Could Cayenne do this for me?


I am a complete novice in this area and so please go easy with me. I want to try to build some devices that require sensing and controlling. The hard objects I have a good handle on but as for automation and control, that is where I haven’t a clue. I have lots of projects in mind but I will start with something “simple”.

I would like to produce an array of lenses that focus sunlght through a tunnel to come out the bottom and spray the area below with sunlight. I have a pergola covered in vegetation and not much light gets through. I want the lens array to direct captured light through the pergola to select spots where I want plants to receive light and flourish. Green growing in the cool shade would be pretty “cool”. You may suggest the obvious of taking a pruner to let more direct light in and that would solve the problem. It’s not that simple because where I am trying to grow plants is in perpetual shade, not only from the pergola but my double storey home. I can’t change the physics of the path of ambient sunlight but with concentration and refraction, I should be able to direct some where I want it to go.

What I need is the ability to …

  1. Identify the position of the sun
  2. Track the path of the sun as it moves throughout the day
  3. Drive an array of lenses that capture sunlight and concentrate it into light transmission tubes, and maybe
  4. Control the direction the tubes are pointing to target light onto specific areas of interest.
  5. The control I would love to me able to do natively on my Mac device(s).

Is this environment one that could conceivably achieve this?
If so, in a nutshell, how would I go about this?

Thanks in anticipation.


This is a very complicated and perhaps risky project that is really beyond the scope of Cayenne.

Complicated because you need to have large weatherproof motors and high current electronics to move things. It is also hard to say what may work without seeing pictures, etc.

Risky, because I remember angling and focusing lenses when I was a kid to actually cook meet in a sixth grade science project. It was capable of starting paper or dry grass on fire. Your home insurance may not cover this :slight_smile:

We can definitely assist you with the electronics and getting Cayenne doing what you want to do though, if you wish to take the risks, but I don’t even know where to start on lenses and the mechanical stuff without knowing more about your situation. Ultimately, I think you need a mirror in full sun and then direct it to another object that disperses the light onto your garden.