This hardware is used to keep a computer monitor awake when there is motion in the room. The monitor displays important information for firefighter in the vehicle bay, but only needs to be on when they are getting ready to go out on a call. The solution is a simple one, a PIR sensor combines with a mouse for motion sensitive input. When the PIR sensor detects motion it causes a mouse button click via a 2N3904 transistor. Now the monitor will not waste power or have burn-in over the long term, but whenever someone is in the room it will be displaying the information that the emergency workers need to know.
What can you do to make sure your system is running as efficiently as possible? Take a page out of [Mux’s] book, who went to great lengths to measure and adjust his system for ultimate efficiency (translated). What he ended up with is 8.5 Watts of consumption at idle and about 50 Watts under load. Luckily he posted a six-part series with all of the details.
Some of the changes he made were in software, like reducing voltage to certain hardware by adjusting BIOS settings, and installing display drivers that put the screen into the proper sleep mode. Others were hardware changes like swapping out the power supply with a hacked PicoPSU and removing unnecessary parts from the motherboard like the MAX232 com-port chip. Looks like we need to audit our always-on MythTV box and see if we can apply any of these power-saving techniques.
[Mike Silverman] rigged up a way to make his monitor sleep from an iPhone. Working with a Windows system, he installed QuickPHP and NirCmd to add PHP and command line controls. Some quick PHP code writing and this has the effect of creating a sleep button toggled via a network address. He loads up the IP and port information in the Safari browser of his iPhone, creating a Home Screen short cut seen in the image above. Now he clicks on the button and puts the screen to sleep.
It’s not that we find this functionality useful since most monitors sleep after a few minutes of inactivity. But we like the methodology and you can bet we’re already planning uses for this. Any PHP server (like the copy of Apache running on this machine) will do as long as it’s on the same LAN as the iPhone’s WiFi connection.
[Harandi] wrote to us to let us know about a project he’s working on to improve our nightly rest. This is the Happillow. The Happillow is an alarm clock, as well as a snore relief system. We’re not sure that the snoring bothers us so much, but we’re sure our significant others appreciate that part. While pillows exist that are supposed to cut down on snoring, they generally have a specific shape to position your head properly, which should cut down on the snores. [Harandi] points out that this might be embarrassing to the user as it is obvious to anyone looking at the bed that they have a snore reducing pillow. The Happillow detects the noise and agitates you to get you to reposition yourself. We have actually seen a very similar project in the past with the Interactive Pillow project.
Snoozy the Sloth clings to you and sleeps. While this may sound easily done, the maker wanted the sloth to actually simulate breathing with exhaled breath to add to the realism. To do this, they had to build a “respiratory system” out of a rubber glove, a solenoid, and a couple pumps. This kind of toy can be very beneficial to special needs children. The lifelike and calm behavior helps the child connect to the toy. The pumps and solenoid are said to not be too distracting, but we are curious just how loud they are. This seems well executed, and much more sloth like than slothra, another sloth toy from last week. Were these guys in an Arduino powered sloth making class together?
The Boston Globe recently posted some tips to help you get the most from your naps. The information comes in the form of a chart with numerous facts about naps, including the timeline of events in a typical nap, information about chronotypes, and ideas on how to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep. Since our post on polyphasic sleep, we’ve been interested in sleep techniques that essentially trick the body into feeling as rested as possible (the crudest form of biohacking, in our opinion). Many of these techniques are certainly applicable to polyphasic sleep, but one of the most interesting concepts, chronotypes, is not. Chronotypes are simply profiles of sleep habits that denote the times a person’s body is more readily disposed to fall asleep; since polyphasic sleep requires practitioners to sleep several times a day, it is always in conflict with the person’s chronotype at some point in the day. Nonetheless, the chart should help you stay alive if you ever have several back-to-back intercontinental flights.