Automating your home with human-like senses

Over the years, we’ve seen a number of innovative projects using both an Arduino and Raspberry Pi. And, this latest convergence surely doesn’t disappoint! With the Internet of Things infiltrating nearly every facet of our life, Maker Eric Tsai recently decided to design a slick home automation platform that could do just about anything from both inside and outside of the house.

home automation


Rather than simply use the ‘arduino-Pi combination to automate things such as blinds or lights, the Maker elected to equip his home with a full range of wireless sensor nodes on everything (and everywhere) that needed monitoring. Think of it as equipping your home with human-like senses. These nodes relay the data to a wireless gateway and the Arduino Uno (ATmega328), which in turn sends the data to the Raspberry Pi. The board then uploads the collected data to the web where owners can monitor their homes from their smart phones.

“Using this setup, that boatload of cheap sensors can now be on the Internet. They can email you when things get too hot, too cold, too smoky, too gassy, or too bright. And your dog can email you by barking. You can also view the status of sensors on your Smartphone. These sensor nodes are wireless, so you’re not constrained by the location of Ethernet ports,” he writes.

home gateway


The entire concept first originated as a way to be notified immediately of when his dog barked; however, that quickly spread into an entire home, Arduino-powered project. Meanwhile, the open-source software OpenHAB makes it all available through browser or Smartphone.

home automation using mobile

Tsai programmed his DIY smart home to notify him in the event of any loud noises (such as a dog’s bark), when a washer-dryer cycle was complete, if a light was left on, if a pet ran away, if gas or smoke was smelt, if the temperature dipped below/above a preset value, if a water leak was detected, and if mail had arrived, among countless other functions.

home automation software

“With these sensors, everything from your dog to your washer and dryer can be part of the Internet of Things in a practical and useful way,” an electronic hamster writes.

home automation put together

“He combined several sensors into this wireless Uber Sensor node. This sensor is powered via USB adapter, but it communicates wirelessly to the gateway, so you can place this where ever it has access to a power outlet. And you don’t have to build the whole thing, you can pick and choose which sensors you actually want.”

As Hackaday notes, one area in particular worth mentioning is the Uber Sensor and the Washer-Dryer module. For the Uber Sensor, the Maker included everything possible into the Arduino, ranging from a sound sensor to determine when the cycle starts addends, a PIR presence sensor to decipher when a load is picked up sends noise levels, water detection to sense if there is a water leak or overflow, a light sensor to know when a light is left on, as well as a temperature sensor .

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