Fairy Lights and Paper Cranes I

13 Jul 2016

This has been my bedroom since last summer, when I first moved into my current apartment. Wall colour changes aside, it has been my bedroom for much longer than that:

Photo of bed

Exactly why it is expected in our culture to have a headboard or some form of decoration on the wall above your bed is a mystery to me. Sometimes they seem useful, like this comfy-looking headboard that would probably feel very nice to lean on; but I’ve also seen a lot of headboards that look like this one, which would, if anything, be less comfortable than a wall. So, it seems like headboards don’t have to be comfortable, and possibly don’t have to serve any purpose at all other than to announce in a pretty way, “There is a bed under this piece of wall.”

Something that does serve a purpose in Vancouver, where the sun doesn’t rise until after 8 AM in the winter, is a wake-up light alarm clock. During the school year I wake up at 5:30 AM to go to the gym, which means it looks like this outside for hours after I get up. A light that slowly brightens over the course of about 15 minutes, to allow for a gentler wake up, would be a huge boon.

I decided to combine the two things into one.

Bed with headboard design sketch Functional and decorative, but probably not comfortable.

I’ve always liked fairy lights as house decoration, and cheap LED light strings are ubiquitous, so that’s an easy choice for a wake-up light.

I use my cell phone as an alarm clock and do not always wake up at the same time every morning, so something that can be controlled wirelessly would be ideal. After some research, I decided on the Simblee breakout board as the best balance of features and price: in other words, it’s BLE-enabled, easily programmable via the Arduino IDE, and – best of all – cheap!

Block and circuit diagram

Update, July 24: It’s aliiiive