One in three people from Seasonal Affect Disorder, a disease that causes depression in people when they are not exposed to enough sunlight. Also known as "winter depression" this disease rears its head mostly during times of low sun exposure, such as winter, leaving many people distraught. A current solution is what is known as the SAD Light, a lamp that acts as an alarm and recreates a sunrise using a single bulb. Unfortunately, these devices can be very expensive and difficult to obtain.
We took it upon ourselves to create a cheap, yet innovative solution to this issue. We wanted to make an alternative that was more effective and cheaper, so that we could help as many people as possible regardless of their economic situation. Using an Arduino, an Android device, and RGB led strip, we designed and tested an easily accessible and multi-functional cure.
What it does
SunRise takes a user input for an alarm time on an Android device and using Bluetooth Low Energy UART transmits the data to an Arduino Uno and Adafruit Bluetooth module connected to an analog RGB led strip. When the alarm goes off, the led strip activates and recreates the light given off by the normal sunrise over a thirty minute "rise and shine" period.
SunRise is designed to help combat Seasonal Affect Disorder by mimicking a sunrise when the user wants to wake up, boosting the user's attitude and morale and creates a feeling of completion and euphoria.
How we built it
SunRise is built off two major coding platforms, Arduino and Android OS. Two members of the team coded Arduino in C and created the logic board behind directly controlling the RGB strip and creating a wired connection between the bluetooth module and the Arduino. The team also handled physically wiring the strip through a breadboard, N-Channel MOSFETs, and physical connections.
The other two members created an intelligent and visually pleasing Android application in Java which allowed the user to remotely set their alarm clock and used bluetooth communication to activate the RGB strip when the alarm was activated.
Challenges we ran into
The team focused on optimizing the RGB experience by creating a perception of vision algorithm that allowed for seamless transitions between the colors and understanding pulse-width-modulation. Specifically, connection between the arduino and android was difficult. There was difficulty using the Arduino bluetooth due to lack of experience and poorly documented libraries. In addition, there were slight difficulties pertaining to hardware. The original LED strip had issues with the blue component because there was a break in the flow.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
As beginner hackers, we are proud to present a well structured app. It started off with a good planning period and a strong issue that needs to be addressed. It is often difficult to innovate ideas that can contribute to solving world problems, but also successfully addressing an issue that can help others in a feasible manner. Overall, we are proud of pushing through all the barriers one by one through the long hours.
What we learned
After 36 hours of mostly debugging, our team learned patience and gained a strong sense of a hard work ethic. On a more technical note, we realized that github is essential for good team work flow and restarting programs can get you a long way. In addition, we realized how invaluable the mentors are.. Their knowledge and experience allowed us to learn how to hop over several hurtles. Lastly we learned that a good work and play balance is essential for enjoying a great hackathon.
What's next for SunRise
With the initial app and led module built, we hope to expand the array of colors and temperatures the strip can reach, as well as continuing to optimize the color shifting sequence to make a more flawless transition that truly captures the beauty of a morning sunrise. We also plan on adding diffusers to make the light more realistic and creating a small and well maintained package that can hold all the hardware and make the product more available to anyone who wants it.