Project Holiday Lights for the Living Room – Project Brief

Prelude

The holidays mean different things to different people. To kids it means gifts, to teens it means time off, to the professional its a time to be away from the stress of daily life, to the mother it means a display of culinary skill and to the elderly it means a time when lots of people visit. Whatever may be means, the end result is a fun time and sharing of happiness. This proposal is based on a couple of problems in mind.

The Proposal

Our living room is neither very big nor very ‘fashionable’ but its the place where we entertain all our guests. The entire plan is divided into three parts and is explained as follows:

First the mood:

As stated before, the lighting is responsible for creating the right mood. Additionally, the requirement is for the entire setup to have a grand feel hence I planned to line the entire window site with RGB LED lights!. They will be of higher intensity such that they make the entire curtain system glow in the mood light. This has the additional advantage that they will be visible from the outside as well which will give the windows a good look from the outside.

The lights will have two modes explained as follows:

  • These lights will be connected to the Internet and their color can be manually controlled using anything with a web browser.
  • There is an automatic mode which allows the lights to be connected to the Internet such that they will respond to
    • The weather and temperature retrieved from the Internet. If its colder outside, the lights will become a warmer shade of yellow so as to produce a cosy feel.
    • greetings exchanged over social media. E.g The lights will also cycle through shades of the above mentioned color when someone tweets seasons greetings like ‘happy new year’ or ‘merry xmas’ etc.
  • Audio Mode which uses a microphone to detect loud sound beats and make the mood lights act as dance music.
    These lights are expected to be waterproof strips of RGB LEDs which can simple blend into the BG and allow them to remain fixed around the year.

Second – the decoration:

We need a decoration which is not necessarily a Christmas tree. The concept here is to populate the wall with decorations that blend in as well as pop up. The simplest way to do that is to use wall mount decor with RGB LEDs in the decor. Our requirement is wall mounted which means the part of the wall near the windows will have to be decorated with custom ornaments, hangings and electronics.

The IOT end of the decor is again RGB LEDs which are connected to the Internet. Instead of using strips, of LEDs, I plan to use RGB LED chains. I got some already and tested them out. Each RGB LED is addressable like Adafruit’s Neo Pixels

Functionality is similar to the Mood lights but has one difference.

  • Game mode: The noisy mode will use the sound sensor to detect loud noises made by kids and will randomly shuffle through the colors. Then will select a color depending on the noise input. This will act as a game for kids to play with and keep them preoccupied for some time. I am still working on this one and it will probably evolve with time.

Third- IOT Santa

It won’t be much of a christmas without Santa. I plan to have either a small Santa doll or a picture with Santa Clause Drawn on it. In the figure’s hand will be a bell- a real bell and the hand will be connected to a servo motor. The system will also be connected to the internet and actions controlled by event on social media. When someone tweets or posts on facebook with seasons greetings, Santa will ring the bell. This adds the sound element to the light element of the mood lights. I will also try and get those cheap ICs with stored christmas carrols and hook it up to santa as well.

Part four- The Christmas tree

The tree is an individual unit and can be packed up for storage. The concept is simple. Have a tree with lights. The difference is to have the LEDs controlled by sound and a timer! The lights to be used here are chainable RGB LEDs which glow randomly through out the day.

The smart light functionality is as follows:

  • On christmas eve the lights will all glow white. As Christmas nears, the LEDs will start turning Red starting from the base, rising to the top while blinking. Slowly the entire tree will look like it is “Charging up with Christmas Magic” and at the stroke of midnight, the Start on Top will glow brighter with the different colors.
    The tree will only be connecting to the internet for time and the rest will be taken care of by the arduino itself.

This challenge is not just about using technology but creating something aesthetic. The experiment will be done in our living room so it better be good or else

Lets see how it goes…

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