Circadian Lighting For The Home Via Home Assistant

Artificial lighting is great, in that it lets us work and live well into the night. However, our bodies are dependent on the natural lighting cycles of the sun as part of their basic operation, and artificial lighting can interfere with this. [Tyler Cipriani] decided to use Home Assistant with some smart lights to try and make home lighting more suitable for our natural circadian rhythms.

The basic intent was to give the home bright white/blueish light during the day, matching the sun’s output. The light would then be altered to warmer yellow/red tones in the evening. The eye has cells that respond to blue light to regulate our circadian rhythms with the presence of the sun, so reducing blue light at night may help reduce disruption to sleep and other body processes.

Home Assistant has a Circadian lighting component available built specifically for this task. It’s a useful smart home tool for achieving such a job, too, as it readily works with a wide variety of hardware from different vendors. In [Tyler]’s case, light switches are Zigbee devices that talk to Home Assistant via a Zigbee2MQTT hookup and a Combee Zigbee gateway. Lights around the home are a mixture of Philips Hue devices and other brands of smart lights.

[Tyler] states the effects are “subtle but noticable.” He notes that it’s easier to feel sharp and work during the day, but harder to continue the lighting warms and dims at night. He points out that this is a design feature to help keep him on a healthy sleep schedule.

We’ve seen other circadian rhythm lights before. In fact, NASA uses them on the ISS, but you can build your own for a lot less than they spent. If you’ve got your own circadian lighting hacks, don’t hesitate to drop us a line!

Mirrored Music Machine Reflects Circadian Rhythms

Interactive artist [Daric Gill] wrote in to share the incredible electronic sculpture he’s been working on for the past year. It’s called the Circadian Machine, and it’s a sensor-enabled mindfulness music-and-lights affair that plays a variety of original compositions based on the time of day and the circle of fifths. This machine performs some steady actions like playing chimes at the top of each hour, and a special sequence at solar noon.

This cyberpunk-esque truncated hexagonal bi-pyramid first geolocates itself, and then learns the times for local sunrise and sunset. A music module made of a Feather M4 Express and a Music Maker FeatherWing fetches astronomical data and controls the lights, speakers, and a couple of motion sensors that, when tripped, will change the lights and sounds on the fly. A separate Feather Huzzah and DS3231 RTC handle the WiFi negotiation and keep track of the time.

On top of the hourly lights and sound, the Circadian Machine does something pretty interesting: it performs another set of actions based on sunrise and sunset, basically cramming an entire day’s worth of actions between the two events, which seems like a salute to what humans do each day. Check out the build notes and walk-through video after the break, then stick around for the full build video.

The internet is rife with information just begging to be turned into art. For instance, there are enough unsecured CCTV cameras around the world with primo vantage points that you can watch a different sunrise and sunset every hour of every day.

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NASA Inspired Circadian Rhythm Lights

circadian-rhythm-light-rig

After reading about an initiative between NASA and Boeing to develop lights for the International Space Station [Rasathus] decided to give it a go at building his own. The project uses RGB pixels to build a circadian rhythm light installation. Without the normal rise and fall of the sun the sleep wake schedule for the astronauts can be pretty rough. This uses color and intensity of light in a well-defined schedule to help alleviate that. [Rasathus] is trying to bring his project in well under the $11.1 million mark which was established for the ISS.

The light modules he’s using are from a strand of LEDs from Adafruit. Each is driven by a WS2801 controller, a common driver used for easy and complicated projects like this huge ball of light which our own [Jesse Congdon] tackled. The board above is the start of an adapter board for interfacing with the Raspberry Pi GPIO header. [Rasathus] wanted to make certain he didn’t fry the control electronics so he built some protection into this adapter. The control software is covered in the second portion of ┬áthe write up. We’ve embedded the video from that post after the break.

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