Team 12: Home Automation Framework – Initial Write Up

Home Automation Framework

Description of Idea

Our intent is to develop a web application that can remotely control the electronic devices in one’s home via mobile interfaces such as smartphones & tablets, or any OS with a web browser. The underlying technology will likely utilize an Arduino and a small, low-powered web server such as the Raspberry Pi.

Example systems that we may monitor or control:


  • Technology & Entertainment:
    • TVs
    • Radio/CD/MP3 Player
    • Computer
  • Energy-Saving:
    • Lights
    • Ceiling fans
    • Thermostats
  • Appliances
    • Washing machines
    • Stoves
    • Refrigerators
  • Security Tools & Devices
    • Security cameras
    • Electric door latches
    • Electric window blinds

Goal: Facilitate ease of access & control of electronic devices for those who are busy, have a disability, or are not physically present in the location of the device.

Potential features for expansion:

  • Bluetooth technology
  • Compatibility with existing home automation products such as X10
  • API that is accessible to the casual DIY hobbyist.
    (This would make it easy to integrate with existing home automation systems, to make them available through a web interface.)
  • Monitor electricity use
  • One-touch security or power-saving features (e.g., “lock all doors” or “all off”)

Interview Questions
CPRF Interview Questions

  • If you could control things with mobile phone or through the internet what devices, appliances, locks, lights, etc. would you like to see become automated in your home?
  • How do you typically access the internet (PC, Tablet, Smartphone)? Do you have texting service on your mobile phone?
  • How often do you access the internet?
  • Would you rather be able to use your automated appliances, etc. (longer range) via the internet or with an RFID keychain (super close range)?
  • Would you be willing to buy an in-house server and boxes to automate your appliances/locks/etc in order to have this convenience? If so, how much would you be willing to pay for this service? Would you rather pay a large one time fee for the equipment and setup, or would you rather pay a monthly fee for the service?

Description of Prototype
This product will consist of 3 elements:


  • Server: Low-cost home server (possibly Raspberry Pi). It will have some sort of wireless controller to communicate with the actuator.

  • Client: Mobile Friendly application. The actual protocol hasn’t been determined yet. It will communicate with the Server to tell it which devices to turn on, off, or other function.
  • Actuator: Simple device with wireless connectivity, within range of the server. It will interface with power outlets and appliances. To the command of the server, it will turn it on or off.

Initial prototype:

  • The initial prototype will be the web server, with at least one of the I/O devices to output orders to an Actuator. While the Actuator will not be finished yet, we should still have some way of confirming the order was sent and can be received from a maximum range of device.


Date Process & Goals Comments
Sep 25 All components are in. Start initial playing with components, figuring out how they work;
continue experimental programming learning to use Raspberry Pi server;
complete interviews with target consumers/consumer groups.
Oct 2 Initial Raspberry Pi server programming complete;
skeletal structure complete.
Oct 9 Hardware and software working together, although perhaps not robust yet.  
Oct 23 Prototype completed, working, report submitted.  


Materials Needed

Qty Price Item Description
1 $35 Raspberry Pi board
1 $0 Resistors (assorted) (should be in design lab already)
1 $0 Transistors (assorted) (should be in design lab already)
1 $0 LEDs (for testing) (should be in design lab already)
1 $0 Breadboard (should be in design lab already)
1 $0 Arduino (should be in design lab already)
1 $20 RF-controlled power sockets (on Amazon)
September 25th, 2012 5:37 pm

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