Magnetic Hue Light Controller

Pictures of the hue controller

It’s like a magical 4-sided die; change the face, and it sets my Hue light settings. I’ve grown tired of the Apps and voice commands available to control my lights, so I made something physical and more interesting than just a button or something.

This project started as a collaboration with Jay Zehngebot to redesign his 12-sided die, the “dod”.

I thought it would be a fun interaction to keep this thing on my refrigerator, so it was available to me whenever I was in the kitchen (we have limited counter space).

Detecting this magnetic attachement is done using internal hall effect sensors. There are 4 total sensors, one next to each of the internal magnets. When a magnet is near another magnetic surface, the sensor detects the change in magnetic field.

How the magnets work

Even cats like it!

On a cat

DIY Fabrication

I used a Bantam Tools Milling Machine to cut the circuit boards.

The main PCB

The entire device is made up of 4 circuit boards, connected together with slots and solder.

Slotted PCBs fit together to make the sides

  • ESP32 module is used to connect to the Hue lights system over WiFi
  • 3-axis accelerometer is used to detect both movements and which side is facing down
  • 4 hall-effect sensors are placed on each PCB near that side’s magnet

Components soldered on

Images of a prototype

Bending some plywood for the enclosure