Tidbyt Brightness

Hi folks!

I love my Tidbyt and currently find it most useful on my desk. I live in a one bedroom in Brooklyn with plenty of natural light. My bedroom currently doubles as my office. I can never seem to get the Tidbyt in a brightness level I am happy with. Here are my current issues and solutions:

  • At night, the Tidbyt is too bright for a bedroom. I’ve worked around this issue by using the automatic dimming at sundown feature and schedule apps so they don’t run at night. The clock at this brightness is manageable, but any app with animations feels like the Las Vegas strip :smiley:
  • During the day, I find I have to up the brightness manually on a rather sunny day or dim the brightness manually on a cloudy day.

Potential solutions I’ve thought of:

  • Dimmer values with less color space for the automatic dimming feature at night
  • Quiet hours: the ability to set a time frame when the Tidbyt should be sleep friendly (remove all apps except the clock, set the dimmest value, etc)
  • Software based daylight brightness setting: use weather data and time of day to guess what brightness the Tidbyt should be. Would be hard if the Tidbyt was not in a sunlit room.
  • An ambient light sensor: this would be a heavy hammer, but would go a long way in ensuring the Tidbyt was always the correct brightness
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Hey Mark! Thanks a ton, this is really useful feedback. I love the idea of “quiet hours” as well.

Anyway, I discussed with @matslina, and here’s what we’re going to try to do right away:

  1. Expand the current automatic dimming feature into a “Quiet Mode” or “Night Mode”. Initially, you’ll be able to pick a single app to show in this mode, like the clock. You’ll be able to choose between triggering this mode at sunset, or triggering it on a specific schedule.

  2. Add an experimental “brighter on sunny days” options. We’re both a bit worried that weather data may not be good enough for this to work well, but it’s worth trying.

Those are the two things we’re going to try to do right away.


I also hear you on the ambient light sensor. That’s something we could experiment with and try to integrate into future devices. The main issue I’m stuck on though is where to put the sensor.

If it’s just mounted on the PCB at the back of the Tidbyt, we’d be measuring brightness behind the device, which may or may not be useful? Ideally the sensor would face forward, but it’s not clear to me how to do that without having a literal hole on the front of the device.

All that said, we’re releasing a basic public API today or tomorrow that can be used to control the brightness of a Tidbyt. So in theory you could hook up your Tidbyt’s brightness to anything from a light sensor on your window to the phases of the moon :full_moon_with_face:

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Following up here. We’ve now implemented a “Night Mode” feature that dims the screen and shows a clock. If you update to the latest version of the Tidbyt app on your phone, you should see an option to enable it.

Also, here’s an example of how you could use it to create a “wake-up light” or “sunrise simulator”:

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