Exploring the Possibilities of Home Automation

Topics: RCA connector, Motion detection, Digital video recorder Pages: 14 (4609 words) Published: February 17, 2011
Chapter 1

Exploring X10 and what it can do with Linux software

Watching your Linux MythTV system or a Linux video player on TV Hearing and controlling your Linux MP3 player remotely Getting online weather information on your Linux computer Exploring storm warning alerts for your cell phone, pager, or e-mail Using a Linux smart phone system for your home or business

Functional and Fun: Home Automation Applications
Every room of your home probably offers plenty of possibilities for home automation. Maybe the most well-known use is turning lights on and off — especially to dissuade any thieves from targeting your place when you aren’t


ome automation offers time-saving opportunities that can make your life more organized, more efficient, safer, and more fun. Dozens of free Linux software packages are available for home automation. These programs are often at the cutting edge of the field because Linux is often the platform of choice for programmers around the world in the field of home automation. Many of these programs are published under the GNU General Public License, which means they can be used by anyone freely, and because the source code is available, anyone can add new features to it. That is what programmers everywhere are doing at a fast rate, which makes this field exciting to be a part of. The practical uses for home automation are endless. This chapter covers an overview of how it works and its possibilities, and I get you started automating right away.









In This Chapter



Exploring the Possibilities of Home Automation


Part I: Bringing the Future Home
at home. But there are plenty of other uses. Here are some of the most popular and most exciting: Automate chores such as watering your lawn, opening and closing drapes, controlling your lights and appliances — even controlling your electric water heater. Use motion sensors to turn on floodlights and cameras outside your home. Or turn on lights indoors as you walk from room to room, create an automatic doorbell, and more. Use water sensors to inform you of leaking plumbing, both minor or major, while you’re at home or away for the day or on vacation. (Why not have your computer call you to let you know?) Control your lights and appliances remotely via the Internet or a telephone. Remotely adjust your thermostat so you can warm up your home before you get there. Zone your heat and automatically adjust it to make your home comfortable in the areas that you’re using, and energy efficient in those areas that you aren’t. Wirelessly beam your entertainment around your home. For instance, be your own DJ and send your MP3 songs playing on your computer to any stereo or TV in your house. Or use the plasma TV in your den to view videos playing on your computer. Use a smart phone for your home communications with a digital receptionist, voice mail, call forwarding, call waiting, and more. Videoconference with your friends, family, and co-workers by using the Linux Ekiga application; see Chapter 8 for more about Ekiga. Set up a home surveillance system by using webcams. Keep your eye on your home remotely via webcams and the Internet. Set up your computer to alert you to storms in your area or any area you specify by e-mailing you or calling your cell phone or pager.

Controlling your environment
Basically, any appliance or light that you can plug in or wire with a switch can be controlled to turn on (or dim, if applicable) remotely by using a system known as X10.

Chapter 1: Exploring the Possibilities of Home Automation An X10 overview X10 signals are sent and received via the powerlines of your home and interpreted by specially made X10 modules. The two basic types of X10 modules are lamp modules for incandescent lights, which can enable your light to dim, and appliance modules, which don’t dim. (You don’t want to dim your coffee maker.) These modules come in various shapes and...
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