Inspiration

Whenever we think about waste and contributors to pollution, it's easy to overlook the consequences that come from wasted electricity in the home. It has been estimated that one-third of all lighting in the United States is wasted, spent on illuminating areas where there are no occupants who need the light. Since burning coal is currently the main method to generating electricity, this leads to an annual cost of 30 million barrels of oil and 8.2 million tons of coal burned. It is estimated that wasted lighting leads to $2 billion in costs nationally as well as 14.1 million tons of CO2 as a combustion byproduct.

And face it, leaving the lights on or turning them off is such a menial action that feels like no consequence. Everyone's done it before- leaving the lights on in a room that they leave. From personal experience, the kitchen light in my apartment will still be on when I return from class and no one is home. Light management is such a simple action that's often overlooked due to forgetfulness or apathy. However, this action is costly economically and environmentally. We can't expect everyone to be efficient on the way they use their light, but we can build a way to help.

What does it do?

LYT is a light management system built using a Particle Photon microcontroller that uses a Leap motion sensor that when triggered, will turn on the light. The LYT is a wall unit that is situated near the entry/exit point of a room. What makes it different from the conventional automatic lighting system in a home is that the lights go off immediately after a person exits the room- unlike conventional automatic lighting systems that have a delay as the system takes a while to realize that there is no motion occurring in the room. The motion detector can differentiate direction of motion so it can tell when someone enters or leaves (the demo will demonstrate this capability.) The lights off event triggers as you pass through the exit point- reducing the amount of light waste in terms of time. Additionally, unlike the conventional automatic lighting system, LYT is actually an external device in the form of a light unit. It is attached to a light switch.

Additionally LYT is worlds cheaper than having an automatic light infrastructure installed in your home, as it requires no changes in infrastructure or anything behind the wall.

How we built it

First we configured the particle photons on our computers. After getting them to work, we began to write the code on the particle IDE and flashed a signal to the particle that it read and went through with the command. From there we started building a circuit on the breadboard with two LEDS (one to represent left, one to represent right) and attached the motion sensor to the computer to read the direction. On the breadboard, we made a basic circuit with resistors, wiring, and attached a SERVO motor that would be (in a final model) able to be the mechanism by which we flip a switch on and off with.

Challenges we ran into

At 10:42AM for some reason our setup stopped working which is a great setback but hopefully we get it to work again. The particle photons were owned by someone else and we weren't granted access until later.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

It took a while to be able to interface with the microcontroller, but we got the setup to work with a motor by setting up a working circuit.

What we learned

We learned a lot about hardware and working with sensor technology. Particle technology was surprisingly easy to pick up and the leap sensor was extremely cool. I learned a few things about making real time circuits- more than what I've done in the classroom.

What's next for LγT

Using LYT for a variety of other automations within the home, perhaps in minimizing waste with the heating/cooling systems within a house, interfacing with other devices, and even for security purposes.

**Note: I did purchase a domain name, however the DNS server is faulty. However it's a very good name and I can prove that I own it.

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