Since I started working on our week 8 project, I’ve had this idea for furniture that does slightly more than what it is intended for, a reading chair that turns on a light when the user sits in it.
The idea is to create a family of devices that are functional in two way, ie: providing a comfortable seat and creating a perfect environment for reading. These don’t have to be furniture: any device in a home that typically serves one discrete function would be given “ambiance”. For example, a record player could turn on a fireplace.
I think this could be a good thesis projects, so why not get started now for my Homemade Hardware final?
For this project I plan to produce two devices: a microcontroller plus radio paired with an FSR (such as this one) that can be embedded in a cushion, and a micocontroller plus radio that can control the on/off state of a light.
Ben Light loves to tell us that furniture is really hard, and after taking his classes I believe him. I don’t expect I’ll be able to produce a piece of furniture in time for this final, but I expect to complete at least a first pass at the embedded electronics for it, as well as a simple prototype of what is to come.
I think the simplest (as if anything is really simple) approach here is to develop the system I keep thinking about: a chair to light interaction. I can track whether or not someone is sitting in the chair now with FSRs and a microcontroller. Switching on a reading light is going to be a lot harder. My first thought is that I would need to build a device that sits between the light’s power cord and the wall outlet, but I have had a hard time finding the raw parts for this in the past (though I can probably salvage something from the scrap bin). There are a handful of Instructables that attempt similar projects using relays. One of these will be a good place to start this weekend.