Maker Pat Hart uses a Raspberry Pi and a sonic screwdriver to control the lights, thermostat, and media center in his home, from hackaday.
[Pat] may not be the world’s most dangerous secret agent, but he does have Woodhouse taking care of his home. [Pat] has been upgrading his sonic screwdriver home automation system these past few months. Waking up to a chilly room led him to start hacking a thermostat interface. [Pat] found that his furnace only needed one 24VAC wire to be shorted to a common during a call for heat. [Pat] was lucky in that his thermostat was low voltage. While researching a thermostat hack, we made the painful discovery that our thermostat is 120VAC, so watch for that if you try this one at home.
[Pat] connected his thermostat leads to a relay controlled by a Raspberry Pi. The Pi would read a temperature sensor and set the relay accordingly. That was fine for a quick hack, but opening an SSH window to change the temperature isn’t the most convenient thing in the world. Enter an old Asus Transformer Prime tablet. [Pat] coded up an Android Holo style interface using AJAX along with HTML/CSS/jQuery and PHP. OpenMic+ constantly listens for voice commands, and fires them off to Tasker tasks as needed. He calls the results Woodhouse, and the interface is very slick. The tablet controls and graphs temperature, [Pat's] media center, and his lights. Woodhouse is even [Pat's] right hand man when getting ready for those intimate moments. We can’t wait to see what [Pat] comes up with next.
Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Adafruit has the largest and best selection of Raspberry Pi accessories and all the code & tutorials to get you up and running in no time!
Johnny Lee and his team at Google are developing Project Tango – a smart phone that, using sensors, can capture and build a 3D model of the physical world around you, via archdaily.
Project Tango brings a whole new dimension (the third one) to what we could potentially do with our phones: imagine creating a 30 second model to take away from a site visit, for example, or using augmented reality to show a design or an installation in situ, navigable in real time. Currently, Google is in the process of distributing 200 prototypes to app developers, who will hopefully help it realize this tremendous potential.
What if you could capture the dimensions of your home simply by walking around with your phone before you went furniture shopping? What if directions to a new location didn’t stop at the street address? What if you never again found yourself lost in a new building? What if the visually-impaired could navigate unassisted in unfamiliar indoor places? What if you could search for a product and see where the exact shelf is located in a super-store?
Imagine playing hide-and-seek in your house with your favorite game character, or transforming the hallways into a tree-lined path. Imagine competing against a friend for control over territories in your home with your own miniature army, or hiding secret virtual treasures in physical places around the world?
Fujitsu has developed this glove that can be used to control a head-mounted display. Via gizmag.
There is an increasing amount of wearable technology being used in the workplace due to the benefits it can provide and the ease with which it can be integrated into existing working practices. With this in mind, Fujitsu has announced a glove-style device for workplace use that provides touch and gesture-based functionality for site operations.
Recognizing that smartphones and tablets are not necessarily suitable for some hands-on situations, the glove has been developed to allow users to keep both hands available while avoiding the possibility of other devices getting damaged or dirty.
The device has a contact sensor on the finger, and near field communication (NFC) tag reader allows users to touch the NFC tag of an object with which they are working in order to digitally identify it, with inventory control or the display of relevant information being possible applications.
The device is able to recognize gestures thanks to a gyro sensor and an accelerometer, including up, down, left, right, rotate left and rotate right, which Fujitsu suggests could be used to control a head-mounted display. Users might, for example, be able to scroll through an instruction manual shown on a screen while keeping both hands relatively free for use elsewhere.
“This glove device could be used to develop a solution that allows for an operator to tap on the object being worked on to display work orders, and to input task outcomes with simple gestures, increasing efficiency in the field and cutting down on errors and oversights,” says Fujitsu.
The device has a battery life of nine hours, which means it will last for a standard workday. Energy use is kept to a minimum by the NFC reader being put into standby mode when it is not in use.
Canadian company Kiwi Wearables lists their new product as, “One device, many apps”. Considering this wearable can handle gestures, as well as tracking, it has the potential to draw in-depth conclusions about a person’s life. Here’s the detail on the tiny clip with multiple uses, as seen on Epoch Times.
Kiwi Move tracks your movement, steps, and climbing action. Take it to the gym, basketball court, or the baseball field. It provides insight in to your daily life, as stated on their blog site.
Much like the Star Trek communicator, it responds to gestures. You can create your own or use the built-in detection settings. Speak with your smart appliances and control them directly with Kiwi Move, or speak directly to the Internet.
The most interesting thing about this device, besides its tiny size, is its app. It is based on a “When/Do” logic. As an example: When I visit the grocery store, do update my budget. Of course, interesting correlations might exist between the time of day that you visit the store and what else is going on in your life. Ask anyone about working late hours and craving burritos. In a sense, this clip is allowing you to be mindful of what you are doing, when you are doing it. Even if you don’t immediately see the link between the activities, you have the opportunity to view them over time and discover what is driving them. Sounds like psychological genius, but it’s really the beauty of a micro-controller. More like this, please.
On the outside, Teddy the Guardian is indeed a teddy bear. On the inside, the cute little thing is filled with sensors to track a kid’s vital signs. When a child interacts with Teddy – such as, say, hugging the bear or holding its paw (sensors are located on the bear’s arms and its stomach)- it measures the child’s heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen level, and temperature. This data can then be relayed to wirelessly to any device.
“If there was a main mission for Teddy, it’s to turn a stressful experience into a kind of Disneyland experience,” says co-founder Josipa Majić. “We’re trying to make the experience [of gathering health data from children] less stressful for everyone.”
According to Majić, medical tech tends to be complicated – more complicated than necessary. There are often too many features that are too difficult to operate without guidance. Simply: the technology is not intuitive for anyone using those devices. Traditional data collection equipment in this industry doesn’t take into account how users will interact with devices.
“Nobody is really thinking about the end user and their personal experience. What we’re doing is bring[ing] it into a shape that a certain demographic [children] can actually understand.”
I spent Tuesday afternoon strolling the expo floor at the Embedded Systems Conference (now one of several concurrent events under the “DESIGN West” banner). It’s a big industry show for component electronics and test equipment…mostly out of my league, to be honest…but nonetheless interesting to drop in and see what’s new and where things may be headed.