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Home Automation Kit Includes Arduino, RasPi Dev Boards

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the can-you-make-it-feed-my-cat dept.

Hardware Hacking 49

DeviceGuru writes "WigWag has developed a home automation kit that combines a Linux-based 6LoWPAN router with sensor units running the open-source Contiki IoT (Internet of Things) OS. Users can add ZigBee, Bluetooth, and other modules to expand the home network, and the WigWam development kit provides shield development boards for use with Arduino and Raspberry Pi SBCs. Users control the devices with a smartphone app (initially Android-based) and associated WigWag cloud service, which lets the devices remotely respond to sensor-based events such as motion detection, rain, noise, etc. Developers can create rules-based scripts for controlling devices using WigWag's open-source Javascript-based DeviceJS development environment. WigWag used a Kickstarter page to fund production and has already tripled its goal."

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Bill Gates: The Road Ahead (0, Troll)

Full of Dreams (2990015) | about a year ago | (#44332829)

Back in the 90's, as a kid, I read Bill Gates: The Road Ahead book where in a few chapters he talked about all these cool home automation kits and machines he had dreamt about and actually built a few in his house. It seemed pretty cool at the time. According to Wikipedia, his house is highly automated:

Guests wear pins that automatically adjust temperature, music, and lighting based on guest's preferences upon entering a room.

http://money.usnews.com/money/business-economy/articles/1997/11/23/xanadu-20 [usnews.com] (from 1997)

The technology is at times subtle, but always present. As you move about the house, your choice of art appears on high-definition television monitors. Music, lighting, and climate settings all tag along, too. A small pin you wear lets the system know who and where you are. You can go to a computer terminal to pick out a movie or television program. It will follow you to the nearest screen. Only the phone nearest you will ring, assuming you've told the computer you're taking calls at all.

Gates himself first fueled the fires of curiosity about his house. He wrote a chapter about it in his bestselling book, The Road Ahead. The book came with a CD-ROM featuring a "virtual tour" of the private house. Book and CD-ROM buyers were so interested in the building he bragged about that they want to know even more about it. That's why U.S. News studied house plans and pestered Gates's representatives to find out more than he revealed at the time the book went to press.

Bill Gates built the dream automated house alraedy in the 90's. What a great man. You should buy the book and read about it, it's a great glimpse at the idea of automated homes. And rest of the book is interesting read about the early ideas of the future of computing.

The Freeway Behind (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44333007)

"What a great man"

That first hit of crack is usually free, huh?

" You should buy the book and read about it"

I would add it to my compost pile - it would serve me better in this way.

"He wrote a chapter about it in his bestselling book, The Road Ahead."

Are you his media contact? Wow - you couldn't get a better literary rim job on craigslist!

I'd rather read a book from someone who lives humbly and serves humbly.

Re:The Freeway Behind (0)

Full of Dreams (2990015) | about a year ago | (#44333081)

I'd rather read a book from someone who lives humbly and serves humbly.

Donating billions of dollars to various charities is not humble?

Re:The Freeway Behind (5, Interesting)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#44333175)

I'd rather read a book from someone who lives humbly and serves humbly.

Donating billions of dollars to various charities is not humble?

That's right. Humility has nothing to do with how much money you give away. That's philanthropy.

One could even say that donating billions of dollars to specific charities shows a lack of humility, and a desire to control how things are done by others. While I would consider Bill Gates as MUCH more humble than the late Steve Jobs, I think you'll find Steve Wozniak has them both beat by many miles. Once he made it big, he immediately started seeing how he could use that money to make everyone's life better, even if there was no benefit for himself (financially, politically or in any other way other than "it feels good to help").

Re:The Freeway Behind (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44333205)

1
        "Be careful not to do your `acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2
        "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
3
        But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4
        so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
        Matthew 6:1-4

Re:The Freeway Behind (0)

Full of Dreams (2990015) | about a year ago | (#44333247)

Yes, what we need now is quotes from the fucking bible.

Re:The Freeway Behind (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44335931)

As an atheist, I like the concept once you remove the god bits.

Re: The Freeway Behind (1)

mimecine (1090831) | about a year ago | (#44350473)

As an agnostic I pick and choose. No need to believe in god or the bible to understand that most religions have a pretty well-thought moral framework that is easily communicable. It would take me a long time to formulate that thought in words as digestable as Mark X:X-X.

Re:The Freeway Behind (1)

Traksius Egas (12395) | about a year ago | (#44333307)

And the Lord sayeth "Run around naked!"
Matthew 6:28

P.S. Rubbish!

Re:The Freeway Behind (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44335055)

Also, don't eat any shrimp and beat the shit out of your wives.

Re:The Freeway Behind (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44333281)

Wrong! He is giving money to his own foundation?. The same foundation that is actually nothing more than a non-profit lobbying group operating in third world countries. It's primary function is to bribe and coerce foreign governments into not buying cheaper pharmaceuticals and products.

His actions have resulted in more lives lost than if he hadn't done anything.

Re:The Freeway Behind (1)

mspohr (589790) | about a year ago | (#44336203)

Bill Gates is generous with his wealth. He finally figured out that he cannot possibly spend it all on himself so established the "Gates" foundation to give it away.
I would argue that realizing the inevitable and going for maximum publicity for yourself is not humble by any definition.

Re:The Freeway Behind (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#44345543)

Maybe he understands it's the best cover when molding a mind set and slowly taking over control of the world.

Re:Bill Gates: The Road Ahead (0)

rsborg (111459) | about a year ago | (#44333059)

Guests wear pins that automatically adjust temperature, music, and lighting based on guest's preferences upon entering a room.

Excuse me, but that's just ridiculous and gaudy. Clearly a gimmick intended to impress the bigwigs he hosts. Home automation to me means optimizing home features to improve comfort. Having a guests music follow them around the house is just creepy.

e.g.: automatic blinds/shutters that, combined with lighting automation can vary the rooms lighting intensity and color temperature either based on a heuristic (ie, maximal temperature color possible up to a given value) or mood preference.

e.g.,redux: automatic windows and whole house fan integrated with heating and air conditioning and humidifiers to guarantee overall and local temperature settings with an eye to maximizing comfort by adjusting proper appropriate flow of warm/cold/fresh air. Also let me switch between them with a simple control as opposed to me walking around the house opening windows (or forgetting to close them) so I can get fresh air.

Re:Bill Gates: The Road Ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44333719)

Not enough microsoft posts today or this week so BG has to be slipped into the comments?

Disgusting.

The Wolowitz Robotic Hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44332903)

Nurse: *Lifts up towel* What is this?
Howard: It's a robot arm.
Nurse: Where's the rest of the robot?
Howard: I only built the arm.
Nurse: Because that's all you needed, right?

Wolowitz: *After the robot hand lets go* Winnie the Pooh is out of the honey tree!

Complete the buzzword trifecta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44333083)

Can I pay for it in bitcoins?

Re:Complete the buzzword trifecta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44333473)

Kit to allow NSA into your house thru the clouds

Re:Complete the buzzword trifecta (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#44335845)

Why pay at all? Make it at home on your 3D printer.

More fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44333113)

Gimmicky buzzword marketing attempt to do the same old thing... wrongly.

This would end up costing more than old hardwired home automation systems from 20 years ago.
It also requires an internet/cloud connection for the 'App' to work.

Nice try though, it should suit the iPhone market, people who want plug and play, dont know what an IP address is and dont mind paying far too much for it.

yet another g'damn cloud service (3, Interesting)

gclef (96311) | about a year ago | (#44333213)

While I find the idea interesting, I'm annoyed at the fact that it's useless without WigWam's cloud service. I've been burned too many times already, so I'm not particularly willing to build a complex home automation setup just to have the whole thing turned to a set of bricks because WigWam got bought by Yahoo (who seem to shut down every startup they buy), or just ran out of money.

Re:yet another g'damn cloud service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44333309)

This.

Re:yet another g'damn cloud service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44333319)

Please someone (possibly gclef) tell me how much of this is workable without the cloud. I too am unwilling to enter into a NON-standalone
home automation system...

Re:yet another g'damn cloud service (1)

russelmc (2991489) | about a year ago | (#44342355)

Please someone (possibly gclef) tell me how much of this is workable without the cloud. I too am unwilling to enter into a NON-standalone home automation system...

Here is what I found in the comment section of the KS: Matthew's Question: "@WigWag In response to my question about using WigWag as a burglar alarm you mentioned that I would need to ensure my Internet connection stayed up. Does this mean that the WigWag Cloud is essential for not just the configuration but also the operation of a WigWag deployment? In a very simple setup might be WigWag PIRs triggering a relay in one of the Sensor when no Presence Tag is there. The relay could then be connected to a standard burglar alarm bell/siren box. I thought from what I had read that such a rule would execute on the WigWag Relay with no need of the WigWag Cloud. Am I wrong in this?" Wigwag's Answer: "@Matthew You need Internet connectivity when you first setup WigWag, and then you would need it if you wanted your setup to contact you across the Internet. However, the rules you create will work even if the Internet is down. You are correct, a rule just triggering a local alarm / siren box would work with no Internet connection running / or connection to WigWag Cloud." So to answer your question it appears if you don't care about cloud features like having your lights flash red if your favorite sports team is losing, Then you can use the system as a standalone after your initial setup.

Re:yet another g'damn cloud service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44333325)

If you go to the effort to make your home automation complex, you could just reverse engineer their communication and set up your own server. All of the components appear to be open sourced, I doubt they would go to the effort to obfuscate it. Your comment on Yahoo really ties it together though, I LOLed.

Re:yet another g'damn cloud service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44335135)

They claim this in their FAQ:

"Below for Advanced Users, Developers and Makers:

Advanced users have the option of running DeviceJS 'raw'... meaning with out WigWag cloud support at all. This means an Internet connection would not be required as long as services are local. However, the WigWag app and web site will not work. This option may be good for some makers and developers making very specialized systems."

whatever this means... there is also http://devicejs.org

Re:yet another g'damn cloud service (2)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#44333389)

Home automation costs are 99% in sensors and controlled equipment (switches, motors, annunciators, etc.) The cost of the control system is the remaining 1%. You would be better off just buying the best one on the market. Homeseer is pretty good, and it costs about $250. That's the cost of about 5 to 7 wall switches. There is no need to add failure points into the system by using a cloud. HS3 runs also on Linux, by the way.

Re:yet another g'damn cloud service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44335465)

Re:yet another g'damn cloud service (1)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#44335557)

It's a matter of balance between complexity (which is your personal time) and price (which is your own money.) The linked project, I think, goes a bit too far in trying to do demod in an audio path of a PC. The problem is that once you go DIY you are stuck forever maintaining it because there is nobody else who could help. I use Insteon, and if a switch fails (a few did) I just replace them. I still invest my time in the system (it is HS based,) but I'm investing it on a level where my time is best spent - such as on programming what I want out of it, and on adding (developing) new devices. There is very little gain in redoing the work that other people did many times over, unless you are just learning. Besides, this way of doing RF modulation is probably not going to pass FCC compatibility checks; while you are not likely to be busted, unless someone complains, this is a dead end.

Re:yet another g'damn cloud service (2)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | about a year ago | (#44336813)

I do not really see WigWam as being a product built to compete with current off the shelf products. As evidenced by their release of the Arduino and RasPi Dev kits, It is really geared for tinkerers interested in the engineering of automation systems not just the building of a single automated home. They are providing a system with two completely open operating systems, hackable hardware, and the scalability and versatility of IP. This allows you to develop completely unique automated systems that would be impossible with existing systems. Not only can you the types of sensors and actuators in the system, but you can actually hack down to the level of changing things like radio duty cycling, routing protocols, and device sleep cycles. You cannot do this with devices like the Digi Xbee products and certainly not with systems like Z-wave or insteon.

Re:yet another g'damn cloud service (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44333425)

>>>>>
Below for Advanced Users, Developers and Makers:

Advanced users have the option of running DeviceJS 'raw'... meaning with out WigWag cloud support at all. This means an Internet connection would not be required as long as services are local. However, the WigWag app and web site will not work. This option may be good for some makers and developers making very specialized systems.

I guess it takes someone really interested to read the faq where this question is directly addressed...

Re:yet another g'damn cloud service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44334667)

.. making very specialized systems. I guess it takes someone really interested to read the faq where this question is directly addressed...

Specialized systems?! Come on, almost all people interested enough in home automation to do it are also not going to want to be dependent on an obviously up-selling/unsolicited-marketing driven cloud-based "solution". Particularly with the number of bad-faith cloud actors (e.g. the NSA and their minions) that have been discovered recently.

These transparent attempts to productivize people are becoming increasingly irritating.

Re:yet another g'damn cloud service (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44337495)

"Advanced users have the option of running DeviceJS 'raw'... meaning with out WigWag cloud support at all."

But this brings up another question: who wants to use DeviceJS at all?

Who in their right minds builds an end-user scripting system around JavaScript? How WEIRD. JavaScript was written by techies, for techies, for a specific problem domain. It is about the worst choice imaginable for a home-user programming system.

Re:yet another g'damn cloud service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44338199)

Yes - Javascript is clearly not working.

That must be why the node.js platform is the fastest growing web server platform out there... And JavaScript was written by Netscape for web programmers - and JS is undoubtedly the most widely used scripting language by non-techies, because it's used on everything on the web.

Are you a javascript hater :) it's ok.. you can still use Lua to code new levels in you favorite video game.

Re:yet another g'damn cloud service (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44337471)

"I'm annoyed at the fact that it's useless without WigWam's cloud service."

I'm not just annoyed... I'm not even remotely interested in buying. Too many "What If" scenarios.

What if somebody sniffed your control commands? Maybe they know you're not home and can safely burglarize the place.

Or what if the company is sold to someone who is less than honest? THEY can tell a lot about your activities from your home automation signalling.

What if your internet goes out? What if...?

Why anybody would want to tie this to a cloud service is beyond me. I see a "cloud burst" coming, in which everybody suddenly gets disillusioned with all this USELESS reliance on cloud services. (Not that they're all useless... but a great many of them, maybe even the majority, serve no real purpose for the end-user. But they add complication and vulnerabilities, in both operation and security.)

I've seen this before! (1)

schappim (656944) | about a year ago | (#44333361)

It looks pretty similar to the Ninja Block ninjablocks.com and Smart Things platforms (both of which have expansion boards for Arduino / Pi).

Re:I've seen this before! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44338353)

ninjablocks looks pretty complicated - i'm a developer and after surfing around on it I still don't understand how you write an app. Is anyone here using it?

Nope (2)

hklingon (109185) | about a year ago | (#44333409)

Thanks, but no thanks. Honeywell (and others) have put a lot of R&D and solid engineering into their sensors (door, window, motion, glass-break, running water, etc) and there are already "convenient" standards like z-wave for home automation.
Honeywell systems like the L5100 are dead easy install, and very easy.
http://www.security.honeywell.com/hsc/products/control/wi/ly/329673.html [honeywell.com]

BUT they suffer from this cloud service business. Ulgh? No. Cloud functionality is fine, but not when used for lock in. The honeywell system has a great mobile phone app? But You Must Subscribe to their service at $10-$20/mo. No thanks.

What I would fund on kickstarter would be some kind of open interface or open firmware for these. Ideally the low level stuff we leave alone, because it works well, and just dress up the front-end. It needs to be open source.

No need to reinvent the wheel with modules and sensors at this stage. That comes later so we can have free hardware, also.

Anyone know of any open firmware replacements for anything like the L5100?

what about x10? (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | about a year ago | (#44333443)

I have already invested $100s in X10 home automation modules around my house. Back in the day, you could control them with a computer -- but the controller was serial-port based, and some asshole decided to stop putting serial ports into computers. (This also killed my IRMan infrared receiver that I used with Girder to use a remote control to operate my computer. Said $150 aftermarket remote now gathering dust.) So like... Would this do those? :)

Re:what about x10? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44333875)

You can still purchase serial port expansions to motherboards. Another alternative is to try some of the usb->serial adapters.

Re:what about x10? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44334377)

Go on ebay and buy a terminal server. You can get a 48 port one for about $50 (Avocent for instance). Less ports for slightly less money.

These have serial ports with RJ45 physical connectors. Then spend $0.60 each for modular adapters at monoprice to convert from RJ45 to the DB9 you need for typical serial devices (like the CM11 x10 adapter).

Then you can access the serial ports on the terminal server through IP.

Re:what about x10? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44335119)

It look like the WigWag Relay has an RS-232 port, and they claim X-10 support...

Re:what about x10? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44335507)

So you spent $100s on X10 modules, but can't spend $10 on a serial card for your PC? I use one for my cm11a-based X10 kit.

Re:what about x10? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44336859)

I control a number of x10 modules from a raspberry pi using nothing more than a USB-to-serial adapter, the firecracker x10 interface, bottlerocket, and a crontab. The USB adapter was stupidly simple under Linux... Plug it in and watch dmesg.

Arduino also has an x10 library that can be used with a few particular interfaces via serial pins. The library is pretty well documented.

You might need to figure out something for interfacing it to the project mentioned here if you want all the macros and cloudiness, but both Pi and Arduino both support x10 more or less out of the box, with the appropriate hardware, none of which costs more than $20-30.

Re:what about x10? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44338227)

the last time stamp on the bottlerocket code was 1999... Is that right?

If so - that stuff is way too old dude. 13 years ago.

Not this old chestnut again please (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44333967)

I am very grateful for the continually decreasing frequency of stories featuring the oh-gosh-wow futurist notions of vitual reality (wear some stupid helmet or glasses and you can see a 3D representation of whatever the current state of the art of graphics cards can generate for the purpose of....umm something or other) and artificial intelligence (algorithms that simulate or analyse behaviour are NOT intelligent, they are clever and programmed and do nothing more than follow the rules given).

But the idea that I am going to pay plenty of cash to fix up my home with internet connected switches to do amazing things like switch on the lights before I arrive back from work in the Winter (thus saving me the monumental effort of flicking a few light switches) or turning on the oven so I can save 5 minutes waiting for it to warm up before I put the pizza in, and am then going to spend my free time writing javascript to get it all working..... no, this is a solution in search of a problem.

I dream of home automation that works (2)

MrLogic17 (233498) | about a year ago | (#44335593)

I like the idea of home automation, but ya, this ain't it. Most solutions I see are either ancient & unreliable, or a complex solution looking for a problem.

What I want is a bunch of physical components built like an iPhone (clean, simple, just works), connected to a small, smart controller. Like a Raspberry Pi running Scratch. Brains to the system that I don't have to invest days into. Anything requiring "cloud" or subscription is right out.

Life is short. I have a ton of things I want to do, and don't have time to do. Home automation's got to have a big bang for the buck before I'm jumping in. Save me a ton of time, or save me a bunch of money - every day.

Types of things that I can't believe aren't dead-simple to plug into a standard home automation system:
-I want a key fob that unlocks my door. (Kevo would be awsome, but it doesn't exist yet) Have that device notify the main system. Let me then script a "wake up the house" list.
-I want a "good night" button by my night stand. Turn off all lights, lock all doors, turn off all TV's, radios, etc. Close the garage door. If I have an alarm system, turn that on. If a door or window is open, tell me.
-I want a super easy, super reliable system to open upstairs windows if the temp outside is better than inside. (Outside is cooler in the summer, outside is warmer in the winter.) Said system should be aware of thunderstorms, or be down-pour proof.
-Likewise, super easy, super reliable system to controll window shades using the same criteria.
-When I'm away from home, text me a photo of anyone at the front door. (UPS delivery, etc). But only when the house is in "I'm gone" mode.
-Interface should be super simple, for spouse acceptance factor, and to handle house-sitters. Ability to turn the "smart house" into a "dumb house" with a lightswitch. Sure, I want the GIU. The wife & kids will need a single button or light switch to do the basics.

Re:I dream of home automation that works (1)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | about a year ago | (#44336921)

I don't think this "requires" the cloud. It is offered as a service, but can be run locally. I do think that the cloud will eventually be necessary to really make home automation appealing to the masses. People will need a system where they by their blender, scan the nfc tag or qr code, and immediately get that registered in the cloud system. I do not think that the brains for the day to day automation needs to be in the cloud, but the clould definitely has a role in helping automate parts of peoples lives.

Comment from author of QW Home Automation (2)

weiqj (870224) | about a year ago | (#44339925)

I built the QW Home Automation system. http://qwhomeautomation.com/ [qwhomeautomation.com] The system is proprietary but completely free. Currently it supports Insteon devices only. My approach is to solve fundamental problems and build a solid infrastructure and make steady progresses. You can check out the status of my current release on my website. The documentation is pretty comprehensive. In this month, a new version will be released to only allow encrypted communication. The SSL session will be used primarily for commissioning, to exchange a per user based AES 256 key as shared secret. An AES-GCM based encryption will be used by android client for better efficiency. Because SSL is blocked by some regimes such as China, my AES based session can get around it. Lua jit support will be added in August. By then the system will have pretty advanced architecture. The a Zigbee coordinator will be added, that will feature up to over 6,5000 devices in network, each with unique random APS level link key for true end to end encryption. If you know what I'm talking about you should nobody has done it yet. As a technologist I am pissed by the fact that in this world nothing works. I don't give a shit about those web 2.0 my ass or cloud computing or countless buzz words while their systems still suffering blocking gethostbyname system API that occasionally freezes randomly because of it. I am building a system that every single thread of mine is deterministic and under control at any giving time.
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