Go ahead.
Watch yourself
to sleep.

Netflix socks pause your show automatically, so you never miss a moment.

Part socks. Part clever.

A DIY project inspired by you.

Sometimes a show is so good, you just can’t stop. And the next thing you know, zzzzz. Netflix socks detect when you’ve dozed off and send a signal to your TV, automatically pausing your show. Never again will you binge-watch yourself to sleep, only to wake up two seasons later wondering what happened.

MAKE THE SOCKS
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Step 1

Before you get started.

Making Netflix socks from scratch means doing a little knitting and building some electronics. If knitting isn’t your thing, you can always enlist the help of a knitting-savvy friend or simply use socks you already own. To build the sensor, you’ll need an understanding of electronics and microcontroller programming, and be comfortable around a soldering iron.

Step 3

Understand the mechanism.

We’ve based our sleep detection system on a popular method called actigraphy. An accelerometer detects when you’ve stopped moving for a prolonged period of time and triggers a signal to your TV that pauses Netflix. When it detects that you’ve dozed off, an LED light in the cuff of the sock flashes red, warning that the pause signal is about to be sent to your TV. Any motion will stop it from firing.

The accelerometer is very sensitive to little movements, so it’s good at detecting when you’re just sitting still, raptly watching Netflix, and when you’ve actually fallen asleep. However, there are ways to increase your socks’ accuracy. More on this later.

Step 4

Gather your materials.

Here’s what we used to make our Netflix socks. Feel free to experiment and make substitutions based on your own particular sock ambitions.

  • Knit socks
  • Arduino microcontroller
  • IR LEDs
  • LED indicator light
  • Battery
  • Momentary button
  • Accelerometer
  • 12” x 12” piece of felt

Arduino microcontroller. We used an Arduino Pro Trinket. We like it for its small form factor, ease of use and onboard USB. Plus it has plenty of I/O pins for playing around with advanced features (see below). You can also use something like a LilyPad, though it will change some component requirements.

IR LEDs. We used two wide-angle IR LEDs to ensure the pause signal reaches the TV, even if your feet aren’t in an optimal position. These can take quite a bit of power, so we used a MOSFET to pulse them.

LED Indicator light. Our RGB indicator LED is a single Flora Neopixel, and we didn’t see any issues when powering it at 3.3v.

Battery. We used a 500mAh battery. Because the IR LEDs only activate when firing a signal and the Arduino goes into sleep mode when not being used, this should provide plenty of power. For charging the battery, we used the Adafruit Trinket LiPoly backpack, which uses the micro USB connector on the Trinket.

Felt. We used 2mm wool felt as the backing for our electronics. It is non-conductive, flexible and can be cut easily with an X-ACTO knife. And it’s really cozy.

Check out our parts list here.

Step 5

Build the electronics.

To get started, have a look at the schematic in the attached. We used 30-gauge stranded flexible wire and a tiny piece of perf board to simplify the wiring. If you prefer, you can also use conductive thread (check out a tutorial here).

Step 6

Set up your IR signals.

When you fall asleep, your sock will need to send the appropriate signals to the TV. This can either be “stop,” “pause,” or the power button. Our TV has a stop button, so we chose to use that. To read the IR signals, we like this method and this method, which use an IR receiver and an Arduino.

Step 7

Do a little programming.

We’ve provided a basic Arduino sketch to get you started here. You will want to modify it for your IR signals and tweak the timings and thresholds for sleep detection. We found it really helpful to attach a simple 16x2 LCD to debug output while dialing it in.

Step 8

Embed it in the sock.

We used a felt backing to hold all of the electronics in place, then covered them with a second layer to protect the wiring (and our skin!). To secure the felt pieces together, we used fabric tape and some stitches, then sewed the whole thing into the inside cuff of our sock. The tab with the LED indicator light folds over the outside of the sock and just needs a few stitches to hold it in place. If you’re into conductive thread, you can use it here.

Check out our templates here.

You're finished!

Want extra credit?

Now that you’ve got the basics down, you’re free to get fancy. Here are some ways you can tweak your socks for better accuracy and overall awesomeness.

IR repeater If you like watching Netflix from behind a coffee table or under blankets, your socks may not always have a clear line-of-sight to the TV. An easy way to handle this is to build a simple IR-emitting base station, using something like a 2.4Ghz transceiver to communicate with your sock and send IR signals right to your TV.

Pulse sensor If you’d like greater accuracy for detecting sleep, try adding a pulse sensor to detect a change in heart rate. We had some luck by putting this on our toe. You can also try adding a pulse oximeter, though integrating this into the sock may require some pretty fancy sewing skills.

It's time to binge-watch

Put your socks to work with the latest shows streaming on Netflix.

GO TO NETFLIX.COM

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