Admit it, you waste tons of energy. In the face of that accusation, you might be staring at your screen with your jaw agape thinking, “I’m not wasteful, you jerk! I recycle! I’m a conscientious consumer!” Well believe it or not, Captain Planet, you’re lifestyle could be more energy efficient. There will always more ways for you to be more environmentally friendly, and as soon as you stop striving for eco-perfection, you may as well be murdering polar bears personally.
So let’s reach for that ideal with a new invention that conserves energy by turning out the lights for all those wasted seconds of the day when you’re blinking, napping, yawning, sneezing, and cringing at past embarrassments. That’s right—this setup will kill the lights any time your eyes are shut, because if you’re not using your lightbulbs to see something, they should be off. And you won’t even have to wear any crazy contraptions on your face! Oh wait, you will. But it’s nothing too crazy, and when it comes to energy conservation, sacrifice is the name of the game.
The best part of this device is that you can build it yourself with just a little knowhow about wiring and Arduino programming. The question is, how much energy are you burning by running the computer required to program this thing? How many high-powered bulbs do you need on in order to construct it? Before we ask too many questions, let’s dive in to this how-to and build ourselves an awesome little piece of machinery.
For this project, you’ll need a fairly long list of electronic components, as well as an Arduino project board. See Randy Sarafan‘s Instructable for the exhaustive list. We’ll give you a general overview of how one of these babies is made.
First off, you’ll need to wire sockets. That thing you see below is not a power strip you can buy at Staples. It’s something you build using steady hands, sharp eyes, and a keen sense of smell that can tell you when you’re burning through one of your fingers with a soldering iron.
Somewhere in that mess of wires is an Arduino, the smartest, tiniest thing in this whole setup. Point at it with your index finger. Now use your other index finger to point at the top part of your head. Brain. See? Same-same. The Arduino is at the center of it all, and all the other wiring performed in this step will allow it to control the position of a light circuit based on the position of your eyelids.
Now take that mess of wires and put it in a box. That step was really easy right? Thank goodness, because the next five are going to be a real B.
Now slap those sockets on top of the box. You’ll have to do a bit of wiring to fit all this together, but now that you’re so experienced with it following step 1, this should be a singe (yes, that was a soldering joke).
Now is the part when you plug your Arduino chip into your computer and pray that there’s some sort of setup wizard on your computer that will program the thing for you. Favored techniques include tapping the space bar at random intervals, staring at your screen with your temples in your hand (giving your eyes that Jack Nicholson look), and suddenly deciding to become an anti-technology survivalist.
Now take that chip in your hand and contemplate its power. Think about what it means for technology that something so small is capable of so much. I mean, that thing could potentially operate an implanted synthetic kidney, and here you’re having trouble putting together a switch that turns off the lights when your eyes are closed. Take that chip and jam it into the wire enclosure. Make it a little epic so anyone who might be watching gets the symbolism.
Plug the first thing into the second thing. The thing that goes on your face comes later.
Stick it on your face! More than being a conservational aid, the energy-saving light is the first glimpse into the inevitable future in which electronics will be incorporated into your body, and there’s no better place to start than your face. We’ve been on a path to this for years, starting with sitting too close to the TV, then with the computer which inexplicably doesn’t come with the same precaution, and finally the smartphone, a screen that you poke at and press against your face countless times in a day. The wave of the future is here, and guess what, you’re slapping it right onto your face, cheeks, eyeballs, whatever.
So now you’ve got an energy-saving light bulb contraption. Use it often, use it well, and use it for good, or use it for evil, whatever, totally up to you.