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Thread: Stand back, and quadriplegic and I have questions!

  1. #1
    Automated Home Lurker
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    Question Stand back, and quadriplegic and I have questions!

    Hi,

    I am hoping somebody can help me get a grip on this problem, I'm going to be moving house in the next three or four months, I want to get it as automated as possible because I am quadriplegic and flicking switches is obviously quite difficult!

    I've done quite a lot of reading around the subject, but I have no direct experience with any of the different protocols; so it would be pure guesswork if I were to start buying equipment now.

    The equipment would be ideally controlled from OS X, the voice recognition and other accessibility software I used to control my computer are based on OS X you see.

    The areas I am looking to automate are, in order of importance:

    Front door entry system
    I have two main use cases, if I automate nothing else in the house, the front door is an absolute must.

    Use Case 1:
    when somebody rings the front door bell, I can use my computer and a connected CCTV camera to see who's there; and if I decide they are not a serial killer, let them in.

    Use Case 2:
    As I approached the door from either inside the house or outside, the door will automatically unlock and open. I was thinking maybe some sort of RFID fob in my wheelchair, or maybe even pattern recognition using CCTV camera above the front door.

    Lighting
    Simply turning lights on and off, dimming and different colours are possibility; disco mode might make my wife kill me!

    Heating
    Simple control of a thermostat,

    Windows and curtains
    Opening and closing windows and curtains

    Home theatre and stereo
    This is probably the one I need the least help with, at the moment I have Mac Mini server serving up dubious choices in music and terrible TV shows from the 90s :-)

    So, any help that anybody can provide would be gratefully received.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    I'm still a bit of a newbie on this stuff but planning a lot of tech install on a new housebuild later this year. No-one else has answered though so I'll have a go...

    Front door system. I'm looking at a number of IP Door stations at the moment that potentially allow this. At the top end there's the Mobotix t24 (over 1k). Cheaper than that are some from Provu which go down to about 400. These are both SIP products - they probably need to connect to some sort of VoIP telephone exchange (which you can run on a Raspberry Pi) to enable two way audio communication. However, IP cameras just seem to output a streamed picture you can point any web browser at so you could go for a simpler solution and just rig up a standalone IP camera that points in the right direction. They're still surprisingly expensive though (some 100's)

    Alternative is the DoorBot featured on the front page at the moment - though of course you cant buy that yet....

    For unlocking the door there are 'old fashioned' electric door strikes. That one is only 25 or so but you'd need to rig it up to some other systems to get it to open as you want.

    Standalone there is the Lockitron - wifi connected retrofit door unlocker - which has some proximity smarts built into it so you can unlock either from a phone (presumably a computer as well) or automatically when you're nearby.

    For lighting/heating/windows/curtains you're looking at some sort of home automation controller and kit. Look at the technology overview sticky at the top. Lots of options with wireless (lightwave/z-wave) being relatively simple retrofit at the cost of some resilience. From there you go up and up in cost and complexity of install.

    Controllers range from a pc running open source to high end custom install kit. In between some really promising newer entrants like Loxone and well established older companies like Cytech's comfort system.

    Home theatre kit is increasingly better served by the sort of set up you've got rather than a custom installed system like, say, Control 4, which is likely to be outdated very quickly.

  3. #3
    Automated Home Guru Vangelis's Avatar
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    Front Door Entry (Case 1) - As already mentioned DoorBot in conjunction with Lokitron (they are looking to interface them both together) will do the trick as a reasonable price point. However if you wish to re-use some kit (CCTV etc) then a simple web interface and RF / Zwave controlled doorlock. Be careful regarding House insurance as some polices will not like your front door having a electronic lock unless it is mated to a decent night latch or mortice (check out Yales Digital Range). Personally I would prefer a solenoid bolt as the electric night latches tend to give and rattle a little (just feel a little inferior to me)

    Front Door Entry (Case 2) - Passive RFID would not have the range to detect your proximity. Maybe think about bluetooth or Wifi connection via smart phone. There are several bluetooth controlled locks out there. WiFi would need a little more logic but could save on your battery life on the phone by not having bluetooth on all the time. iPhone for instance can turn on WiFi (when in sleep mode) just by hitting a key (even if locked). You could confirm MAC address and use a Ping command to check that your smartphone is suddenly on the network to unlock the door.

    As for physically opening the door, then your best route would be via the mobility systems out there.

    Lighting - LightwaveRF is good and also Fibaro. There are good for retrofit.

    Heating - Got to be Nest 2.0 (When it finally gets to the UK)

    Windows and Curtains - Velux have the systems built in on some of their products and there are plenty of Curtain openers. Combine this with a LUX and time logic and they could be autonomous.

    You might also want to have a look at the Ubi Project http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...vated-and-al-0

    This is basically an mini standalone android based computer with voice recognition (think via Google) - can do Internet searches, VoIP calls etc

    Hope this helps...

    Vangelis...
    Last edited by Vangelis; 17th January 2013 at 12:37 PM.

  4. #4
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    Excellent, some of those things will really really useful; especially the DoorBot. Also I hadn't thought of using SIP to communicate with the front door, that opens up a whole range of communication possibilities.

    I've been looking at Loxone, and it looks really promising.

    Again, thanks for the answer.

  5. #5
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    Wow, The Ubi looks like it perfectly fits in with what I'm trying to achieve.

    I definitely think you're right about the RFID, I can mount some sort of Bluetooth device inside my wheelchair maybe and some of the Velux options look great.

    I'm going to start putting some more of a plan together I will be back! :-)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panrubius View Post
    Also I hadn't thought of using SIP to communicate with the front door, that opens up a whole range of communication possibilities.
    I'm starting that experiment now. RPi in the post. Bargain POTS interface - 25 delivered - half the price of anywhere else (and they sent me the new Linksys version not the old Sipura cased one.

    Then probably a Grandstream GXP2200 SIP phone running Android. Does bluetooth handsfree as well.

  7. #7
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    Hi,

    How is this going as I am looking to do the exact same thing!

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