Since I missed the May Home Automation Month, I really need to make up for it somehow. So here’s a quick video of Remoat (http://remoat.com), a little utility I’ve been putting together in my spare time. It’s not really production-ready, but I’ll make the source available for the hackers out there.
Currently it needs/supports the following:
- Windows Media Player: Plays music from your library.
- MiCasaVerde Vera: Allows you to turn on binary devices, such as lights that you’ve got configured.
- mControl 2.X: There’s some old code in the package from when I was running mControl on my WHS box (which had sequential disk failures and in the end killed my RAID –> switched to a QNAP NAS). Unsupported.
- Windows Vista/7 speech recognition: This is required (part of the operating system anyway).
- Windows text-to-speech: You can specify which audio device is used for speech output. This lets you hook up a pair of speakers that are always on and have the PC hooked up to you’re a/V system for better quality playback. Part of the operating system.
Pics uploaded to Flickr. Sorry about the crappy lighting and quality.
Thanks to Engadget I'm out of another $150. They had an article about MiCasaVerde's Vera device and I just placed my order. In short it's a box that looks like a wireless router/access point (and actually works as one), but contains home automation software and support for Z-Wave (aren't I glad I've got all the switches in the house replaced with those?). Their goal is to make home automation dead simple, but for me personally (once again) the key is that it's an open platform with support for extending and hacking the device.
There's an enthusiast special going on until the end of the month (October 31, 2008) and you can get the device for $149 (plus shipping) instead of the retail $299. Details about this and the device itself are available on their wiki: http://wiki.micasaverde.com/index.php/Invitation_To_Enthusiasts
In addition to having a device that consumes 6W instead of 90+W for a PC, one other great thing I see compared to other home automation solutions is the Z-Wave adapter that comes with the device. You can unplug it from the Vera's USB port and walk around the house to register Z-Wave devices. Compare this to my experience of having to buy a handheld Z-Wave controller to walk around with, and once I was done, going into the garage, pressing a bunch of buttons on the remote (where's that manual again for the correct combination so I don't erase everything?) and running to my PC to start the transfer to the computer before the transfer times out.