Home automation systems have been around from 1975 when the company Pico Electronics created the X10 standard. This open industry standard used the house’s power lines to send encoded data and control various appliances. This protocol is considered the oldest standard used for home automation (Khusvinder et al., 2009).Progression of technology has enabled many fields to grow and expand rapidly. Home automation is becoming more popular in areas such as medical care, energy efficiency and human interaction. Advancements in wireless digital networks have provided engineers with tools to create low power networks capable of completely interconnecting a domestic household. Connecting appliances together into a network formation allows other technologies to use physical sensing information and activity patterns to provide increased safety and satisfaction (Suh & Ko, 2008). Biometric data can be collected to enable an authorised doctor or a medical advisor to provide tele-health services (Khusvinder et al.,2009). Sensor data also help increase energy efficiency. To achieve that, house consumption is displayed to the user and at the same time the system autonomously regulates appliance’senergy consumption (Mouratidis et al., 2009).However, even though the technology is available, adoption by consumers is considered limited and slow (Khusvinder et al., 2009). The reasons behind limited adoption are, firstly complex and expensive architecture. Existing systems incorporate unnecessary high processing power units that increase the cost of the whole implementation. Secondly,installation of these systems is done in an intrusive manner. Physical wiring is required to some extent, usually because of the wireless equivalent high price. Lack of network interoperability is also an issue for home networks. Many households have a fair amount of wireless networks that are only used for a specific function. For every wireless protocol (WIFI, Bluetooth, GSM, etc) a different device usually exists. This results in many networks, many frequencies and therefore more interference. The networks have to be designed with allthese scenarios in mind and allow interoperability (Suh & Ko, 2008).
Technical details <----- Appendices (taken from the original paper)
The project's aim is to produce a device that can control various devices and in the meantime provide details about the consumption,outside pressure/hummidity/temp, if your cat has food/water,if the doors are locked etc. In order to make the device we first need a central panel where the user will be able to send commands to the end nodes and/or receive information. The main panel is a ABS plastic box containing all the wireless circuitry, touchscreen, audio playback etc.
The devices integrated:
- Key pinger (Send a command to make your key respond)
- RGB Lamps (Produce different colours depending on the Red- Green- Blue percentage)
- Wearable accelerometer (This device is worn by elderly or critical health individuals to detect any sudden moves that indicate a fall- loss of consciousness)
- Window sensors (Detect any unlocked/open windows/doors using reed switches)
- Outside Sensors (Measure outside conditions and send the data to the main console in the house.These sensors are solar powered)
An investigation was carried out to produce and integrate an automation system into adomestic household. The need for such a system is enormous especially in the areas of energy efficiency and assistive technologies. The system is solely based onto a wireless infrastructure that consists of low power nodes monitoring and controlling various home appliances. The design of the internetworked devices is kept simplistic yet robust. The collected sensor data are displayed back to the user to reinforce awareness and to study behaviouristic patterns.Biometric data also make the system capable of replacing carers for critical patients or elderly. Remote appliance control and monitoring improves lifestyle, comfort and safety.The final system was integrated and tested for a certain period of time. It had an impact on energy use, home security and sustainability. In this research paper the complete home automation system is demonstrated and its usefulness discussed.
The whole system was created from scratch.
The 16bit LCD was controlled by an ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller. The same uC had to take care all the peripherals. A cyclic-executive scheduler program was used while the peripherals had interrupts attached to them. The main panel had a 3.2" touchscreen interface, audio playback capabilities, 315Mhz wireless modules to communicate with the other nodes in the house,a battery with a charger IC and a bluetooth spp module to send all the data collected using a serial to PC terminal for data-logging.