…After watching Wendy suffer repeatedly in the mornings, I’ve decided to build a prototype light based alarm clock. The idea being that (as various research / existing products indicate), waking up as a result of changes in light is much nicer than load angry noises.
The system will initially be simple. I’ll preset an MR005-001 clock breakout board (containing a DR1307 chip) to the ‘correct’ time from my PC, and use it to trigger a NeoPixel led strip.
Research as I understand it suggests that your circadian rhythm is largely dictated by ipRGC sensors in your eyes. These are especially sensitive to blue wave lengths, and not very sensitive to red; my clock will feature a red reading light (that automatically fades off after an hour), and a blue wake up light triggered at 8AM.
…A quick point of note – if you do get some Neopixels (and I highly recommend it), it is really important to read the Adafruit guide. The strips work out of the box, but the information supplied about current requirements and protective components is worth knowing before you even think about plugging anything in. Reading documentation isn’t my strong point, but after half an hour working out why my Arduino shut down whenever I turned them on, and 2 strips of destroyed LEDs, I begrudgingly read the docs and felt very silly for not doing so!
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.