One of our teammates, Gordon, recalled an experience in Taiwan where students used blankets to shield themselves against the desk lights of their roommates in order to better their quality of sleep. We quickly realized that this simple innovation could be automated and tailored to specific individuals that would improve students' sleep habits. Adequate sleep is absolutely essential for students to perform in their undergraduate years, especially at UCLA, where rigorous coursework pressures many to work hard, even deep into the night.
What it does
The motorized bed curtain opens and closes at the push of a button, allowing the user to sleep without being hindered by extraneous light sources. As an extension, a camera at the peephole of a dorm room door allows for the curtain to automatically open, inviting the student to sleep earlier. Even further, if a stranger shows up at the dorm room door, a notification will be sent to the student's phone.
How I built it
We decided to use a simple motor and multiple Arduinos to create a system that would control the vertical motion of the motor through two separate buttons. The image capturing system consists of a camera and a computer that processes the images, recognizing the roommate at the door.
Challenges I ran into
It was particularly difficult to create a working connection between the facial recognition software and the camera, but we were able to get as far as creating a system that allows for manual feed-in of images for the computer to analyze. In addition, it was fairly challenging to program the Arduino to roll the curtains in the way we desired, but through hours of hard work, we achieved what we were looking for.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We are proud of making a stepper motor system that lets a curtain fall and wind up again as a proof-of-concept for our product. We are especially proud of our ability to make the facial recognition software work, demonstrating the true potential of this project.
What I learned
The product development process is extremely elaborate and demanding as factors such as materials, design constraints, and time put pressure on creating a successful product.
What's next for Cut the Light
We intend to implement the facial recognition software so that it is able to control the curtain without the buttons, and hopefully we might be able to push these to the markets!