Since becoming a dad about a year ago, I find myself strangely drawn to things like Lego, Scalextric and remote control toys "for my son". I also feel that ratherjust than buying toys I want to make personal one-off stuff for him and introduce him into the ways of being a maker himself.
I saw this large Lego figure torch (about 9 inches tall) and felt that it had to be hacked to have a geekier use. So with the addition of a programmable PIR sensor and a few simple components, a motion sensing nightlight was born. Now rather than an on/off switch it will sense if my son wakes up in the middle of the night and gently fade up some LED lighting. Once there's been no movement for 30 seconds then it will fade down again. His room can be completely dark at night and I feel that if he wakes up it's nice that he can see where he is.
I decided this would be a perfect entry to the Hack It contest because it's a double-hack. Not only has the toy been hacked to take a PIR sensor, but the PIR sensor has also been hacked and reprogrammed to do more than it was intended to - it fades the external LEDs up and down gradually using pulse width modulation. If you feel this meets the spirit of the contest then a vote would be nice. However, check out the other entries and vote for one of them too if you think they're good too.
Here's a video of the finished product. You can see it sensing movement and fading up the light. Then I switch it off using his arm as a hidden switch.
Firstly, there's the things you'll obviously need.
Then there are a few little electronic bits and pieces. These are the sort of things that anyone who dabbles with electronics should have lying around anyway.
Finally, you'll need some tools
Got all that? Good - then we can begin.