Blinking Light Switch

In addition to being a great replacement for that aging eye patch, these specs act as a light switch. By watching your eyelids, they are able to kill the lights whenever you blink.

The installation is a shared experience piece conceived by [Michal Kohút]. He wanted to illustrate the constant blinking we all do but rarely think about. The system uses an Arduino to capture events from the blink sensors and switch the lights accordingly. This way the wearer doesn’t experience a loss of illumination, but the observer does. Check out the video after the break for a quick demonstration.

One of the commenters from the source article shared a video link to another blink-based light project. That one uses electrodes attached to skin around your eye in order to detect eyelid motion.

[via Reddit]

15 thoughts on “Blinking Light Switch

    1. If you use florescent lights it will COST you a lot more than leaving the lights on all the time.
      Compact florescent lights (CFLs) should not be
      turned off and on rapidly. Constant restarting will
      shorten the bulbs life.

      One of the cautions on CFL packages and in
      articles is that you should not use them in
      locations where the light is turned off and on frequently.
      (I am not sure about energy use – how much it takes to start a florescent vs. energy to keep it on, although again I suspect rapid turning off and on would use more power than leaving it on.)

      I don’t know how constant turning off and on would affect incandescent bulbs. Seems like it might put additional stress on the element to be constantly cooling and heating, but don’t know the specifications on number of cycles, etc.

    2. If one ignores practicality (assumes turning
      off and on a light has no effect on its longevity, and that power consumption is constant when the
      light is on and 0 when the light is off).

      Back of the envelope calculation:
      B10numbers says that blinks last 0.1 to 0.4 seconds
      and that typical duration between blinks is 2.8
      So something in the neighborhood of 8% of time
      eyes are closed. (range from those numbers about 3% to 15%), but there is also variation between
      people, we blink less when doing some activities (e.g. reading), etc.
      Then you also have the power used by the sensing and switching system.

      By comparison, a CFL uses maybe 1/4 of the power used by an incandescent. (So switching lighting technology would save a lot more than turning off
      an incandescent every time you blinked.)

  1. I don’t think it would hurt LED lighting though. It would be no different that using PWM to control the LED’s apparent brightness. Energy savings? Looks like that girl blinked alot. It might add up to a little something over a year. How about LED lights, the blink detector glasses, and a RFID detector? The lights are always off when your not at home or blinking. No more fussing at the kids to turn the lights off :).

    1. But most energy used by people is heating and cooling, and maybe transport if you count that in this context, and with led lighting you virtually use no energy.
      So you’d save the whole lighting bill with some very minor insulation for instance.

  2. His next “piece” should be a yawn detector so that he can measure how little people give a shit about his artsy-fartsy pseudo-tech projects.

    //@kay, nice weebly woobly timey wimey reference there//

    1. I honestly think it’s a fun idea (as someone who has made some pretty pointless-yet-cool electronics in the past.

      The upsetting part to me is how crappy his design is. I mean, having to cover up one of your eyes? Really? And that exposed piece of perf board is atrocious.

      This is why it bugs me when people think that knowing how to use Arduino makes them an engineer all of a sudden.

      1. You didn’t even watch the video, else you’d know she doesn’t cover one eye at all.

        So I guess you don’t mind people who comment without bothering to even know what they comment on then eh.

      2. What? Look at the glasses. They have only one lens. The other lens is a circuit board. I’m saying that it would have been a much better design to move whatever sensor (probably an IR proximity sensor) off to the side and hide it in the frame.

      3. With tools like the Arduino, hardware and electronics became available to a wider group of people. I think you need to start to see them in a different light. My approach (and that of a lot of others) is that of an artist, and often ‘if it works, it works’ is good enough. I don’t claim that my solutions to technical problems are the best, cheapest, most sophisticated. Not by a long shot. But they don’t have to be.

        I do agree that the design could be better. Showing the perf board is an esthetic choice you can argue about and blocking one eye seems unnecessary, but he never claims to be an engineer. This is not an object you _have_ to buy, use or whatever. It is just a fun thing someone made to make some people think or laugh. So it might be a good idea to think about this when viewing this kind of projects, and when you respond to them.

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