Hackaday Prize Entry: Smart Bed Lighting

[Scott] is building motion-activated lights for under the bed for his Hackaday Prize entry. Admittedly, there are fancier projects for the ‘Assistive Technology’ portion of the prize, but this project helps anyone who would otherwise stumble around in the dark. And as [Scott] jokes, that includes a number of underserved demographics including accident prone people, children afraid of the dark, drunks, and, “drunk accident prone children who are afraid of the dark”.

Although the idea of mounting LEDs under a bed is simple, the devil is in the details. [Scott] is using a PIR sensor to turn these hidden lights on and off when getting into or out of bed. An RTC ensures the LED strip will only be on during the desired hours. In [Scott]’s case, this means from 9PM to 7AM. When movement is detected at the foot of the bed, the lights remain on for about two minutes.

This is a fairly simple project compared to some of the entries we’ve seen in the Hackaday Prize, but it does have a purpose. It’s a great way to scare a child into believing there are monsters under a bed, and it every so slightly reduces the chances of a drunk stubbing their toe. [Scott] produced a video for this project, you can check that out below.

23 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize Entry: Smart Bed Lighting

  1. Not so novel though… I’ve done the same for my daughter who has balance problems and who needs to see where she’s stepping at night. I also have a similar setup in the kitchen for LED strips under the cabinets. I don’t think I’m the only one who’s done so either.

    1. Nope, you’re spot on – I install motion controlled under cabinet, floor, stairs and curio cabinet – as well as under bed. Now it’s actually as simple for the under bed as a $12 “kit” with a power supply, very good PIR sensor and 6 feet of LED on Amazon (I’m sure cheaper at the ‘bay) – I tend to point people to these for their bathrooms or bedrooms if they aren’t looking for something permanent.

    2. Still a good project, especially for people not that experienced in electronics.
      I am doing almost the same for my bedroom (upgrading my old system) because I’m doing alot of early/late/night shifts at my work and I don’t want to wake up The Wife.
      Instead of RTC I am using photoresistor, so the lights are activated only in the hours of darness.
      I know it is not space sience but comes very handy.

      1. Yes, because that’s clearly worth winning fancy prizes, right? Should anyone who changed a battery enter the contest too?

        It’s a good beginner’s project though. Nothing wrong with it. Just not prize worthy.

    3. Wasnt my intention to create a revolutionary product, and ive never claimed it deserves to win anything. Just figured id submit it to the contest for fun! I dont think thats such a bad thing to do.

      1. what you did is an awesome example of not settling for a ‘retail’ product, and I started the same exact way with LED’s

        Don’t let crappy comments downplaying your approach to the issue persuade you to stop hacking – by definition we’re on hack a day, which is what you’ve done!

        thank you for your submission!

  2. If you just buy a pir for outdoor lights they usually come with a photoresistor to stop activation during daylight. surely this is more sensible than a real time clock?
    I wouldn’t call it ‘smart’ either (which is actually a positive feature).

      1. I didn’t realise I had to enter a project into the contest in order to post a constructive critique, perhaps since you are clearly in charge around here you should think about adding that rule to the front page so everyone knows.
        What is your problem guy?
        p.s. What did I enter I entered your mum.

    1. to the creator of this light;
      thank you for posting this, we enjoyed it.

      to anyone saying this thing sucks because it does not have support for your tablet/smartphone:

      yeh, needing to buy a compatible or rootable phone that happens to be compatible with some emulator software to run some arduino-like code through the internet PLUS about FIVE different software licenses (wifi, bluetooth, cellphone, librarycode, ect) is ridiculous compared to something that you just plug in and it works… for anyone… for as long as the LEDs and electrons get along… no getting any messages from any entities telling you that someone decided you are no longer allowed to use it due to compatibility or security issues or a cloud-based service going out of buisness or having to buy(edit modify) a new lamp because of something that happened in an alleyway behind some bar’s back door…

      the light under the bed should be the ONE thing in life that will be there for you when you get home! and NOT be subject to change without notice.

      seeing your way to the washroom at night should NOT need to be hackable to outside people, plus they should NOT be able to “see” when i get up! why? what do i gain? what do THEY gain? why should i pay extra for this? in fact if its someone else getting MY data then the LEDstrip should be free with free replacements for life… thats how facebook works: data in exchange for servers always getting fixed even when you quit!

      i will whiz at night without needing 5 different software licenses that could be canceled/outdated at any time!

      PS: it’s bad enough that we have to deal with spikes and surges, oh wait, no-one cares if it only lasts a few months, software will stop being supported by then anyway.

      PPS: i had a huge LOL once when someone was frowning and i asked why, he said he could not “find” my lightset that i was wearing… he had about 3 or 4 seperate app’s running with lists of wifi and bluetooth and nfc but couldnt find me… i just laughed and walked away, he was to lazy to knock me out for the purpose of modding my lightset without my permission! airgap wins again.

        1. Some years ago I created an anti elephant oil. Every morning I paint my front step with it. Works like a charm, in all the time I have been using it I have never had an elephant try to get in to my home.

    1. modulated reflectance sensor that only activates at the correct height,
      that way only a wagging tail or a person activates the light.

      and the existing PIR could keep the light on longer (restart the timeout) but not activate it.

      so pacing after getting out of bed keeps the light on until pacing stops, but if pacing resumes the light stays off as youve probably switched abother one on by then. this way the light seems to know what you want without resorting to “smart” stuff.

  3. Did the same a few years ago for this reason. Had a 5m RGB strip laying around, two PIR sensors (1-2$ each) a TIP141 from the junk bin and an adjustable power supply. The supply was set to 8-9V as it gave out a pleasant reddish light, the two sensors were needed as the bed has a ledge in the middle. No extra parts other than some wire.

    Coincidence? Just some days ago I rebooted the project and stuck an Arduino (cheap Digispark) that does PWM and a nice 2 second fade-in/fade-out. The duration (40s) is still controlled by the PIR modules which have the output pin paralleled. Getting the module out or the laptop under the bed to adjust the settings is a pain, I would’ve gone with an ESP8266 next time.

    I don’t see the need for RTC or daylight sensors. A light that’s good for the dark is barely visible during the day.

    1. Some more details: the arduino/attiny85 gets the input from the PIR sensors and outputs a PWM signal to a 1k resistor and to the base of the TIP141. Without a resistor the transistor draws too much current.
      A red light is desirable as it doesn’t kill the night vision. Especially if it’s a shared bed.
      The initial transformer-based adjustable PSU drew 1-2W while idling so this was replaced with a 12V switching (whining) supply from the bin. Something to consider if it’s going to run all the time.
      Reading the PIR sensors as analog signal (rather than digital) increases detection sensitivity by 2-3x. Speaking of sensitivity, bare skin is picked up much faster than clothed one. So design with winter clothing in mind.
      A big factor is mounting, especially with a Roomba trying to chomp at the strip and sensors. I used a cutout of a dishwashing liquid bottle to set the sensors at just the right height, resting on the ledge. Much better than random strips of masking or gorilla tape.

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