Connected Devices :: Final Concept







Final project concept for Connected Devices :: Smart Alarm Clock.  I’m working with Boram Kim and Dimelsa Medina.  We are looking into making an alarm clock that syncs with your schedule and outside schedules to form a more efficient system for waking you up.


You will set a baseline alarm for your clock – say 7:00am, and an amount of time you need to get ready – say 1 hour.  During the week, it will always be ringing at that time.  The clock is also checking your google calendar for events and appointments.  Anything that would necessitate you waking up earlier will make the alarm automatically compensate for that situation and move the alarm to earlier in the morning.  Your alarm is aware of your scheduled morning meeting, and will get you up at 6:30am so you can make it on time.  It is also taking in weather data, and MTA subway data.  If the L train happens to be delayed in the morning, your alarm again will recognize this and wake you up earlier to ensure you are getting to your destination on time.  The same applies to weather – a heavy rainstorm will probably require a few extra minutes of travel.


Down the line, we envisioned this device working in conjunction with other similar devices.  As an easy example, when your alarm goes off it turns your lights on and triggers a coffee pot to start brewing.  The devices could all be smart on your own, but as you purchase other items you could pair them and build IFTT-type interactions.  But for now we are planning to focus on the coffee pot.


There are some definite issues to work through, including trusting the object, the right wakeup interaction, aesthetic design, passivity of the object vs the constant chirping of a phone, and the balance of objectives between waking people up and trying to get them out of the house.

Connected Devices :: Lighting Project


Using the Philips Hue lights, Jingwen and I developed a lighting system for restaurants.  It’s a common problem for restaurants to have lights set very low at dinner time, which makes the act of reading menus difficult.  I personally have had family and friends have to use their iPhone lights, or previously carry around small keychain lights, in order to read menus.  There can also be situations where different levels of light are desired.  You might want a different atmosphere for your date than when you go out with family.


With that in mind, we used the Hue lights to make a system that would allow user interaction, constrained by the restaurant.   The restaurant control panel below shows how the staff can constrain levels and make color palettes for the customers to choose from.  This allows the customer to have some freedom of choice, but within the bounds of mood and decor the restaurant is trying to keep.  While choice is great, you don’t necessarily want people, or small children, setting the lights to bright green and pink if it’s not what the restaurant calls for.

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 8.57.59 AM



On the customer side, the interacts are two-fold.   A simple switch is set to toggle between the two most common settings, a family dining setting (dimmer, warm lighting) and a reading setting (brighter, light colors).  This makes it easy to brighten the table while menus are being read, then turn the lights back down after ordering, if desired.  The controller is wireless in this case, but in practice it would make more sense for it to be hard-wired.

There is also a simple mobile interface with a few additional options, including settings for dates (lower, red-tinted colors), business meetings (brighter, cooler, more serious colors) and an overall brightness slider.  Our thinking was the simple switch would be the most-used, and least obtrusive feature, and should be easiest to use without interrupting dinner.  But, people would perhaps still want some additional control which could be delivered through a phone with easy clickable options.


This project used the Philips Hue lights, Node Hue API, nodeJS, Express, and the arduino Yun.  The code is available on github here.