What started out as a robotics project for Randy Sarafan ended up as a concept for an LED lighting system that takes energy conservation to the extreme. Sarafan posted this serendipitous project on Instructables, where he is the Technology Editor.
The robot-obsessed inventor bought a muscle sensor board which he attached to his face via electrodes. This is hooked up to an Arduino board, which he programmed to control the lights in his home. Whenever the wearer blinks – contracting the muscles around the eyes – the board turns the lights off. Sarafan explains, “This is remarkably more efficient than normal lighting that remains on, even when your eyes are shut. Using my device, you get light when you need it, and darkness when you don’t.”
This project can employ any lighting technology, though LED lights would work best since they turn on instantly, and don’t require warm-up or cool-down time. And considering the average human blinks about every 4 seconds (not counting when one is overthinking it, typically right after reading a statistic like that), the driver inside an LED bulb in this sort of configuration would not suffer the same wear-and-tear that would occur in an ballasted traditional light source. Not to mention the lower Wattage of LED technology being better suited to flesh out this project’s energy-saving concept.
Sarafan realizes the impracticality this particular setup for general lighting controls, adding, “Connecting your face to a DIY device that is plugged directly into the wall is a terrible idea… You should never replicate this.” However, he foresees similar technologies being used in televisions, computers, and cars. (“Future generations will thank me for this innovation.”) If nothing else, we think this project is simply hilarious, and we thank him for the comic relief and for furthering the conversation about sustainable lighting.