So what does it take for you to make your home more connected and intelligent? ‘Intelligence’ in this case refers to having a machine in your house that can switch certain devices on or off based on the inputs of sensors placed around the house. ‘Connected’ refers to having a wide range of sensors and outputs all linked together via the internet. So when most people think of home automation they are thinking of reaction to those sensors. The better the sensor data, the more options you have for meaningful automation. Some examples of inputs useful in a smart home include:
- Temperature Sensors
- Humidity Sensors
- Motion Sensing
- Door/Window Sensors
- Smoke/Fire Sensor
- Carbon Monoxide Sensor
- Bed/Chair Occupancy Sensor
- Ambient Light Sensors
MyOctopus has a range of breakout boards for easily connecting various sensors directly to a Raspberry Pi/ Beaglebone / Intel Edison.
The four shown here react monitor ambient light, air pressure, humidity and temperature, and really curious non-contact IR temperature sensor that’s made for “flame detection” and HVAC optimization. Neat!
- Air pressure sensors can be used to predict rain showers by looking for the characteristic drop in pressure before a shower. Have the smart home remind you to bring an umbrella before you leave for work.
- Ambient light sensors can be used to automatically turn on/off lights depending on the time of day and if the room is currently occupied.
- IR sensors can be used for flame detection and to monitor cookers / stoves and switch them off if left unattended.
What if you want to be able to place sensors all around the house and still have them all connected to the internet? Thanks to the increasing number of inexpensive wireless modules, connecting sensors to the internet easily and inexpensively is now more viable than ever before.
ESP Soil Moisture Sensor designed by Aprilbrother:
For remote monitoring of plants around the house. Also provides ambient temperature as well as humidity sensing.
ESP WiFi Movement sensor by Snaptekk :
Possible Uses include simple lighting control – when a person enters a room, turn on the lights. It could also alert you if movement is detected in an area of your house where it shouldn’t be; has the dog has escaped the garden and is now playing in traffic or is there is motion near the pool? This type of alerting provides peace of mind whether you are hom e or away.
Energy monitoring over WiFi by Everything :
Being able to monitor a house’s power consumption is of huge benefit from an energy saving point of view. Placing a display in the house showing the current power consumption in kWh (and possibly the associated cost) allows people to realize how much power the devices they use take up. Having a computer monitoring power consumption whilst having access to other sensors all over the house allows for more intelligent decisions to be made in energy saving efforts. Even a relatively simple measure like having lights automatically turn off when the room is empty can add up to a big savings in your energy bill.