I’ve been slowly adding more gadgets to my home automation setup. I typically use voice control, but I’ve been searching for a nicely packaged interface for controlling devices, and the HA SwitchPlate from Derusha Digital Designs is a very clean and modern looking home automation controller. Designed to fit into an existing lightswitch box, it uses a 2.4″ TFT touchscreen display for interaction.
The GUI looks very well-designed and easy to navigate. The HASP has been designed to work with Home-Assistant.io or openHAB, but because it uses MQTT it can easily work with just about any existing home automation solution. With the help of websites like IFTTT, it could be leveraged to control devices that are part of your Google Home ecosystem, for example.
The designers are quick to point out that this is not a drop-in solution; you will have to do some legwork and setup to integrate it into existing systems. This is the controller for the hacker, not the consumer. Despite this, it has the polished look of a consumer product, which is a great selling point.
I’m very impressed with their excellent documentation. It covers basic set-up and integration with Home-Assistant, as well as pointers for how to integrate with other systems. I’m pretty confident that any hacker who has worked with MQTT before will have no problem. As an open-source project, you can also dig into the source code to modify it however you wish. I’m sure that many end users will want to make changes to the GUI to include new features, or change the colour scheme, etc. The code is written as an Arduino sketch for the ESP8266, and it is well-commented and easy to read.
Overall, this looks like an excellent solution, and one I am strongly considering using one in my own apartment! Kudos to Derusha Digital Designs for such a slick and clean design.
If you need an MQTT debugging tool, I’d like to give a shoutout to MQTTCute, an excellent tool designed by my friend and Hackaday contributor Maya Posch. I’ve used it many times for MQTT projects and it’s a great tool for quickly subscribing and publishing to MQTT topics.