amazon $0.51/each
AC to 5V DC converter Amazon $5.50/each

Revised plan:

In the interest of not pushing my patience with electronics any further than necessary, I decided to scrap the wearable to give myself more time to design the chandelier and fewer points of failure when it comes time to debug. Instead of picking up on the user's mood via a wearable, I will build a small remote control with buttons that indicate different possible moods. This will be much easier to control and will allow me to have preset values that do not need to be calibrated for each wearer. The remote control will have buttons for studying, normal social activities and hanging out, and calming down before bed or when overly stressed. I can still use IR to connect the remote with the chandelier.

I bought some excellent and reasonably cheap cool/neutral/warm white LED bulbs from Home Depot, which I plan to test during output devices week. They work by cycling through the three modes (off->cool->off->neutral, etc.) with a normal switch. I want to hack this switch mechanism so it can be done by the remote control. If I really step up my programming game, I may also find a way to bypass the off and go directly to the desired output, but we'll see.

Update: After breaking the top off of one of the bulbs, I discovered how the bulbs actually work and decided it would probably be easier to make my own (though not necessarily in bulb form). The three color modes were just dictated by three separate sets of tiny LEDs, so that each set only produced a single shade of white. The cool and neutral had more LEDs than the warm, as they were intended to be brighter.



At this point, I'm confident enough in my soldering skills that I could easily build a line or array of LEDs in whatever shape I want, leaving me less constrained form-wise for my chandelier. Creating my own array would also allow me to use PWM to fade between the three sets and achieve a full spectrum of white colors instead of three discrete modes. My next steps will be to design the chandelier itself so I can determine how many LEDs I will need and to design and build a controller that uses a potentiometer to vary the output.



Original plan:



For my final project, I want to build a chandelier that changes to respond to the user's mood. The quality of light in a room can have a pronounced effect on a user's mood and behavior, depending on factors like brightness, how warm or cool the color is, and whether the light flickers or is constant.

I intend to play with these factors and create a wearable control mechanism in the form of a bracelet or ring that the user can interact with to determine what qualities the light will have. The wearable will have a sensor measuring biological signals like body temperature or heart rate that correlate to mood. It will transmit these signals via IR to the chandelier, which will be programmed to respond with a certain frequency of light.

I will use the output devices week to work out the LED components of the chandelier and get them to respond to sample input data. I will then use the input devices week to figure out how to set up the sensors in the wearable part, and I will use the networking and communications week to connect the two. I will build the physical structure of the chandelier and the wearable using a combination of CNC machining, molding and casting, and 3D printing once I know more about the affordances and constraints of those processes and the corresponding materials.