During my work in the recent innovation project at the lighting division of GE Hungary Kft., I designed hardware for an adaptive outdoor lighting system, the operation of which is based on motion sensing and communication between luminaires. My tasks were to select the hardware components which are best suited for the planned purpose, draw the schematic diagram, design the PCB layout and manufacture the first prototypes. In the second phase of the project, I wrote a bootloader program to enable remote reprogramming of luminaires in the system, and also programmed a software for testing purposes, with a reduced set of functions, but capable to demonstrate the main features of our system.
Luminaires in the system should operate at a low light level in absence of motion, to achieve energy savings this way, compared to lighting on full brightness. In case of motion under a luminaire, it has to dim itself to maximum brightness and notify its neighbors via the wireless RF link to do the same thing. When the motion is gone, the luminaires should dim back to the base level. Controlling light sources like this, we can achieve to have light both ways around a motion, but nowhere else in the system.
At the first test installation of the prototypes we are aiming at more than just achieving the desired functionality, the plan is to observe operation of the system for a while and optimize it utilizing the experience. For this reason, I had to make the hardware capable of mass data acquisition, remote observation and reprogramming. A further goal is to implement a self-discovery algorithm to avoid the setup process after installing a new system, so the lamps of the system can work together in their factory state. I had to prepare the hardware for this function too.
The hardware I got as a result of my design is able to fulfill each one of its desired functions according to our tests, the bootloader does its job fast and reliably, and we were able to introduce our system to the users, utilizing my test software code. Now we can move on to the next phase, writing the final application software and fine tuning the system.