The Connected Home Project


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It’s new year and time to get stuck into my big project for 2015 which is to experiment with technology that together form the ‘connected home’.
In simple terms, connected home tech consists of sensors that detect and measure various pieces of information in the home environment and devices that can take action where necessary to lower heating or energy costs, improve comfort, and offer automated protection.

The first stage of any ‘connected home’ project is gathering data, and teh second stage is to then allow device to read that data, build up a history, look for patterns and then forecast future trends. For example, maybe the heating should be turned down in a room not used during the day in order to save heating costs.

  1. A motion detector is set up to detect human presence (heat and movement),
  2. A small computer regularly reads the data (humans present? ‘Yes’ / ‘No’) and stores it in an archive along with a date and time stamp.
  3. The computer checks for patterns in the data – say, always ‘No’ between 9am and 5pm – and turns down the thermonstat from 9am, raising it again at 4:30pm so the room is warm for occupation at 5pm.

My starting ‘connected home’ project is to make available the data from a weather station system installed above the roof of our new home. I’m a big fan of the study of meteorology in any case, but our new home is very much open to the elements and has storm shutters that can be electronically raised or lowers to protect sea-facing windows from high winds and attendant airborne rocks and stones.
In this case I want to detect the wind gusting above a certain speed along with a trend of increasing average wind speeds. Once a threshold is reached, I want the system to sound a warning then lower the storm shutters automatically. Likewise once wind has abated to a resonable degree (gusts no longer peak at a certain speed and there is a clear downward trend on average speed) I would like the shutters raised again.

My next post describes how I’m getting started on this project through a mix of open source software and the Davis Vantage Vue weather station.