Home Automation for Disability

this has been a very messy few weeks, months even, but finally I have the perfect home-theater/workout-out .. living room. i can do my pulls and watch movies through the rainy months in great comfort (and no excuses not to exercise daily). great effort was required to get this false ceiling in place, but it was worth it. there are no more wires stapled, taped, or hidden in tracks on the ceiling, and there are now 150 reliable anchor points (t-nut) for any type of rigging i need to do. the final step in this renovation is of course to nerd it up..

tcp/ip lighting? or maybe the bluetooth version? currently these lights are simply wired to a dimmer switch I got from home depot. I used these ceramic bulb holders to keep everything in line with standard building code. there are many options for rgb lights, but I want to write my own, open source, software to create pre-set levels for watching films at different times of the day (as an example). another goal is to create moody effects as the time of the day changes, just like flux does for all my screens. so as night falls, the temperatures and levels of light all slowly track in with the different seasons and sun set times. if you work in a cave, staring at screens all day as i do, you’d quickly notice the difference in eye strain and sleeping patterns after starting to use flux.

this lighting scheme should be all around my apartment — something easy to achieve with an arduino I got from element 14


further, there are a few great tools out there to sense power line use and detect when people have left the apartment, or come home. turning on and off lights is something I don’t want to ever be bothered with, ever (or remembering to shut them off to save power or lifetime on expensive projector bulbs). it is about time that our homes just learn what settings are best depending on time, number of occupants, power draw on other appliances, etc.. for example, starting up my projector should be an event that tells the lights to dim, and when vlc has been closed, the lights and projector should just switch modes without me looking for the remote control. obvious stuff really, but it’s just never been done well on modestly priced homes and devices (see x10 and homeplug failures).

security is an issue too.. i also want my robot to also have the ability to turn on lights if he needs to see better if woken up late at night! so, this will be only be the first of many in my home automation efforts. next on my list is to be rid of door locks and keys for the entry ways. i have always thought of doing this with a huge servo, a battery and a radio.. but, there are products that do a better job and for less money than what I’d build from scratch.