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Thread: Advice needed on new house project.

  1. #11
    Automated Home Guru Geps's Avatar
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    Your home insurance company may refuse/limit cover if you have that type of lock on the front door....

    I had the idea once to create an RFID reader that uses ordinary car keys. The circuit and firmware can isn't too bad but it's when you start to house it in a case etc it starts to become abit more involved. Not really a good route to go down now either with more and more cars adopting active tags in keys.

  2. #12
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    Re: Voice recognition - I guess it depends on how its done. We have a voice recognition feature in our IDRATEK Cortex software. Its a feature that is available as part of the basic core license because we feel that its something that is fun but not so reliable for serious use. The underlying technology is SAPI5 which means part of the reliability depends on the SAPI5 recognition engine that you use. There are some free ones such as M. Soft's own but I'm sure better results may be obtained via others suited to a dialect and, as indicated by others, when trained. Getting suitable audio to the speech engine is the next hurdle. In our system audio can be delivered from the microphones in our panel type modules and via the IDRANet audio bus, but it would be possible to use a standard mic routed to the PC. In our past experience the panels perform better because they have automatic gain adjustment and human voice tends to be 'more powerful' than say a TV at subjectively similar loudness level, meaning that voice could be picked up well enough even a few meters away from a given panel. So it maybe that a mic with pre-amplification might work better or indeed it can depend very much on the audio card in the PC itself.

    Background noise is of course a big problem. There are various ways to mitigate this. Improve the voice to background ratio is an obvious one e.g mic with low gain close to mouth but then you have to carry the mic with you or have it close to hand. Famously remember a demo of a million pound automation project some years back by a well known phone company where a chap with a complete headset commanded his bath to fill up - the sort of thing that gives home automation a bad name . However the use of something like a smart phone mic e.g via Siri (in which case also different voice recognition technology) or otherwise might these days be not so impractical. We found that voice recognition using PC telephony speech engines with audio via a telephone modem was much more reliable - because the bandwidth is limited and the person has a mic next to their mouth. But not really very practical to have to call your PC unless you are already outside the house. And to be honest, by the time you've fiddled with buttons you might as well have just used a touch screen system interface.

    Another thing is to limit the vocabulary which the recogniser has to understand and choose words that are as distinctive sounding as possible. Ideally recognition would be on all the time just waiting for a key phrase. I haven't kept up with the technology so I don't know how well this works these days but from past experience it wasn't too good, with some engines actually adapting themselves to the background noise such that they didn't recognise you too well next time around.

    For situations where you need to interact with the automation system (which at IDRATEK we of course are always striving to minimise ) I do think reliable open room voice recognition would be great. I'm sure it'll get there sooner or later but for the time being I guess buttons, touch screens and the like will have to suffice - or maybe someone will tell me otherwise..

  3. #13
    Automated Home Lurker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geps View Post
    Your home insurance company may refuse/limit cover if you have that type of lock on the front door....

    I had the idea once to create an RFID reader that uses ordinary car keys. The circuit and firmware can isn't too bad but it's when you start to house it in a case etc it starts to become abit more involved. Not really a good route to go down now either with more and more cars adopting active tags in keys.
    That is a very good point, I will make a point of inquiring to see if they will still cover me. I walked around the house the other day and noticed that the front door has a 3 point lock so I may have to think about other ways of achieve this. I also had a play with the homeseer voice recognition software but only with an ordinary mic, fairly impressed but I may look into an iphone controlled setup instead.

  4. #14
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    >voice recognition ... background noise ... limit the vocabulary ... waiting for a key phrase ...

    putting all those points together, how about doing what people do - ie: give it a name & use it as the key phrase, to both make people speak more deliberately & to allow the computer a better chance of identifying when it needs to be alert - better chance of working & more efficient ! ?

  5. #15
    Automated Home Guru Vangelis's Avatar
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    I started looking at electronic door locks, and although the 'Night Latch' devices are used a lot on commercial properties, I never liked the fact there was a 'loose' feel to the locking mech, in that the door would move lightly against the lock even when locked. So I started looking at Solenoid bolts as a more secure option, but with a key override (seeing as this is the main point of entry to the house!!)

    http://www.electriclock.net/acatalog...oid-bolts.html

    I'd be interested in how you get on with the RFID, as with Active RFID you usually need a power source in the tag to achieve the range - most car systems that have a 'comfort opening/start' mode charge the keyfob, when in situ in the ignition, to get round the 'dead battery' scenario.

    On the lighting front - if it's hidden Z-Wave units to control the lights - check out...

    http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/new-p...e-updated.html

    Haven't had a play with these yet, but am planning to use my Comfort system to control them now that the new Zwave module allows me to check status of the lighting.
    Last edited by Vangelis; 17th August 2012 at 10:52 AM.

  6. #16
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vangelis View Post
    I started looking at electronic door locks, and although the 'Night Latch' devices are used a lot on commercial properties, I never liked the fact there was a 'loose' feel to the locking mech, in that the door would move lightly against the lock even when locked. So I started looking at Solenoid bolts as a more secure option, but with a key override (seeing as this is the main point of entry to the house!!)

    http://www.electriclock.net/acatalog...oid-bolts.html
    .
    I have actually used both on an automatic gate system. They felt the electric door latch was a bit loose, so we fitted a solenoid drop bolt. It wasn't cheap about 3 times the price of the most expensive one on the link you gave. But its sprung loaded so drops down when the solenoid is disengaged. And it can't be cut with a hacksaw either, or prised open. I did try before it was installed to push the bolt back into the housing but it was impossible. When the solenoid is engaged there is a cam type gear that gets moved out of the way, then the bolt can be pulled up. There was space for a euro cylinder so a key can be used for it as well, in case of power outages, which also moves this cam gear and pulls the bolt up.
    It was also a bit of a night mare getting the timing right. Signal is sent to open gate, gate light strobe flashes (eu requirement these days) at the same time the solenoid is activated, after 3 seconds the latch is released and the gates open. 30 seconds later power to solenoid is cut and drop bolt drops. This actually keeps the gates locked in the open position (well one of the leaves anyway). And to close the gates it starts with the strobe flashing and the solenoid is activated and then de-activated about 30 seconds later. It actually only takes about 20 to 25 seconds to close or open the gates. But to allow for mechanical frictions, client not greasing the gate hinges etc, 30 seconds gives a safety margin. This was all done just using the lock interface on the gate controller, a few relays and one of those stairway timed relay devices.

    Here is the link, they now do other types of solenoid locks.
    Last edited by toscal; 17th August 2012 at 04:46 PM.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

  7. #17
    Automated Home Guru Vangelis's Avatar
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    Interesting... From recollection most of these solenoid locks have a mechanism so as not to drop the bolt until the door is fully closed (reed switch). Vesternet also do some Z-Wave controlled door locks, but they have a pin-pad built in as well which is not what I am after.

    As for overkill on some door locks, check out http://www.impregnablesecurity.co.uk...oors-locks.asp .... that is if money is no object

  8. #18
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Initially I was going to use a waterproof magnetic door switch but, this would have meant extra cabling and digging up the drive way to put more conduit in. I don't think the client would have liked paying nearly 300 euros in labour ect for adding a 2 euro door switch. Sometimes you have to make compromises when someone else is paying the bill.

    You may want to check cyberlocks. I've been toying with the idea of using them in our house.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

  9. #19
    Automated Home Guru Vangelis's Avatar
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    I looked at the Mul-T-Lock CLIQ range which are similar, but I don't need the auditing capability - plus I was trying to get away with keys all together. That left RFID and Bio-Metric.

    RFID we have talked about above in the post, however what amazed me is the form factor of some of the Fingerprint readers. They are massive!!

    I want something like these standalone units..

    http://www.impregnablesecurity.co.uk...ocks/e-ley.jpg or http://www.appliedbiometrics.com/typ...d74f948059.gif

    However this type are cheaper but the actual reader is too big for my liking...

    http://www.smart3.co.uk/images/ekey_home01.jpg

  10. #20
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    I got a fingerprint lock off ebay about 4 to 5 years ago, works very well. I would say though that whatever finger or thumb you use, take several readings. This will eliminate the lock not working. The one I have also has the ability to input a 4 digit pin code, via a single button. Just hold button in wait then scroll through each number. It wasn't that cheap but a lot cheaper than what was on offer else where.
    This one may be of interest to you.
    Just seen this as well.
    Last edited by toscal; 22nd August 2012 at 05:35 AM.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

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