We started to work on this application as we were looking into ways of improving and automating the mundane and redundant parts of our lives. We were looking into having a one-stop platform to control the electrical appliances at home so that we do not need to waste our efforts searching for the switches and the remote controls in our home. This will also be of great benefit to us when we are rushing out of house to catch the bus.
Furthermore, this platform will also potentially benefit the society, as it can be considered energy efficient, especially for people who forget to switch off their electrical appliances. Think of how much energy we could potentially save for electrical appliances that we would typically forget to switch off and leave it running for the entire day. This is extremely beneficial for the environment and the society, as the ease of switching off appliances could encourage people to switch off their appliances when they leave their homes.
What it does
This controller is able to connect through an android application to access a server online to access the commands, and use the commands to push to the Redbear or Arduino micro controller. The micro controllers then sends signals to the electrical appliances.
How we built it
We first made the server with eclipse. We simultaneously came up with solutions to create an interface using WiFi to connect the Redbear Duo MCU with the server we made. We then connected the Redbear with a LED light, and connected the Arduino with a servo motor and subsequently with the Redbear. Next, we made android application to push signals into the server. and the microcontrollers to poll the server.
Challenges we ran into
The sponsors from the hackathon did not have WiFi shields for the Arduino, and hence we had to work with an unfamiliar microcontroller, the Redbear Duo. We ran into many issues when setting up the Redbear as well and could not get the Arduino Bluetooth module to work.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Came up with a hack that involves the Redbear Duo, a rather new technology that is still not very developed in documentation. Was able to overcome all odds having issues with every possible solution that we conjured up in a short period of time and finally come up with a working solution in the end.
What we learned
What's next for Smart Appliance Controller
We are looking at coming up with an Infra-Red transmitter and receiver for compatibility with air conditioners. The infra-red signal codes could be learnt into the system by configuring before using the controller for the air conditioners. We are also looking at integrating voice-control capabilities into our application for hands-free usage.