Ask Hackaday: What is “Home Automation”?

A link to the orginal article.

We’re not entirely sure what’s become of the term “home automation.” The definition seems to have settled for any user interface in the home—via tablets, phones, handheld remote controls, etc. Some of these devices lack any form of automation and instead require manual input. Even Wikipedia’s home automation article suggests a move toward this trend, offering the following definition (emphasis ours):

It is automation of the home, housework or household activity.Home automation may include centralized control of lighting, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), appliances, security locks of gates and doors and other systems, to provide improved convenience, comfort, energy efficiency and security.

Though “automation” is clearly included in the first sentence, one could interpret the bolded potion as meaning either:

  • Truly automated systems may also include centralized control (as a feature).
  • The category of home automation also includes systems that merely provide centralized controls.

So, are automated components optional? Judging by the phrasing of projects submitted to our tips line: yes sir. Truly automated systems exist, but if you browse through any home improvement store’s “home automation” section, you’ll be pummeled by a string of remote-controlled light dimmers and outlets. How many of these are designed to interact with sensors as feedback systems or otherwise function unattended?

Our articles often favor an “automation-optional” categorization. Should we, however, reserve the “automation” label for projects like the light switch based on room occupancyand deny other builds, like the voice-activated lights/outlets system or the RasPi lighting and audio control via web interface? Hit up the comments and help shed some light on how to properly use the terminology.


LED Project – Re-purpose LED Flashlight for Closet Light

The before. Home Depot brand LED Work lights. On clearance at the HD for 2 bucks. Picked up the 4 they had on the aisle I was on. Normally the big one runs on 4 AAA batteries (6 volts) and the little one on 2 AAA batteries(3 volts). I’m going to use 9 volt. For 8 bucks this totals to 65 total LED’s on pre-made boards. All I have to do is wire it up and bam the closet is lit.

998064_817487262593_216078687_n 1209087_817506339363_212417902_n
1185587_817490171763_368679824_n 1175671_817487272573_1814279385_n
1176148_817490111883_1213564575_n 1002879_817490141823_230096245_n