Controlling a display based on a PIR motion detector

I am working on a Magic Mirror: that’s an old LCD display behind a two-way mirror. The mirror shows your reflection when you look at it, but all light coming from behind it passes through - so stuff displayed on the LCD appears on the mirror. A Raspberry Pi 3 controls what is shown using this open source modular smart mirror platform.

Of course I don’t want the display to be always on - that’d be bad for my electricity bill. Instead I want to detect if a person is standing in front of the mirror and only then turn it on. For this I’m using a passive infrared (PIR) sensor which connects to three GPIO pins on the raspi.

Some Python then controls the logic:

from gpiozero import MotionSensor
import time
from time import sleep
import subprocess

stayAliveTime = 30
pir = MotionSensor(SENSOR_PIN)

    lastTimeActivated = time.time()
    subprocess.check_call(['/home/pi/bin/turn-screen', '1'])
    currentlyOn = True
    while True:
	if currentlyOn and not pir.motion_detected and time.time() - lastTimeActivated > stayAliveTime:
            print "Movement stopped on " + time.strftime('%d. %b %X')
            subprocess.check_call(['/home/pi/bin/turn-screen', '0'])
	    currentlyOn = False
	if pir.motion_detected:
            print "Movement detected on " + time.strftime('%d. %b %X')
            lastTimeActivated = time.time()
	    if not currentlyOn:
		subprocess.check_call(['/home/pi/bin/turn-screen', '1'])
		currentlyOn = True
except KeyboardInterrupt:
    print "Stopping."

In a nutshell: the first if checks whether more than stayAliveTime many seconds have passed since the last movement was registered, and turns off the display if enough time has passed && and the display is on && there’s no motion right now.
The second if covers the other case and checks for motion. Any motion updates the point in time lastTimeActivated where the last motion was detected: this way the display stays on if a person keeps moving in front of it. If it’s currently off, then it’ll also turn on.

You’ll want to install the gpiozero package and possibly some dependencies of it.

The /home/pi/bin/turn-screen script is quite simple:

if (( $# < 1));
	echo "Pass '0' for 'off' and '1' for 'on'!"
vcgencmd display_power $1

and that’ll do it!