The entire setup for the system
A prevalent model (switch) and a new one (our hack)
The team behind the hack
Inspiration : Hacking a system that is something very common in our daily lives. A switchboard. A lot of work goes into switching appliances on and off. And then your physical presence is a must. Also, every household has switchboards which cannot be replaced overnight with the prevalent smarter ones in the market. Hence comes in the very specific target of our hack.
What it does : Our smart hack-a-switch takes in a normal switchboard (here, a spike buster, for purpose of demonstration) and implements certain tweaks in its internal wiring. Then an inexpensive module consisting of certain sensors and an Arduino board is placed on top of it, and we get our smart home automation -- or rather all of its benefits, but way lighter on the pocket. We have a short video attached which explains the functioning and utilization in details.
How we built it : We built the logic for Arduino Uno and dumped it on the board. We placed two appliances (number of appliances is not a limitation here, two are taken for the purpose of demonstration) connected to the switchboard. The switchboard ( here, the spike buster) is connected to the relays, which in turn is connected to the Arduiono board. It is internally tweaked in terms of wiring. Proximity based, voice based and touch based systems are implemented so as to avoid manual switching.
Challenges we ran into : Logic description was the biggest challenge. The human mind works in so many different ways. We tried to consider every possibility that one thinks of while turning on/off an appliance in a room. It went into multiple nuances of logic codes.
Next was the power criteria. Energy saving was our criteria. So we tried to save as much power as possible during instances of non-utilization of appliance. Cost was another criteria, where we tried to lessen it as much as possible by implementing tweaks in the logic in order to implement lesser hardware.
Accomplishments that we're proud of : We achieved to define a system which is :
1) Implementing different types of sensing at the same time. 2) Superior to all prevalent systems in the market. 3) Much lesser in terms of cost even when compared to other inferior systems from the market. 4) An excellent way of energy saving in today's world of energy crisis.
What we learned : We had to go through extensive Arduino coding and Android code understanding in order to implement our hack. The different logic stages needed a lot of brain-storming. Overall, a very good learning experience.
What's next for Hack-a-Switch : More appliance base. More logic intensive. More close mimicking of the human mind. It gets more smarter, more cheaper and off course saves more energy.