Home automation, sometimes referred to as domotics, includes the automation and control of different electronic systems in the house, for examples:
Remote-controlling different devices in the house require some sort of connectivity, for example, Wifi, Bluetooth and more.
Home devices controlled over the internet, form a vital element of what is referred to as the Internet of Things.
Home automation systems consist of sensors and switches connected to a central hub or gateway. It is then paired with a user interface that can be accessed using mobile phone software, web interface or even a tablet.
The Internet of Things is speedily changing the way we live as well as how we work.
Having your home fitted with devices that are connected can make your life more convenient and comfortable. Try to imagine that you are leaving your office on a hot day. Instead of getting home, turning on the air conditioner and waiting till the house cools down, you can turn it on directly from your smartphone, when you’re already on the way. You can also turn it off from your phone in case you forgot to. This can save you money on electricity but it can also prevent hazardous situations when you forget to turn off appliances that may cause serious damage such as stoves and heaters.
Another form of home automation is voice assistance: take for instance a situation when you’re busy in the kitchen preparing dinner and want to check out the headlines, you can simply ask Alexa, a voice assistant powered by Amazon, to read for you as you cook.
There is so much that smart home systems can help you do. Smart homes are going to change our daily activities in our domestic environment and it is estimated that by 2020, 193 million smart appliances will be shipped to the United States alone.
These products will help you to reduce as well as conserve the cost of energy and drastically reduce your bills.
There are thousands of home automation vendors that install these types of systems for you and it is predicted that the automation market worth by 2020 will be around $12.81 billion. However, what we are going to focus on in this post is how to put together your own home automation devices. There are a number of reasons why you should consider putting together these systems as opposed to buying them:
home automation systems can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Like in many other fields, if you’re working on a low budget and can’t afford high-end products, it is usually better to buy the necessary components and make it yourself. It’s a little bit like eating out - if you don’t want to go to a fancy restaurant, it is usually more beneficial (and tasty) to buy the ingredients and make your own delicious meal than eating at an average restaurant or take-out place.
when you make your own builds, you can adjust and customize them to do exactly what you want, no more no less. It is also easy to replace parts that wear out or break and add new components if you want to add new functionalities to the system. When you’re working with your own build you can just make these modifications yourself and it usually doesn’t require you to replace the entire system which, in some cases, is what happens when problems start occurring in ready-made systems because they cannot be taken apart properly.
Another great advantage of building your own home automation system is the option of connecting all the devices you choose to work on into one dashboard or platform. This way you don’t have multiple apps running on your phone and monitoring or controlling different systems.
Designing and building stuff on your own can give you a great sense of accomplishment and is also lots of fun. And that’s about it :)
Hopefully, we’ve given you enough reasons to start your own home automation project. In this next section we’ll show you some quick and easy circuit examples that you can make with circuito.io:
Watering your lawn or garden on a daily basis requires precision and dedication. There are many automated irrigation systems that you can buy off-the-shelf but you may find that these systems have functions that are not necessary for your needs or may not have functions that you do need.
This simple circuit is great for a basic home garden or for watering your lawn. Click here to see the build guide, or click the image below.
The automated pet feeder is a great solution for you pet owners, that are away from home for many hours, leaving your pets to roam through the house by themselves. This build integrates an Arduino with ESP8266 for remote control through your wireless connection at home. Over the internet, you can control when your pet eats and how much they eat. The pet feeder is equipped with a PIR sensor for movement detection and a servo motor for opening and closing the dispenser. For those of you who want a more advanced build, you may want to integrate a webcam to be able to see what your dogs are doing while you're not around.
Click here to see full instructions for this circuit build or click the image below.
A home weather station can be a great educational project to make with your kids, to teach them how different environmental parameters are measured:
Using the NodeMCU, with its built-in Wifi module, you can present all this data on your mobile or even send it to a local weather collection website.
To get the full instructions for this build, click here or on the image below
Buying and installing a home security system can reach hundreds to thousands of dollars. Therefore, it is no surprise that there are many homeowners and renters that decide not to install them. However, these systems can often prove very effective and useful, if they are planned and installed correctly. This home security system circuit uses an ultrasonic sensor to detect movement and is connected to a relay and speaker, that go off when triggered. The system is connected to the home Wifi network, and the notification of your choice can be sent directly to your mobile phone so you can monitor your house even when you're away. The circuit is inexpensive and reliable, and there is really no need to spend so much money on buying a ready-made system. Read all the details by clicking here, or click the image below.
We've all experienced that moment of anxiety when realizing that we might have kept our stove or gas on and left the house. It's not a pleasant feeling. Smoke and gas sensors are an affordable and simple solution for exactly these situations. These small components can sense high concentrations of gas and smoke in the air, and when paired with an IoT device such as the ESP8266, they can give you real-time alerts directly to your mobile. Check out the circuit plan here, or click on the image below.
If you’re a dog owner, you’ve probably experienced a situation in which you let your dog run off for a moment without a leash and then went looking for them for hours. The smart dog collar helps you monitor different behaviors of your dog and includes a built-in GPS so you can locate where your 4 legged friends wandered off to.
depending on where you live and which season it is, you probably use different means and devices to either cool or heat your house. In the case of air conditioning, the big benefit of connecting it to your smart home system is that it can save you lots of money on your electric bill. In the case of heaters, especially if they are gas or fuel powered, getting alerts to your mobile device can be a matter of safety. And if you have a solar powered system, you can monitor the amount of electricity that the panels can provide and know when you need to use alternative applications.
If you are tired of manually monitoring different systems in your home, or just feel like you want to upgrade your living situation, it’s time you upgraded yourself to a smart home. As you can see in the examples above, automating different parts of your house doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. Using simple electronic components you can make great devices for your home or garden, with minimal effort. Automating your home will not only make your life comfortable but will also reduce your bills and increase your safety.