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From the Tips Box: iPhone Sleep Monitors, Testing IR Remotes with a Camera, and Glowing Easter Eggs Redux

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Once a week we round up some great reader tips and share them with everyone. This week we’re looking at using your iPhone as a sleep monitor that wakes you at an optimum time, how to test your remote with a digital camera, and a clever way to craft glowing Easter eggs.

Track Your Sleep Cycles with an iPhone

Nico saw our Sleepyti.me post from earlier today and wrote in with an iPhone tip:

While Sleepyti.me is pretty neat, what’s really awesome is using your iPhone as a sleep sensor. I’ve been using Sleep Cycle for a few years now. It’s an app that uses the motion sensors in your iPhone to detect when you rise in and out of deep sleep based on your movements. You tell it what time (round about) you want to wake up and it wakes you up at the best possible moment in your sleep cycle. So if I tell it I want to get up at 8AM and 7:15 is actually a perfect time for me to wake up feeling refreshed, the alarm will go off then to wake me when I’m out of deep sleep. It’s sweet! Best buck-for-an-app purchase I ever made.

That’s a pretty polished app, Nico. We’d love to hear from readers using something similar on their Android phones!

Test Your IR Remote with a Digital Camera

Tom writes in with a simple diagnostic test:

The other day I was trouble shooting my universal TV remote. Something fishy was going on and I needed to start from the basics and move up. I replaced the batteries but there seemed to be no signal being sent to the television (this particular remote doesn’t have any sort of indicator on it). To test and see if the remote was actually beaming anything out, I pointed it at my smartphone’s camera (I think this should work with just about any digital camera) and I was able to see the infrared output of the IR LED on the front of the remote! Score!

Very clever, Tom. We’re going to file this in our every growing Rolodex of sneaky trouble shooting tricks.

Glowing Easter Eggs on the Cheap

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Milly writes in with a DIY trick:

Loved the LED Easter Egg post from earlier today, but not everyone has a cache of LEDs laying around. I followed a tutorial I found on the web that kept things simpler… instead of batteries and LEDs, you just stuff the eggs with slender glow sticks from the Dollar Store.

As a last minute hack, using the glow sticks is definitely easier than overnighting some LEDs. Thanks for sharing!


Have a clever tip or trick to share? Shoot us an email at tips@howtogeek.com!

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 04/5/12

Comments (2)

  1. Aurora900

    The Android equivalent for Sleep Cycle is Sleep As Android. It’s mostly the same, and works great! I was using it for a while :)

  2. Huseyin

    You don’t need a fancy digital camera (yes they are not fancy anymore, but they used to be when I used to test my remotes back in 80′s). Just dial your radio to AM and point your remote to it.. Your grandma or granpa will appreciate this easier trick. You will be able to see the difference in frequencies and how your TV actually recognizes them.

    And I was hoping the editor would choose a better video, not just one that says “your iphone can see..” all digital cameras or cellphone cameras can see the light. You can also see WiiMote’s dual IR beams as well.

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