The concept of a smart-house has been around for decades now, made popular through TV shows and films like Iron Man with JARVIS. The idea is simple, a house where all of your devices communicate with each other and adapt to what your individual needs are. This started as a sci-fi theme, but over the past 10 or so years has been developed into a marketable product. Smart houses can be custom built by companies, installed into existing houses by contractors, and even done yourself for a relatively low cost.
Smart houses are a favourite of people who are focussed on security, and ease of use. Remote camera systems are commonplace in many homes, made popular by ‘nanny cams’ but have steadily evolved into full coverage, remote IP CCTV. Being able to use your mobile phone or tablet to see if the back door is shut is fantastic peace of mind for anyone travelling for work, but the personalization goes leagues further than this.
Programmable machines have been common for many years now, from coffee machines to entertainment systems, all can be customized to some extent. But having a smart house takes this one further, what if they devices in your house turned off automatically when nobody was home? It adds up to save alot on bills, and minimizes risks like fire damage. Smart houses have many options, such as motion sensors for alarms being utilized for mood lighting. One of the greatest assets of a smart house is that all of the customizations can be done remotely.
Imagine setting up your house to brew a pot of coffee every morning. Now, this could be set up with the coffee machine itself normally using the timer setting, but what if you were out of the house that morning, or ill and didn’t want to leave bed? By accessing the control panel through your mobile device, you can stop the coffee being made and wasted within seconds. Using the remote detection settings from your smart house its possible to tell if the doors are locked, what time people came home, and even how many people are in the house.
Anybody considering installing a smart system into their existing home needs to work out their budget before anything else, then decide which aspects they would like the most. If money is no object then every option can be taken from a professional company, but money is always an obstacle.
A low budget smart-house can be made for only a few hundred or thousand pounds, using materials available online and resources available in open-source file sharing such as GitHub. The best way of doing this, by far, is using Raspberry Pi circuits. These circuits are available online for very cheap, and are entirely customizable mini-computers. Sensors, remote access, giu, and servers can all be purchased or downloaded online, and full creation kits are available through third party resellers.
Knowledge of coding or programming is not necessary for using Pi, as all the resources are free and custom made. Of course, an alarm system to integrate with will cost if the house does not have one, but most older systems can be attached to easily.
Timer switches controlled by Wi-Fi or Bluetooth are available for under £10 online, and can become an easy staple for smart houses without the newest appliances. Even central heating can be automated through simple heat sensors and dimmer modules, meaning your house can always remain at your perfect temperature. The customizations of smart houses are endless, and it can be a great project for anyone to get started on.