Product Development - The Beacon

Product Development - The Beacon

My favorite course at ADM was Interactive Devices where we developed lamps that visualize information about a person.

As you can hear in the video above, my concept is like this:

The Beacon - A smart lamp for lovers

Do you like to feel connected to the people you care about? We do! That’s why we’ve developed The Beacon: a lamp to feel connected when your partner is away from home.

When at least one person is home The Beacon gently lights up when the other turns on the screen of their phone. A signal of life that makes you feel the presence. That way you can feel connected without effort. You can also shake the phone to signal your partner a light message. This means: contact me! It obviously works the other way around too. The Beacon knows exactly who is home.

Coming home will not be the same without it! The Beacon enhances the warm feeling of reuniting with a loved one by creating a pleasant light scape.

That’s what The Beacon is all about: staying connected when separated and enhancing being together.

To develop the lamp, I used a Raspberry Pi model A together with a LPD8806 LEDstrip. I learned how to properly connect everything from the Adafruit tutorial but in the end decided to use Node.js for controlling the LEDstrip.

Because I had to have a real-time connection between a smartphone and the Raspberry Pi I opted for Firebase (which I already knew from previous experiments) which tied in with Node.js effortlessly! To program on the Raspberry Pi in Node.js I used PI JS, a really useful tool that allows programming in a browser window and automatically updates and executes the code on the Pi! Whenever I turned on the screen on my Android phone, Tasker sends a message to my Firebase account (with the help of the RESTask for Tasker). The Raspberry Pi immediately receives the data from Firebase and reacts with the light animations I’ve programmed in Node.js.

In the gallery below you can see the process of creating the lamp.

The title screen of the video
Setting up WiFi on the Raspberry Pi. Without a HDMI monitor available I had to use a projector…
Kayleigh is Happy. Finally the parts we ordered were delivered! We could start working :)
Setting up the connection for the LED strip
I was inspired by the memory of paper bag candle lanterns
LEDstrip in a paper bag: testing the diffused light.
Lunch with Albin: an important part of the process.
Prototyping with whatever materials I could find
Making a custom structure
With the Raspberry Pi
Another prototype
Gluing cups together
Made from a few cups
A fully functional prototype
The end result wasn’t very nice. Vladimir thought it looked like a milk bottle. Needed to start over with the shape.
Inspired by the spirals found on lighthouses
Side without paper
Albin’s lamp on top of mine! Vladimir wasn’t impressed by our collaboration.
Experimenting with light effects
Back to the drawing board: carefully drawing the spiral pattern
Designing a template
If only the LED lights weren’t that visible…
Soldering the LEDstrip parts together
Fixated with double sided tape
The final shape. The LED lights are now aligned with the spiral. Nice!
Jip filming at home. That’s how I film… xD