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Flowerbliss

Flowerbliss is my attempt at creating a bridge between a smartphone and the real world. Mobile phones have been our number one mean of communicating with the world for a while now, but the last years have seen the evolution of the simple feature phone to fully fledged communication hubs. The advent of mobile networks now allows us to be connected wherever we go, sometimes with speeds faster than a landline internet connection.

While this is a very good thing, it can easily become an addiction, and I personnaly tend to regularly check my phone just in case I missed something important.

In an attempt to loose this bad habit (and a perfect excuse to start a new project), I created Flowerbliss. Based on the excellent IOIO board, the famous Arduino and some other components, Flowerbliss is an ambient light sculpture that cycles through the colors of the rainbow. Whenever an event occurs on the smartphone while the user is not using it (missed call, new SMS, new email, Ruzzle invitation..) , the light pattern changes accordingly, allowing them to be visually notified.

These patterns can be defined from within a mobile app in order to let the user decide how and when they’ll be notified.

When the phone is not around, Flowerbliss can also work on different modes, changing color depending on the music, the time, or cycling through different patterns

 

Showcasing the project at Maker Faire Paris

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Laying out the flowers

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Under the hood

IOIO – the bond

The IOIO board allows the user to interact with Flowerbliss with their smartphone. This (neat) board allows the user to interact with LEDs, sensors etc. using their Android smarpthone using only Android native code. In our case, the communication is done via Bluetooth, freeing the smartphone from any cable

Arduino – the brains

In the nominal use case, the arduino acts as a link between the IOIO (which receives orders from the smartphone) and the RGB LED strand. This allows more flexibilty and more elaborate colour patterns to be used. It also means that the Flowerbliss can function without the smartphone, thanks to a RTC chip and a sound sensor connected to the Arduino

The LEDs – Pixels and rainbows

I chose Adafruit’s neopixels for their ability to be individually adressable, which opened the door to much more elaborate light patterns than any other LED strand. Blinky, shimmery, fady, the hardest part is to describe the effects and find names for them, but they all try to take advantage of the possibilities of this great product

The android app – the “other” UI

Ironnicaly, the goal is for this app to be seen as little as possible by the user. It launches itself automatically when the phone starts, and handles the events and connection to the IOIO board in the background. The user still has the possibility of launching the UI, which allows them to control the light directly, or configure the alerts for any given app/event.

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