Turn On Your Lights With A Wave Of A Magic Wand

Smartphones and voice assistants are the typical way most of us interact with our smart devices around the home, but it doesn’t have to be the only way. [Sam March] wanted things to feel a little more magical – so built a wand to do the job instead.

The wand relies on a DA14531 Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) system-on-chip, and is paired with what appear to be smart plugs running on the same hardware. With an accelerometer in the wand, it’s able to detect waving motions, and then signal the smartplugs over Bluetooth to switch outlets on or off. As far as the magic side of things is concerned, [Sam] took his lead from [Arthur C. Clarke], who famously stated “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Thus, efforts were made to miniaturize the electronics down to a single tiny PCB, allowing it to be secreted inside a turned wooden wand that’s wrapped in leather.

The end result is a fun project that’s also probably useful when [Sam] wants to turn the lights off without getting out of bed. We could imagine that, configured properly to work on a room-by-room basis, it could be useful for guests who don’t know where the light switches are.

If the name sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve heard from [Sam] before – with his great DIY smartwatch build. Video after the break.

14 thoughts on “Turn On Your Lights With A Wave Of A Magic Wand

  1. There is a TV remote control that is a wand. It was shown on BBT by Sheldon. This is a great hack ! However Muggles should be careful. You can only get a proper wand from Ollivanders Wand Sop… if it chooses you… 😁😁😁

  2. Thanks for sharing this! It was a super fun project to work on. I will be posting an update video (hopefully) next week talking about the plugs and giving a bit more of a technical dive into the process! Thanks again for watching!

    1. Couldn’t resist the Harry Potter references. Love your hack. Now to throw in an idea….. dimming the lights.

      How about as a garage door opener ? Remember… Swish and flick….. Wingardium Leviosa…


      1. Absolutely doable! The cool thing about the project is that the wand only cares about the gesture it’s currently doing (which can in theory be infinite in length). So, you could set up a dimmer to react to a particular gesture, and then once it’s kicked into “reaction mode” you could rotate the wand up or down to adjust the brightness.

        I designed the wand/plug set up in kind of a reverse (of the typical) BLE beacon set up. So the wand is the beacon and the plugs are the observers. This way any plug (or all of the plugs) can react at the same time.

        I think I’d like to make some automate blinds that I can roll up/down with the wand over the next few month (in between other projects πŸ˜‚)

        Thanks again for taking interest in the project! The youtube channel is brand new, as of Monday actually, so any suggestions for content or things you liked/didn’t like about the video are greatly appreciated.

        1. Going to be following your channel for sure! I had a very similar idea for a project that instead used a flash from a focused IR LED to cause an appliance to go into “reaction mode”. I was planning on using a low power rf transmitter though, so the analog communication to your digital approach. In your setup are the wand and smart plug paired? Does this limit the number of additional devices that you could pair it to?

          1. The wand actually acts as a BLE beacon, so it doesn’t need to be paired (or even connected) with anything. It just happily advertises the gesture and that’s it. The smartplugs I made, when you first plug them in (or hold the manual power button for 5 seconds) enter a “new name” mode where you can change the gesture to whatever you’d like. You can have 1 plug or 1000 plugs all react to the same gesture!

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