Ideas to automate my home

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#1 Todilo  Icon User is offline

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Ideas to automate my home

Posted 13 December 2011 - 07:32 AM

Ok, so the other day I said to myself, "I want an apartment that I can control in a non-physical way". I already have a friend who have put in these "triggers" behind the electrical switches and hooked that up to his computer so he can, using his phone, set the lights to "movie" mode etc. Sure that sounds great but, "who wants to use a remote?" I thought to myself. Then I remembered speech recognition and actually having a computer that you speak to, and get audial and visual respons. So do you guys have ideas on hwo to automate my home. The list so far:

Having microphones and hooking that up to an application that can:
Anser to commands example "Computer", "light", "movie" and it will set the appropriate ligtning as well as use the stereo system to say something like "Movie ligtning set".

Having a webcam facing the entrence with a face-recognition software(preferably hooked up to facebook or the google Picasa). It could then, using the library of people, greet people by their name in a fun Microsoft Sam voice(or whatever the .net speech-synthesis use).

Controlling the HTPC(xbmc) via sound as well, like "Computer", "Movie", "Pause"

Control the curtains, so "Computer curtains sleep" will pull them down so it goes dark when you want to sleep!

A control panel/touch screen with visual information gathered like temperature in all the rooms/outside, and chanings songs on spotify.

So what do you guys think, doable? I probably won't realise this into something actually working, but I think it is a fun topic. If you yourself have done something similiar please show and tell!

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Replies To: Ideas to automate my home

#2 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is online

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Re: Ideas to automate my home

Posted 13 December 2011 - 08:10 AM

Sounds like you've been watching the Ironman movies and want to recreate Jarvis. But you sound like you have a more realistic goal of what is acheivable.

Instead of of this network of numerous microphones what about a bluetooth earpiece? Some people like them, some don't. Personally I wear mine all the time to listen to iTunes from my Mac. Since it is already connected to the computer it seems like a natural extension.

Or since we all have our cell phones on anyway, you could still do the remote on the phone with keys but give the remote app speech recognition. This way all the input commands come from the same source. Now you can control it via voice, or keys when you have a cold and the system doesn't recognize your voice.
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#3 Todilo  Icon User is offline

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Re: Ideas to automate my home

Posted 13 December 2011 - 08:21 AM

View PosttlhIn`toq, on 13 December 2011 - 08:10 AM, said:

Sounds like you've been watching the Ironman movies and want to recreate Jarvis. But you sound like you have a more realistic goal of what is acheivable.

Instead of of this network of numerous microphones what about a bluetooth earpiece? Some people like them, some don't. Personally I wear mine all the time to listen to iTunes from my Mac. Since it is already connected to the computer it seems like a natural extension.

Or since we all have our cell phones on anyway, you could still do the remote on the phone with keys but give the remote app speech recognition. This way all the input commands come from the same source. Now you can control it via voice, or keys when you have a cold and the system doesn't recognize your voice.


Great idea! This is why I post here :D. Michrophones all over my house might be a bit annoying/expensive but dunno if I want to walk around with a headpiece in, I will look-into what available headpieces there are! As you say could be multiples point of interaction headset/phone/touchscreen somewhere and old-fashioned switches.
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#4 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is online

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Re: Ideas to automate my home

Posted 13 December 2011 - 08:34 AM

Exactly. You need to plan that this won't be best done with a single application.

A project this big requires a LOT of planning. You can't just stare at the ceiling for five minutes then start hammering on the keyboard.

For example, maybe one application that just handles the incoming commands. It can normalize all the input whether it is from voice, bluetooth, microphone(s), text messages when you are away, light sensors to turn on devices at night time and so on. When that application gets a command regardless of source it can then pass the command to a program that actually controls the various hardware.

This gives you some scalability. You can move the voice recognition to its own mini-PC for example. Another PC can be dedicated to just monitoring webcams and doing face recognition because it is very processor intensive.

During development you can do it all on one PC, but do it AS IF it were multiple computers because it will eventually go that way. Develop it from the ground-up as single purpose applications that all communicate back to a server application.
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#5 Todilo  Icon User is offline

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Re: Ideas to automate my home

Posted 13 December 2011 - 08:54 AM

Sounds like a good seperation of the applications. My first steps will be to basically brainstorm what can and what cant be automated/get information from(would be very neat with like a sensor panel).

Got ideas of what could be automated and ideas on how?

lights, some electrical curtains(pulled up/down either by command or sensor from sunlight exposure), tv, sound, vacuum robot(if I would have been fortunate enough to own one).
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#6 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Ideas to automate my home

Posted 13 December 2011 - 08:54 AM

Quote

Ok, so the other day I said to myself, "I want an apartment that I can control in a non-physical way". I already have a friend who have put in these "triggers" behind the electrical switches and hooked that up to his computer so he can, using his phone, set the lights to "movie" mode etc. Sure that sounds great but, "who wants to use a remote?" I thought to myself. Then I remembered speech recognition and actually having a computer that you speak to, and get audial and visual respons. So do you guys have ideas on hwo to automate my home. The list so far:

Was he using something like the X10 bits?
http://www.x10.com/


Quote

Having microphones and hooking that up to an application that can:
Anser to commands example "Computer", "light", "movie" and it will set the appropriate ligtning as well as use the stereo system to say something like "Movie ligtning set".

Sure.. with some arduino boards you clip in mics and processing for various bits.. or heck just have it collect the audio, ship it to a server, and have it provide responses to the device.
http://www.sparkfun.com/index/index


Quote

Having a webcam facing the entrence with a face-recognition software

Costly for the software processing.. but doable.

Quote

(preferably hooked up to facebook or the google Picasa). It could then, using the library of people, greet people by their name in a fun Microsoft Sam voice(or whatever the .net speech-synthesis use).

I would think you would want to just set that up for the first time folks come in. Why complicate things by hooking to facebook... unless you want to crawl facebook for embarrassing things.

Quote

Controlling the HTPC(xbmc) via sound as well, like "Computer", "Movie", "Pause"

You would need to hook into the HTPC's info with some code.. look for an SDK or something.. but then - drop in some arduino for the hardware and you are mostly there.

Quote

Control the curtains, so "Computer curtains sleep" will pull them down so it goes dark when you want to sleep!

Similar plan as above.

Quote

A control panel/touch screen with visual information gathered like temperature in all the rooms/outside, and chanings songs on spotify.

A cheap tablet would do the same.

Quote

So what do you guys think, doable? I probably won't realise this into something actually working, but I think it is a fun topic. If you yourself have done something similiar please show and tell!

Yes.. but at the level of obsession. I have seen fancy house set ups that have these similar things, but that's all professional... your system will be a hodgepodge of wires, cranks, jets of steam, and whirley mc dohickies.
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#7 Todilo  Icon User is offline

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Re: Ideas to automate my home

Posted 13 December 2011 - 11:10 AM

View Postmodi123_1, on 13 December 2011 - 08:54 AM, said:

Quote

Ok, so the other day I said to myself, "I want an apartment that I can control in a non-physical way". I already have a friend who have put in these "triggers" behind the electrical switches and hooked that up to his computer so he can, using his phone, set the lights to "movie" mode etc. Sure that sounds great but, "who wants to use a remote?" I thought to myself. Then I remembered speech recognition and actually having a computer that you speak to, and get audial and visual respons. So do you guys have ideas on hwo to automate my home. The list so far:

Was he using something like the X10 bits?
http://www.x10.com/

Don't know, but I will check. Looks cool and also possible to integrate with arduino

Quote

Sure.. with some arduino boards you clip in mics and processing for various bits.. or heck just have it collect the audio, ship it to a server, and have it provide responses to the device.
http://www.sparkfun.com/index/index

That sounds great. Never tried the arduino board as I am not really a hardware guy(yet) but might check it out. Had a look at it for a NFC project but went in another direction, perhaps I should learn this handy "tool"



Quote

(preferably hooked up to facebook or the google Picasa). It could then, using the library of people, greet people by their name in a fun Microsoft Sam voice(or whatever the .net speech-synthesis use).

I would think you would want to just set that up for the first time folks come in. Why complicate things by hooking to facebook... unless you want to crawl facebook for embarrassing things.[/quote]

I meant that I perhaps could use a pre-existing library for people. Since in facebook a lot of people tag the images, so that could be used as a base for the image-recognition software(Picasa uses similiar tag system where you can tag people and then it will help you with suggestions). Migt be a bit overkill though, should be some library for face-recognition.

Quote

Quote

Controlling the HTPC(xbmc) via sound as well, like "Computer", "Movie", "Pause"

You would need to hook into the HTPC's info with some code.. look for an SDK or something.. but then - drop in some arduino for the hardware and you are mostly there.

Xbmc uses a python-plugin-system. Should be that difficult to create some sort of python-listener which then has access to commands such as pause, play etc.

Quote

Quote

Control the curtains, so "Computer curtains sleep" will pull them down so it goes dark when you want to sleep!

Similar plan as above.

Yeah I guess arduino would be best here, hooked to something that can pull it up/down(the curtain) and if I want to go extreme it could also be hooked to a sunlight-sensor which could pull it down when the heat is too high.

Quote

Quote

A control panel/touch screen with visual information gathered like temperature in all the rooms/outside, and chanings songs on spotify.

A cheap tablet would do the same.

Agreed, tablet would do the work, and for not that much $$$

Quote

So what do you guys think, doable? I probably won't realise this into something actually working, but I think it is a fun topic. If you yourself have done something similiar please show and tell!

Yes.. but at the level of obsession. I have seen fancy house set ups that have these similar things, but that's all professional... your system will be a hodgepodge of wires, cranks, jets of steam, and whirley mc dohickies.
[/quote]

Hiding all the cables would as you say, be a mess. For enclosing the arduinos I could use a 3d printer and create some custom shells. Pretty cheap and pretty simple. As stated before it is probably not something I will go through with, but brainstorming and planning is fun so who knows. Might also use some x10 products and integrate them into the solution.

As mentioned above, both audial and touch-screen based control(android) would probably be the best to aim for. I think it is an interesting field that will continue to grow in the future, we are lazy by nature :).
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#8 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Ideas to automate my home

Posted 13 December 2011 - 11:17 AM

Oh, and let's not forget the Fez Panda II boards that run on the .NET microframework (if you are inclined to using .NET)... most arduino parts can work with the FezPandaIIs, but some dont'.

http://www.ghielectr...og/product/256/
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#9 Todilo  Icon User is offline

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Re: Ideas to automate my home

Posted 13 December 2011 - 12:06 PM

He was using "tellstick", "eventghost".

The FEZ Panda II looks very promising since well, I like .net and c#. Hows the documentation and overall support on the net. I mean there is even a book on home automation with the arduino like this. Do you know any getting started resources? I am good at programming, not so good at electronics but would love to learn if there are good resources available for newbies like me. I know I won't be building a fully automated house as my first project but would be nice to try it out, who knows I might pick it up quickly.
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Re: Ideas to automate my home

Posted 13 December 2011 - 12:12 PM

Yeah.. that link has a tab called 'downloads' and 'support'... it rocks your world.
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#11 Todilo  Icon User is offline

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Re: Ideas to automate my home

Posted 13 December 2011 - 12:16 PM

Lol, I actually didnt see that, was too focused on the specs. Perhaps something like this
http://www.ghielectr...log/product/265 to get started(and yes use the documentation provided :D)
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Re: Ideas to automate my home

Posted 13 December 2011 - 12:19 PM

If you want fun with it that would be a place to start... for sure!
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#13 Todilo  Icon User is offline

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Re: Ideas to automate my home

Posted 13 December 2011 - 12:44 PM

Do you have any ideas for some kind of face-recognition api? I was thinking a webcam that "wakes up" when the door is opened/movement. Send the pictures(like 1 every second depending on how intensive the algorithm is) to the analyzing software > recognise face from library > give response if already exists in library.

face.com looks promising, even has facebook integration so I can retrieve an existing database from there. Perhaps it works :D

This post has been edited by Todilo: 13 December 2011 - 12:58 PM

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#14 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is online

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Re: Ideas to automate my home

Posted 13 December 2011 - 01:00 PM

Stop.

This is not going to be a project that you just grab existing components like buttons and textboxes and throw it together.

This thread started as: IS this doable? Not "Tell me how to do it."

It is not an easy task by any means. Depending on your coding experience you can probably expect this to take a year to put together as you learn and write about each of the various parts you want.
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#15 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is online

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Re: Ideas to automate my home

Posted 13 December 2011 - 01:05 PM

Long before you worry about face recognition you need to work on the basics. Like how to make two programs communicate? How to activate a switch or motor.

Input interface are the last thing to worry about.

For now just worry about how to affect real world things.
Like if you press a button on a form you can make a light turn off and on.
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