It’s been a while since I last made a smart home device, not because my home is fully automated or because there wasn’t a need for another device, but because I still live in a rented unit and didn’t want to to spend the time making and setting up custom devices that would need to be torn down in the future.
Well the other day I realized that I could build another home automation device without a long-term stationary placement requirement! Not too long ago I built voice integration into my smart home system using the Amazon Echo (check out the articles here). While this worked well for moments without ambient noise, it failed to work well during parties, while watching movies, or while listening to music on my sound system. Obviously I needed another way to interact with these smart home devices and the current method of pulling out a phone or tablet, unlocking it, then switching between apps just didn’t appeal to me. What I really wanted was a universal remote that could also talk to my smart home devices.
So I started designing and planning out the features that I would want in my smart home controller and it had to be wireless charged (because replacing batteries or being tethered to a wall is archaic). Here’s the requirements I came up with:
- LED Screen to provide visual input (battery life, device selected, value selected, etc.)
- Neopixel Ring (because who doesn’t love feedback through colors?)
- Wireless Charging
- Battery Powered + Battery
- Push Button + Rotational Input
- Microcontroller with WiFi (bluetooth is a plus) – Particle Photon
Essentially, the goal is to get it all placed inside of an enclosure like this:
Here’s a video of the very early prototype’s functionality:
As well as a more in depth Hackster post: