It’s easy to spot recent parents, they are the people who look as though they haven’t slept in months. Sometimes the little bundle of joy responsible isn’t even a babe in arms but a toddler; old enough to wake up and find their parents for some solace but not old enough to understand that not everyone is up for being woken at 3 am. [Eyal] approached this problem in some style, by modifying a rabbit night light to indicate the time by changing colour, reminding the youngster when it’s a bit early to be rousing the grown-ups.
The bunny in question is a plastic moulding, sold with a white LED providing illumination, This was removed, and replaced with a rather nice custom PCB sporting a ring of addressable LEDs surrounding a Wemos ESP8266 board. In the darkest hours of the night, it is lit as a soft red to indicate sleep time. When an appropriate wake-up point is reached it bursts into a vibrant light show of many colours. Thus the recalcitrant early-riser can be taught to give Mum & Dad a little rest through the medium of light and colour.
This isn’t the first kids night light we’ve seen, indeed some of them have been rather elegant.
Nightlights are a great way to calm children who may be afraid of the dark, as well as to avoid stubbing your toe on furniture in the hallway. However, in this day and age of connected everything, they can do so much more. [Andy] came up with a great way to do just that, creating an advanced networked solution to suit his needs.
[Andy’s] nightlight serves not just in the usual fashion, but also as an indicator for his children. Depending on the time of day, the colour changes, indicating whether it’s time for bed, or also, if it’s too early to get out of bed in the morning and start watching cartoons. Each nightlight around the house runs on an ESP8266, which lights up using a set of WS2812B LEDs. The ESP8266 decides on colour values based on commands from a basic webserver running on a Raspberry Pi, updated every minute. This gives [Andy] the flexibility to make changes in one place, that then automatically roll out across the Nightlight Network (TM).
It’s a fun way of teaching the kids not to ruin a good Saturday sleep in, as well as serving as a fun colourful nightlight, too. Of course, luxury smart nightlights are becoming a thing, as this teardown of a Bluetooth unit shows. If you’ve built your own, be sure to drop us a line!
If you had asked us yesterday what peak nightlight technology looked like, we might have said one of those LED panels that you stick in the outlet. At least it beats one of those little wimpy light bulbs behind the seashell, anyway. But after looking at a detailed teardown of the “Glow Light” from Casper, we’ve learned a lot about the modern nightlight. Such as the fact that there are adults who not only sleep with nightlights, but are willing to pay $89 USD for one.
But more importantly, as [Tyler Mincey] demonstrates in his excellent look inside one of these high-end nightlights, they are gorgeous pieces of engineering. Even if a nightlight next to the bed has long since gone the way of pajamas with feet on them for you personally, we think you’ll be impressed just how much technology has gone into these softly glowing gadgets.
On the outside they might look like marshmallows, but the insides look far more like what you’d expect from an expensive piece of consumer gear. It’s based on the Nordic nRF52832 Bluetooth SoC which is becoming an increasingly common sight in consumer gadgets, and uses an inertial measurement unit (IMU) to detect when it’s moved or twisted and adjusts the light output accordingly. If you’ve got the disposable income for two of these things, they’ll even synchronize so that twisting one will dim its counterpart.
The teardown that [Tyler] did on the Glow Light is quite frankly one of the best we’ve ever seen, and while it might be a bit light on the gritty technical details, it more than makes up for that with the fantastic pictures that are about as close to actual hardware porn as you can get. The only question we have now is, how long until a hacker replicates this design with a 3D printed enclosure and an ESP?
[Thanks to Adrian for the tip.]
We’ve often said that kids with hackers and makers for parents must be some of the luckiest kids in the world. While all the other children have to settle for some mass produced drivel from
Toys“R”Us Amazon, they’ve got some of the most thoughtfully engineered and built toys and gadgets on the planet. After all, there’s no way any hacker worth their salt is going to give anything less than 110% for their own child.
A case in point is this RGB star nightlight that [Unexpected Maker] built for his children. The star itself is simple enough, just a basic shape printed in transparent PLA on his Prusa i3. The impressive part is how he lights it up. Rather than stick an Arduino or ESP8266 in there as we have seen plenty of times before, he’s put together his own custom ATTiny85 board specifically for controlling the RGB LED strips.
The board, which he calls TinyDev, is designed to be the same thickness as NeoPixel style LED strips so it can fit inside tight spaces. He solders it onto the tail end of his LED strip, adds a photoresistor so the star can tell when it’s time to light up, and then snakes the whole arrangement through a channel printed in the star itself. There’s a battery pack in the middle, but that’s about it. It really does allow for a remarkably clean LED strip implementation, and the mind can’t help but start thinking of interesting possibilities when you can tuck the controller into the same space as the lights themselves.
[Unexpected Maker] has made the TinyDev completely open source for anyone who wants to build their own, but it’s also available on Tindie if you want to get one to play with quickly. If you’re looking to light up the little one’s room with somewhat more mainstream methods, we’ve got that covered too.
Continue reading “Custom ATTiny85 Board Powers Kids’ Light Show”
Terrestrial globes are almost a thing of the past in an era of Google Earth, but they can still be an exciting object worth hacking together, as [Ivan Miranda] shows with his glow-in-the-dark globe. It’s a globe, it’s a display, and it’s a great use of glow in the dark filament.
For the mechanical part of this build, [Miranda] used glow in the dark filament to 3D print a sphere and a reinforcing ring that hides inside. A threaded rod through the middle secured with screws and bearings make an appropriate spindle, and is attached to a stepper motor in the 3D printed stand. So far, it’s a sphere made of glowey plastic. Where’s the ‘globe’ part coming from?
To project a globe onto this sphere, [Miranda] used a strip of WS2812B LEDs stuck to the inside of the stand’s arc are programmed to selectively illuminate the globe as it rotates on its axis. After a brief hiccup with getting the proper power supply, he was ready to test out his new….. giant light ball.
It turns out, the filament was a bit more transparent than he was expecting so he had to pull it all apart and cover the interior with aluminium tape. [Miranda] also took the chance to clean up the wiring, code, and upgrade to a Teensy 3.1 before another test.
Despite the resulting continental projection being upside-down, it worked! [Miranda] added a USB cable before he closed it up again in case he wanted to reprogram it and display any number of images down the line.
[Thanks for the tip, olivekrystal!]
Star Trek is often credited with helping spur the development of technologies we have today — the go-to example being cell phones. When a Star Trek April Fool’s product inspires a maker to build the real thing? Well, that seems par for the course. [MS3FGX] decided to make it so. The 3D printed Star Trek-themed phone dock acts as a Bluetooth speaker and white noise generator. The result is shown off in the video below and equals the special effects you expect to find on the silver screen.
Taking a few liberties from the product it’s based on — which was much larger and had embedded screens — makes [MS3FGX]’s version a little more practical. Two industrial toggle switches control a tech cube nightlight and the internal Bluetooth speaker. An NFC tag behind the phone dock launches the pre-installed LCARS UI app and turns on the phone’s Bluetooth. Despite being a challenge for [MS3FGX] to design, the end product seems to work exactly as intended.
Continue reading “Star Trek Phone Dock Might As Well Be From Picard’s Night Stand”
We have to admit that we were mislead by the title “Sudden Death: Wall Sign + Night Light”. This naturally conjured up images of deadly night lights, but the truth turned out to be a lot less fatal: [Smerfj] had two weeks to make a present for a friend’s wedding. The project was either a go or a no-go depending on the deadline — that sort of sudden death. But as we all know, deadlines have a way of bringing the motivation out of us that’s not always bad.
The night light in question is a bunch of hand-made circuits, each stuffed into a wooden slice with a letter burned on the face, spelling out [Smerfj]’s friend’s name. But to really appreciate it, you have to dig through the build details.
We didn’t know how to burn precise lettering into wood. [Smerfj] covered the wood in metal foil tape, then cut the letters out of the foil. Now applying the torch blackens only the part of the logs that have tape removed. Slick.
To get accurate lettering cut into the aluminum tape, [Smerfj] made an impromptu projector out of a cell phone taped to a chandelier (approximately a point light source) and a stencil suspended somewhere between the chandelier and the wood target. Naturally, this is best done in a darkened room under tight deadline pressure.
The battery holders are fantastic. Springs from commercial battery holders were soldered to enamel wire and placed in holes drilled just the width of AA batteries. With the length of the battery taken into account, channels were drilled into the wood and copper wires jammed through, holding the batteries in place, and providing the other electrical contact. Brilliant.
And finally, the free-form night light circuits are great. Fine-tuned to draw the minimum current, they’re adjusted to the specific LEDs and phototransistors that [Smerfj] had on hand. Bespoke free-form electronics in hand-blackened wood. That’s a nice gift.
Now [Smerfj] just needs nice packaging to present them in. We’re thinking DIY laser-cut boxes with interior lighting, naturally.