For something completely different, the folks at the PsychicOrigami blog have modified an interesting lamp, one that is shaped as a mushroom growing out of a piece of log – and converted it into a temperature-sensing RGB lamp. Embedded in the mushroom is an RGB LED which can create almost any colour in the spectrum, and in the base is the small Arduino board and circuitry to control the lamp.
The temperature is measured using an LM35 temperature sensor, which has a range of -40 and 150 degrees Celsuis. The reading from the sensor is interpreted by the Arduino board, and converted into signals which are relative to the temperature and then displayed using the RGB LED. Here is an example lamp at work:
Once a suitable enclosure has been found, this project would be very easy to recreate and ideal for beginners or something to do on the weekend. As the Arduino board can easily work other types of sensors, the lamp could also respond to humidity, gas levels, motion, and even with the right code alert you to new emails. If you are new to the world of Arduino, you can find plenty of guides and tutorials to get started with here: http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/HomePage
And for complete details on making your own lamp, including the circuit and Arduino sketch, visit here: http://www.psychicorigami.com/2012/09/04/arduino-powered-temperature-sensing-rgb-led-nightlight/