My junior year, I was lucky to get ahold of a really comfortable armchair at a great price. And the perfect place to put it was right in front of my window where I could benefit from natural reading light and sweet views of JFK St. However, this meant that I had to climb over my chair every night to lower the blinds, and every morning to raise them again.
Since simply moving the chair somewhere else would be too easy, I decided to automate my blinds instead. Using free scrap parts I found in Harvard's Active Learning Labs, I designed, laser-cut, and assembled a web-connected reel that could pull down and release my blinds at command. To control it, I created a 2-direction speed controller from FETs and hooked it up to an ESP8266 for WiFi connectivity. Finally, I made a Firebase function that could be called as a webhook from IFTTT to let me control it from my Google Home!
Before long, I could illuminate my room in the morning without ever leaving the comfort of my bed :)