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Topic: Home automation capabilities (Read 2485 times) previous topic - next topic

Acehigh0111

Hi, I'm new to Arduino and this is my second post in this forum.  My question is in relation to home automation technology and the capabilities we have.  Maybe I'm slightly old school, or maybe I have yet to open my eyes to the possibilities.  When computers first came out, they were intended to make our lives easier and simple.  However, in today's world, most Americans spend the majority of their waking hours on one.  What ever happened to the simple on/off switch? 

Will home automation technology really improve our lives?  I've always dreamed of owning a "smart" house like from the old "Back to the Future" movie and such.  But what is really available to us today?  Those X-10 controllers seem really cool, and I want one; but for what?  So I can turn my dishwasher on from my phone(i still have to load it)?  So I can dim the lights from my computer(i'm not crippled)?  Monitor my thermostat and electricity(some usefulness)?  I can hack an xbox kinect to use hand motions to change the channel on my tv instead of a controller, but it's not nearly as efficient.  Voice recognition has become significantly greater in the past few years, but SIRI is more of an annoying novelty than life-changing product. 

However, on the flip side I have seen some really unique "smart" automated gardening systems come about from diy pioneers.  The ability to monitor soil moisture, PH, temp, etc. is lifechanging for the greenhouse or aquaponic gardener.  I've seen people create interesting things for their vehicles before they became available like back up cameras and engine monitors. 

But, what about for the home?  Honestly, DVR's are probably the best home system to come out in the past 10 years.  Corning made a great futuristic video entitled "Day Made of Glass", but it relied solely on the advancement of glass technology.  Other than robotic systems, what could possibly be of reliable use for the average person? 

MAS3

Quote from: Acehigh0111

Will home automation technology really improve our lives?

It will eventually.
We're not yet at the time of the future BTTF showed us, did you ever stop to count the things that have become reality already instead of those that are not (yet) ?
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So I can turn my dishwasher on from my phone(i still have to load it)?

Build yourself a TC/DWL robot using one or more Arduino's, and yes, you can.
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I can hack an xbox kinect to use hand motions to change the channel on my tv instead of a controller, but it's not nearly as efficient.
Voice recognition has become significantly greater in the past few years, but SIRI is more of an annoying novelty than life-changing product. 

Well, it is reality and who ever said in those movies it came overnight.
Give it some more time, so maybe your voice input doesn't need to be uploaded anymore, just the request you made.
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However, on the flip side I have seen some really unique "smart" automated gardening systems come about from diy pioneers. 
The ability to monitor soil moisture, PH, temp, etc. is lifechanging for the greenhouse or aquaponic gardener.
I've seen people create interesting things for their vehicles before they became available like back up cameras and engine monitors.

But, what about for the home?
Honestly, DVR's are probably the best home system to come out in the past 10 years.

Those are pioneers and DIY hobbyists.
Be a pioneer yourself, Arduino can be a good aid to that.

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Corning made a great futuristic video entitled "Day Made of Glass", but it relied solely on the advancement of glass technology.


Corning does glass.
What do you expect ?
Have a look at "blink without delay".
Did you connect the grounds ?
Je kunt hier ook in het Nederlands terecht: http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/board,77.0.html

draythomp

I've been automating parts of my house for a few years.  I'm building most of the stuff myself instead of buying it because I wanted it to actually work (unlike X10) and I wanted to be able to repair it when it broke instead of tossing it and buying new.  I've had moderate success, but as you pointed out, I only automate the stuff that I actually need to make it nicer around the house.

I kept forgetting to close the garage door when I left; some switches, arduino, XBee, and programming and I can see if the doors are open and close them from anywhere.  I wanted better control of my swimming pool; some protocol conversion work, arduino, XBee, and now I can turn on the pool filter from anywhere.  I wanted a really, really smart set of controllers for my heat pumps (Arizona USA); arduinos, relays, ethernet boards, and I can control my house temperature from anywhere.  This one also monitors the time and controls things based on power company demand billing; they save me hundreds of dollars a year.  I automatically add acid to my pool with an arduino, relay, XBee combination; this minimized the time I have to spend checking chemical balance.  All this stuff needed a time standard that didn't depend on the internet; GPS chip, arduino, XBee and I have a clock that is really accurate and provides time for the other devices.  The thermostats use it as well as the pool devices.  Then I noticed how much power the water heater was using; hooked up an SSR to the same device that works the garage doors and turn the water heater off when it isn't needed.  I monitor my septic tank level so I can clean its filter before problems happen (yuck); hooked a float switch into the same device that controls the chemicals to the pool.  I mentioned power usage; an arduino, two circuit transformers, XBee and I monitor my home power usage in real time.  The data is uploaded to several cloud servers and I can get graphs and other comparisons from them anywhere.  I wanted to know what the temperature was at home when I'm away; an XBee and a temperature sensor went into a louvered box on the fence.  I can look at the actual temperature at my house from anywhere.  Heck, I wanted to be able to monitor my tractor battery from the house without going to the barn to check it; XBee, float charging circuit and I can see the battery's state of charge from my kitchen table.

I needed something to monitor and report all this stuff to me as I needed and to turn on a little light when something went wrong; arduino, XBee, ethernet card, and I had a device that centralizes all the other devices and allows me control and monitoring from anywhere over the internet.

So, I haven't done trivial automation, instead I automated the things that made a lot of sense in my environment specifically made to serve my purposes.  I'm not done yet.  I want to move the controller function to a bigger device so I can have more stuff presented over the internet.  I want to build in special controllers to make sure visitors don't start the clothes dryer during high power price periods.  I want a lot, but I never even thought about the dishwasher.

Arrch


Other than robotic systems, what could possibly be of reliable use for the average person? 


My porch lights turn themselves on at dusk, and back on at dawn, independent of the time of year.
My garage door closes itself if I've left it open for too long.
My vegetable garden is watered only when it needs it.
The cat's litterbox cleans itself, discards the waste into the toilet, and automatically flushes.
Next up is to have my pool keep itself filled, and notify me when I need to add Chlorine/Acid.

You just have to stop and think about what you are doing around your house that a machine can easily do. That's how people invented things like automatic sprinklers, washing machines, dishwashers, etc.

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