Introduction: KICKLAMP - the Easy Proximity Lamp

This is my first tutorial so please "bear" with me. I will try to be as clear as possible.

I'm going to try to show you how to build a simple yet stylish lamp/nightlight using an Arduino Nano (or any similar board) a RCWL-0516 proximity sensor and a Neopixel LED strings.

A few weeks ago, while researching sensors, I found one that apparently was both cheap and could see through certain materials. The RCWL-0516 is brand new(?) proximity sensor that uses doppler radar microwave to detect human or non human (water bottle) presense in a room, as long as they are in movement, this awesome sensor will pick it up. Jdesbonnet's Github contains more indepth informations about the RCWL-0516 jdesbonnet's RCWL-0516 Github.

To make the Kicklamp you will need some knowledge of the Arduino board environment and basic solder skills.

I'm using an Arduino Nano because I ordered a bunch a few months ago and still had some spare. It's size, plenty of GPIOs and 5V output makes it perfect for this project. I have also tested the code on a Uno and Mega, so I'm sure it will work on all similar boards.

Do not worry, if you do not have access to a 3D printer to print the diffuser. You can decrease the intensity of the light in the code to something that suits you.

To make this lamp I have used:


1 x 18cm (7") Plastic craft ball (smaller or bigger, it's up to you, you can find them in any art/craft stores)

1 x 25cmX25cm (10") Pegboard


1 x Arduino Nano

1 x RCWL-0516 proximity sensor

1 x Neopixel string (2x 12 pixels), any size or format would work too

1 x breadboard or perfboard

1 x 1000uf Capacitor

1 x DC power connector (female)

[1 x LED + 220Ohm resistor (not really needed)]

Electric cables


Hand saw

Glue gun

Soldering iron

Sandpaper of different grit size


Step 1: Kicklamp

I called it Kicklamp because the first prototype was build in a metal pasta enclosure with a pringle top. The case made it hard for the microwave to propagate, so I physically had to pass my foot on top of it to activate it. Thus the name kicklamp.

Step 2: Prepare the Body

The design is quite simple, you will only need two pieces to build the basic Kicklamp. First get your hands on some plastic craft ball (like those for bathbombs), you can find them in most art/craft stores. Once you have one, use some sanding paper (1000) and finish with some (200) to make everything a little less scratch looking.

Take the piece of pegboard, place the sanded part of the ball on top and trace its contour. Take your handsaw and cut at least 3mm inside your initial shape, this will allow the pegboard to fit inside it without falling out.

Once you are done, let's move to the electronics.

Step 3: Connect the Internals

Either you use a breadboard or solder everything this part is up to you.

Download the fritzing file at the bottom

RCWL 0516 Connect

rcwl-0516 ---------------- arduino Nano

OUT ------------------------ Pin 8

Ground ------------------- Ground

5V ------------------------- 5V


Don't forget to place a 1000uf cap in between ground and power to protect your strip. You will also need a 470 Ohm resistor between the OUT pin and Pin 5 of your Nano.

Neopixels ---------------- Arduino Nano

OUT ------ 470Ohm ---- Pin 5

Ground ------------------- Ground

5V -------------------------- 5V from DC power.

Arduino Nano

Connect the DC power to your Arduino's VIN and Ground as shown in the Fritzing file and you should be good to program your it.

Step 4: Putting It Together

This part is quite easy. Using your soldering Iron make a hole large enough to fit your DC socket. Place your breadboard or perfboard on the pegboard and use zipties to hold everything securely together. Make sure to have your RCWL-0516 placed face up or down (depending of the sensitivity you want) on the top of your pegboard. Place your neopixels LED strip anyway you want and hold them with zipties.

Step 5: Coding and Testing Your Kicklamp

Copy the following codes into the Arduino IDE of your choice and you should be good to go. I'm not a professional developer so if you have any ways to make this code better please let me know :)

/* o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o                                                              <br>
o  o o-O-o   o-o o  o o      O  o   o o--o      o   o  o-o    0   
| /    |    /    | /  |     / \ |\ /| |   |     |   | o  /o  /|   
OO     |   O     OO   |    o---o| O | O--o      o   o | / | o |   
| \    |    \    | \  |    |   ||   | |          \ /  o/  o   |   
o  o o-O-o   o-o o  o O---oo   oo   o o           o    o-o  o-o-o 
o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o o-o */
#define PIN 5  // NEOPIXEL INPUT
Adafruit_NeoPixel strip = Adafruit_NeoPixel(PIXEL, PIN, NEO_GRB + NEO_KHZ800);
int  detectPin = 8;
bool detect    = false;
int  led       = 13;
bool lightOn = false;
elapsedMillis timeElapsed; //DECLARE IT
unsigned int interval = 17000; // 1000ms = 1SEC INPUT YOUR DELAY HERE
uint8_t i = 0;
uint32_t white = strip.Color(255, 255, 255);
uint32_t white_light = strip.Color(127, 127, 127);
uint32_t red = strip.Color(255, 0, 0);
uint32_t red_half = strip.Color(127, 0, 0);
uint32_t green = strip.Color(0, 255, 0);
uint32_t green_light = strip.Color(50, 255, 50);
uint32_t green_half = strip.Color(0, 100, 0);
uint32_t blue = strip.Color(0, 0, 255);
uint32_t blue_light = strip.Color(0, 0, 150);
uint32_t red_orange = strip.Color(255, 50, 0);
uint32_t orange = strip.Color(255, 125, 0);
uint32_t orange_light = strip.Color(127, 75, 0);
uint32_t yellow = strip.Color(255, 255, 0);
uint32_t yellow_light = strip.Color(127, 127, 0);
uint32_t yellow_green = strip.Color(125, 255, 0);
uint32_t turquoise = strip.Color(0, 255, 100);
uint32_t cyan = strip.Color(0, 255, 255);
uint32_t cyan_light = strip.Color(0, 127, 127);
uint32_t cyan_blue = strip.Color(0, 100, 255);
uint32_t violet = strip.Color(100, 0, 255);
uint32_t pinky = strip.Color(252, 128, 128);
uint32_t magenta = strip.Color(255, 0, 255);
uint32_t raspberry = strip.Color(255, 0, 100);
  simplewave_backward(i, 45);
  simplewave_backward(red, 45);
  simplewave_backward(green, 45);
  simplewave_backward(blue, 45);
  simplewave_forward(red, 45);
  simplewave_forward(green, 45);
  simplewave_forward(blue, 45);
  simplewave_forward(i, 45);;
void setup() {
  Serial.println(" KICKLAMP V01");
  pinMode (detectPin, INPUT);
  pinMode (led, OUTPUT);
  strip.begin();; // Initialize all pixels to 'off'
void loop() {
  detect = digitalRead(detectPin);
  //Serial.println(timeElapsed); // PRINT TIMING // COMMENT IT IF NOT NEEDED
  if (detect == true) {
    digitalWrite(led, HIGH);
    lightOn = true;
    Serial.println(" bloop "); //GETTING A BLOOP WHEN YOU'RE DETECTED
  if (lightOn == true) {
    simplewave_forward(white, 25);
  if (detect == false) {
    digitalWrite(led, LOW);
    Serial.println("  ");// CLEAN SERIAL // COMMENT IT IF NOT NEEDED
    lightOn = false;
  if (lightOn == false) {
    if (timeElapsed > interval)
      simplewave_backward(i, 15);
      timeElapsed = 0;  // RESET COUNTER
void simplewave_forward(uint32_t pixelColor, int wait)
  uint8_t r = (uint8_t)(pixelColor >> 16);
  uint8_t g = (uint8_t)(pixelColor >> 8);
  uint8_t b = (uint8_t)pixelColor;
  for (uint16_t i = 0; i < strip.numPixels(); i++)
    strip.setPixelColor(i, r, g, b);;
void simplewave_backward(uint32_t pixelColor, int wait)
  uint8_t r = (uint8_t)(pixelColor >> 16);
  uint8_t g = (uint8_t)(pixelColor >> 8);
  uint8_t b = (uint8_t)pixelColor;
  uint16_t i = strip.numPixels();
  for (i; i > 0; i--)
    strip.setPixelColor(i - 1, r, g, b);;

Arduino file

Edit: you will also need the Elapsed Millis library

Download Kicklamp.ino

Step 6: Optional: Diffuser

If you have access to a 3D printer, you can print this diffuser to make the lights refract differently and give a softer light.


Layer Height: 0.2

Speed: 60mms

Temperature: 210 degrees

Infill: 20%

Download Kicklamp Diffuser:

Step 7: Your Kicklamp Is Done

You should now have a working Kicklamp.

This is my first Instructables, please leave me a comment if you find any errors or know a better way to build it.

Show me what you're building :)


Peterthinking (author)2017-07-25

There is a first instructable contest. You should enter.

a-RN-au-D (author)Peterthinking2017-07-27

I just did, thanks a lot for the heads up

Swansong (author)2017-07-25

It could be useful to use something like that while camping :)

a-RN-au-D (author)Swansong2017-07-26

yup, the ultimate ghost detector :)

About This Instructable




Bio: Hello, I like to make things, I also like to share them, Nice to meet you
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