Do you have any "smart home" projects in the works or in mind?

Did you find this post useful? Show some love!
DISCUSSION (30)

I spent quite a lot of time working through smart home projects.

To name but a few!

  • Internet connected door bell: Using a wireless door bell I attached a small RFID powered arduino, which emits a message to a central receiver on my raspberry pi when the door bell is pressed. Most of these door bells have a light on the front which when ringing emit. It is VERY EASY to run your arduino in parallel through the wiring to the light bulb and wake it from sleep when the voltage goes high on the wire. After the message is emitted over radio I then put the arduino back to sleep. Here is an image of the unit: IoT Door Bell IoT Bell Boxed IoT Bell MQTT

During prototyping the unit:
IoT Bell Prototyping

  • Tweeting thermostat with Pebble App controller: I bought a tado smart thermostat. These are much like the Nest versions that you see publicised however, they have gone heavy on the software and kept the hardware in your home to a minimum. You control everything through their mobile app. The reason I went this route is that I believe hardware has a much shorter shelf life, so by going with a product which treats it's hardware as quite a dumb component there is little turnover with hardware versions. This means I'm not buying tado v2, v3, v4 every few years.You may have seen the number of Nest iterations has been insane, which for me is a waste of money. In this project, I hooked into the Tado mobile API. It's hidden and I had to sniff the API calls but utilising this API and Node-red to wire up the API calls to a MQTT server and Twitter I was able to have my thermostat tweet its temperature every 20 minutes and I was also able to control it through my pebble watch:

Tado Box
IoT Thermostat
IoT Pebble

A project would never be complete without also building it into telegram
Telegram Bot

  • Car Tracker: So I had a run in with my car being potentially stolen one time and it got me thinking about asset trackers/car trackers. I found that there are generally 2 routes to go down. One is to pay someone a subscription and they install a unit which your insurance company will approve of or you can buy yourself a unit, fit it yourself and just use it as a general purpose tracker. Both of these avenues typically require you to wire the unit into the car itself. For any units which are battery powered you typically find small devices that last anywhere from 3 days up to 90 days. These units are inexpensive, some offer subscriptions but generally it's a pay as you go scenario. My issue with these models is that I didn't want to be touching the car internal wiring, I wanted to be able to move the unit between vehicles and at the same time I felt a 90 day maximum without requiring a charge was actually VERY low. As you can see from my previous projects I've worked with Arduinos quite a bit and I have run a barebones arduino on a coin cell for well in excess of 2 years, emitting a simple radio message every hour.

I set about looking into optimising and producing an asset tracking device which met the following criteria:

  • Portable
  • Pay as you go based on SMS plan/ GSM plan tied to no brands
  • Battery life between charges in excess of 1 year
  • Agnostic interface to other devices
  • Does not touch any of the car's wiring
  • Will emit it's location once an hour every hour

I ended up with quite a few months of prototyping, ranging from barebones arduinos to some beta devices like the Espruino and electron/photon ranges. I tested numerous battery setups and I also went through probably 5 or 6 different GSM and GPS modules.

Whilst the barebones arduino was the perfect setup for battery life where I had a theoretical run time of 1.5 years on a 6000mAh battery I actually found the Espruino to be the nicest to work with. This was mainly due to it running JavaScript and was very much more event driven. To cut a long story much shorter! Here's some pictures of the device. I actually housed it in a nice big black box as I could crack this open and wrap the GPS antenna up and place it inside to create a very portable box to carry around and then deploy as needed.

Black box
Inside box
Testing

The first hello world sending my GPS coordinates (Yes I still live there)
Hello world

Dev using the Espruino chrome IDE (Really nice community driven build)
Devving

For good measure, here's how awesome a barebones arduino can look. Just by ensuring you match your voltages without the use of regulators can massively increase battery life. It's quite astonishing how these small changes can have such a good bang for their buck.
Bare bones

Hope this offers some inspiration for others. I've done a few more projects but I don't want to bore out the comments!

These are brilliant. You should consider converting this comment into its own dev.to post — including the other projects you didn't have space to mention. I'm sure people would have tons of questions.

Sure thing I'll probably do a write up on the door bell. That one was prior to all the "Smart" doorbells and I had a Raspberry PI cam that would take a photo of the person at the door once the button was pressed and upload it to twitter / pushed to my phone. Very useful!

I would love a small tutorial on how to make that door bell!

I have one thing in mind. First, let me explain a problem. I don't have any specific time to return home. Because of this, I receive many calls from my family about when can I return home? so we can eat dinner to gather. I was planning to solve this problem by creating a module with raspberry pi + REST API which will give a location of me when someone press button on it. Location will be fed by my phone, Also it should be flexible enough to integrate with Google Home or Amazone Alexa

My washing macine is in the garage and I never know when it's finish and most of the time I go downstairs and it's not over yet so with a Raspbery Pi Zero W and a vibration sensor I'm going to detect when it's finish and send a notification to my phone with a Telegram Bot.

I love programmers. Why walk to check when we can get notified? :D

Ben Halpern DEV.TO FOUNDER

Hey there, we see you aren't signed in. (Yes you, the reader. This is a fake comment.)

Please consider creating an account on dev.to. It literally takes a few seconds and we'd appreciate the support so much. ❤️

Plus, no fake comments when you're signed in. 🙃

One smart home project that I never got around to: arduino powered blinds set based on sunrise and sunset times.

Not really a smart home project, but 3D printing a replacement fridge part since it is no longer in production. I'm also interested in paper signals with google, but it hasn't hit a tipping point with me yet.

I so want to do the blinds thing too.

I feel like it is one of the perfect projects to get folks to see the value in arduino kits. The other thing I'm still keeping an eye out for is a better shower temp regulation option.

I want smart shower controls that remember the preferences of multiple people in the house 🔥

Maybe not a "Smart Home" project yet, but I am working on a personal health project with my Fitbit data. Depending on its success, I'm hoping to branch out to other devices within my home. I've had some small experience with Alexa but at the moment I haven't decided whether or not I should check out Google Home.

Google have some fantastic AIY projects that I'm interested in, so it's all very up in the air and exciting at the moment :)

I'm planning on hooking a Billy Bass up to a theremin and displaying it in my living room. I think this is both 'smart' and takes place in a 'home', and hooking it up to the internet will only cheapen its majesty.

So not exactly a project that I have planned, but I am interested in setting up a system that would play a custom song (Your very own theme song) when you walk into the house for the first time that day.

I cant find the original video or post, but if I remember correctly the poster had set up a script that runs when someone connects to the wifi. Since most people connect automatically, it would line up so that the script runs as they're walking into the building.

When the person connects for the first time that day, it plays the selected song and marks them as "visited". Every day at midnight it would it would set everyone to "not visited".

Can't be good at everything, so physical electronics beats me. But if someone built I will sure buy it:

  • Alarm clock espresso machine
  • Cat feeder delivering timed meals 4 hours apart each day
  • motion sensing air horn or noise trigger for fending cat off counter
  • "Not interested." easy button for telling random catcallers to back off.
  • farty sounding turntable :D

I was inspired by this

Nick Rowe – Hacking Sleep With JavaScript! [Reject.JS 14] - YouTube

to move away from alarm clocks toward using lighting.

My first proof-of-concept was with a vacation timer, which simply turned the switch on and off. I moved to WeMo, and have most of my controls via IFTTT.

  • At 7am, turn on
  • At 10am, turn off
  • When phone enters this circle, turn on
  • At midnight, turn off

I also part of the IFTTT Maker platform, so I also have curl commands to turn on and off

alias toggle_bedroom='curl -X POST https://maker.ifttt.com/trigger/toggle_bedroom_lights/with/key/NOT_GONNA_SHOW_MY_KEY_HERE &> /dev/null'

The WeMo switches are in inaccessable parts of the room, the light switch does nothing, and the smartphone is usually locked, so I bought a Google Home Mini so I can say Hey Google, make it dark and Hey Google, light it up.

Which, so far, is only slightly more developer than plug-and-play Smart Home, and it relies heavily on Cloud services, which is sub-optimal when you have CENSORED home internet. This morning was a perfect example; everything was dark because IFTTT couldn't tell WeMo to wake me up, and when I did wake up, Home said "I can't find the Internet."

So, putting ouimeaux on my Raspberry Pi and having the core schedule be local instead of cloud is, as of this morning, a high-priority project for me.

Once the Pi is handling the scheduled tasks of turning on and off the lights, the next task is to use Mozilla's Common Voice to get the voice control off the cloud as well.

The move to Philips Hue as Nick Rowe suggests with his project and video is, as of last night, a step too far in terms of Spouse Acceptance Factor. (Explicitly. I showed her the video and she said she thinks it's dumb.) I might go there anyway, eventually.

When my new apartment is finished, I plan to work on my personal smart home project.
We will have a KNX bus and I'll set up the smart home server on my own. Here's the things that I plan to do - as long as I can really find the time for it 🙃

Temperature

Each light switch has a built in temperature sensor, so the floor heating will consistently keep the desired room temperature without the need of fiddling around with the valves 😀

Window Blinds

I'm not sure how I might do this - there are several possibilities:

  • Winter: Window blinds are controlled by sunset/sunrise to get some sunshine in it and benefit a bit from the warmth of the sunlight.
  • Summer: Window blinds controlled by the angle of the sun, so they follow the sun and adjust themselves in a way to prevent the sun shining directly into the apartment. I guess we could keep the temperature down a bit with that solution.

Hi Fi

This will be left out in the beginning - I'm thinking of a Sonos wireless system for livingroom/kitchen and my office room but that's for later 😉

Doorbell

We forgot to connect the doorbell to the KNX bus, so either I find a solution to connect it otherwise, or this will be left out.

Telegram Bot

I want to experiment a bit with creating a telegram chat bot. It should be able to do some basic tasks like switching on/off lights or open/close the window blinds for the beginning. It might be cool if the doorbell would be connected, that it sends me a notification if someone rings the bell.

That's all for now, but I'm always looking for new ideas.

I had an idea that cost too much for me using a few Raspberry Pi 0 W and presence detectors so that you could stream your music to/from your RPi/Media Server and it would play in whatever room you are in or move to.

The cost of the detectors was about 80€ a piece, that plus the speakers make it pretty expensive and it would be difficult to use in a family home where not everyone might want to listen to the same thing.

I tend to listen to podcasts and audiobooks a lot so it would be nice to be able to seemlessly continue listening while doing chores about my flat/home.

I'm thinking of playing around with the Ikea Trådfri smartbulbs and a Raspberry Pi with a zigbee-module… sure, I could just buy the starter kit with a hub (a.k.a. base station) and 2 bulbs, but where's the fun in that?

It will be used as a wake-up light.

Currently have one working/in the works, with another in mind. Working is a door cam for my dorm room, because I don't want to walk six feet when someone's at my door wanted to use my Pi Zero for something. Second is some NFC lock so I don't have to remember my key whenever I leave, instead opting for some NFC bracelet, or even better, something that integrates with my watch.

I just try to incorporate as much stuff as I can from Home Assistant.

Currently: Providing a UI interface to my finished Proxy API for cheap budget store Internet connected RF switches. After that, providing MQTT support for said API.

I don't know if it's a "smart home" or more of "a lose constellation of internet-connected products some of which weren't intended to be internet-connected" but I've got something at my house. I think the closest to "smart home" it gets though is setting the thermostat based on the arm status of the alarm system.

A while back I was working on Amazon Echo connected "dumb" lights - the wireless outlets that you connect between your lights and your outlet. Instead of paying $30 for a Wemo outlet, you could pay 6 and build a simple transmitter.

The first version (not Echo enabled) can be found here: aaroneiche.com/2016/01/31/weekend-...

I haven't had time to pick it up in the intervening years, but I'm always thinking about trying to finish it up.

I have bought a new home a while ago. And now I replacing all my switches, lamps doorbells and fuses with smart home devices, to fully automate my home. For this I use fhem it's an open source system that handles all communication protocols for the most common devices. A few weeks ago I connected Alexa to it very seamless.

I'm working on Kevin (yes, it's named after Home Alone), which is a smart home backend/database with HomeKit support.

It'll be a simple Rest API, so I can use it with ESP32s. I'm using Homebridge for HomeKit, and writing custom modules to grab information from the Kevin server.

That's basically it right now. :P

I installed a new Split-Mini system in the basement. I also added some through-the-wall fans so I can blow warm air from the main part of my basement to the office on the other side of the wall.

Right now I'm writing a smart hub script for the through-the-wall fans to kick on and off when there's a certain temperature differential between the two rooms...but only when the Split-Mini fan is running. I have to use a tilt sensor on one of the mini's fins that lower when it's on.

I'm also going to try to get Octopi (3D print server) to flash my upstairs lights when a print job is done and I'm at home. :)

The only smart home project I did was to write a skill for Alexa to ring my phone whenever I ask alexa to find my phone.... It cost me money each time I do it but its fun.

Yes, detect when the toilet paper is gone, so I get an alert before doing the my thing.

Thinking of creating a sensor + module which would feed my fishes according to the time set !

Might be possible when i work with one of my Electronics college colleague. :)

I'd like to build a device that send signals or commands to be able mess with other people's "smart" device.

Classic DEV Post from Apr 30

How engineers can stand out from the applicant pool

Technical founders share stories and advice about how software engineers can stand out from the applicant pool.

READ POST
Follow @lynnetye to see more of their posts in your feed.
Ben Halpern
A Canadian living in New York, having a lot of fun cultivating this community! Creator and webmaster of dev.to.
Trending on dev.to
Do you manage your own Postgres or use a DBaaS?
#discuss #postgres #hosting #dbaas
How did you decide on what you wanted to do?
#career #advice #discuss
Clueless developer, How to get back
#dev #discuss
​Linus Torvalds takes a break from Linux
#linux #opensource #foss #discuss
What Open-source Load Balancer Have You Used Before or Still Using Now?
#opensource #help #discuss
Number of followers to be shown on a profile?
#discuss #healthydebate
Why I Turned Down a Job Opportunity
#career #perspective
Personal Site or Blog Recommendation
#discuss #help #blog