The Sun.. bleh!



When morning rolls around, I don't think that there's anything that I despise more at that moment than the sun. It's like an alarm clock without a snooze button, and because of it I've been waking up between 5:30-6am every day for the last few days. It also doesn't help that I'm sleeping in an unfamiliar room. I just want to sleep until 7ish – 6:45am would be nice and give me plenty of time to get ready for work.

What I really want is a way to automatically control the amount of sunlight that makes it into my room that early in the morning. There are a few ways I could do this.

The easiest system would be to just completely block my windows and rely on my internal clock and an alarm clock to wake up at the right time. Unfortunately, I'm the type of person that will stare at a clock for an hour if I wake up too early just so I don't get jarred out of my sleep from an alarm. Which brings up the other obvious fault with this – alarms are a horrible way to wake up.

Another way that I've toyed around with in my head is to block out the windows like with the last idea, and create a light system that will go from off to completely on gradually over a given time period. The idea is to create an artificial sunrise on your own schedule, allowing you to wake up more naturally. The problem? Light and sunlight just aren't the same thing, and while it may be easier on the body than a horrible buzzer or radio turning on, the body won't react to it quite like it would to sunlight. Also, who really wants to have their windows covered all the time?

So what does that leave? Computer controlled window blinds. The system would be similar to the artificial sunrise idea, except rather than dimming lights, the system would slowly open the blinds. Besides the coolness of having things move on their own, this could be practical for other applications. For instance, if it were coupled with a couple temperature sensors, all the blinds in your house could close automatically during the hot summer days to prevent your home from getting crazy-hot – saving money and energy on air-conditioning.

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11 Comments »

  1. kate (183 comments) said,

    noooo! you can't despise the sun! it's so nice and warming and welcoming each and every morning 🙂 it's better than staring at dark angry clouds threatening more rain or *shudder* snow (which thankfully can't happen now that it's summer).

    if you can swing it, i like the option of the computer controlled blinds. that way, the rest of us can enjoy the sunshine while you can enjoy the sunshine on your own time.

    June 18, 2008 @ 11:35 am


  2. sparx (882 comments) said,

    Don't get me wrong.. I love the sun. It's just in that "gah! stop waking me up this early!" moment that I utterly hate it. Once I get out of bed it's great. So if I can get the darn thing to work on my schedule – well, everyone is happy. Or happier. Or more awake at least.

    Automating the blinds isn't a terribly difficult. Getting multiple windows together is slightly more complicated, but completely doable. I'd just need a couple weeks to tinker around with it.

    June 18, 2008 @ 11:43 am


  3. kate (183 comments) said,

    yeah, i can agree with you that 5:30am is too early. then again, i'm up at 6am to get ready for work, lol. but i'm much happier waking up to sunshine. even if i have to spend all day inside…working.

    good luck with the automated blinds. if you can do that, i'm sure you'll be able to patent it and retire a wealthy man 🙂

    June 18, 2008 @ 11:47 am


  4. sparx (882 comments) said,

    I would love to patent it.. the problem is there are already several companies that provide automated motorized blinds.

    Mine would be completely makeshift – a battery, solar panel, low power microchip to control it, wireless module so all the blind-controllers could talk to each other, and a servo to turn the thingy that opens and closes the blinds. I should probably add some buttons to override the system. It should also be controllable from a web interface.

    Amazing and simple. But not patentable.

    June 18, 2008 @ 11:51 am


  5. kate (183 comments) said,

    eh, it was worth a try. i guess you'll have to invent something else so you can become filthy rich and not have to work anymore 🙂 keep inventing!

    June 18, 2008 @ 11:54 am


  6. sparx (882 comments) said,

    I need to actually follow through on one of my ideas.

    I like this one though. It seems practical. And cool.

    June 18, 2008 @ 11:55 am


  7. spudart (890 comments) said,

    My roommate junior year of college completely boarded up our window. It was completely no sun in there. It was strange. Very strange. But I pretty much lived in the art building anyways, so I didn't spend much time in my room.

    June 18, 2008 @ 2:54 pm


  8. unlikelymoose (375 comments) said,

    One of my greatest pet peeves of all time is when television commercials use that standard alarm buzzer sound. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. It's so unnerving. (I do not enjoy waking up in the morning. I like to sleep in.) I do not watch television with the intent of being annoyed. Stupid alarm buzzer sound annoys me immensely.

    June 25, 2008 @ 12:11 pm


  9. sparx (882 comments) said,

    My roommate's alarm, while not the standard buzzer, is flippin driving me nuts. It's an annoying tone which gets gradually louder. I wake up thinking I'm in the middle of an air raid or something.

    As opposed to me using the radio as an alarm – he said that he woke up and wondered who I was talking to before he figured it out. Loud and annoying may be more effective, but it does NOT do a body good.

    June 25, 2008 @ 12:19 pm


  10. Mark (2 comments) said,

    The computer controlled blind idea has been done although it isn't mass market as far as I know. Remote control motorised blinds have been around for years now (maybe decades even). I know a old aquaintance involved with a rival company programmed a PIC chip (using a form of DOS BASIC as I remmember) to operate blinds using light sensors. Don't think he thought of sensing heat though.

    October 28, 2009 @ 5:47 pm


  11. sparx (882 comments) said,

    Jeez… it's over a year since I posted this and I still haven't gotten around to working on it!
    I did work a bit on the idea of a "virtual sunrise" using LEDs – unfortunately my Arduino can't drive enough LEDs from the PWM pins to be bright enough. I have a lot of fun projects that are "back-burnered" right now!

    October 28, 2009 @ 7:10 pm


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