phatduinoa personal home automation technology arduino


Albert Einstein

“Make things as easy as possible, but no easier!”, these are words of Albert Einstein I keep in mind since I read them years ago as a life motto on a friend's facebook profile. In my first months of studying at university this phrase gained more and more importance as I felt how difficult it was to switch off the room light while I was snoozing in my bed - when I headed for my former home quite a distance away I was always wondering whether I had switched off my stereo and depowered all external harddrives, so that there would not be any reason to worry about power consumption at last. One day I even nearly stabbed my feet running through my dark room at night searching for the light switch. (As a student you find yourself running through your dark home many times, folks!)

In one sentence: My life was too hard, I wanted to make it easier and more efficient by cutting away all those time and focus killers lying in my way. In a few weeks I found myself in intense brainstorming sessions evaluating possibilities to cut all those annoying activities, I finally decided to build a home automation system.

A friend of mine was involved in microcontroller projects a lot, the stories he told me about his self-made light controller turning his garden shed into a fully functional club were really inspiring to me. Using microcontrollers as core components for my home automation system seemed cool to me, I did some research on the internet and found out about Phidgets and Arduino and other systems that provide an easy, beginner-friendly access to microcontrollers.

To automate my home I wanted to measure several values in my environment and perform actions based on the measurements. In my project I make use of light, temperature, moisture and pressure sensors. I even use switches as sensors.

It turned that I used Arduino to realize my vision, to build up a "Phatduino" - a personal home automation technology Arduino. Feel invited to read about the hardware and software used. Everything though comes together in the automation section.