AvBrand Exploring Technology
AvBrand Exploring Technology
Index Touchscreen Automation Media Center Watch Door Buzzer Arm Computers Apps 
/images/myhome.png Please note that most of the information on these pages has not been updated since 2007 and this information is kept for archival purposes only.

So what's so special about my home? Surely, it can't be that different from your home or anyone else's home, right? Well, on the surface that may be true, but under the surface my home is an amalgamation of computers, automation technology, and dozens of other technologies, working together towards a common goal. Read on to learn more.


(outdated) photo courtesy David Waldman

Basic Premise

My continuing goal for my home is to create a "smart" home, with technology and automation in places where it makes sense, and to do this on a budget. I'm no Bill Gates -- I try to spend as little as possible to achieve my goal.

Basic Setup

The technology in my home is controlled through several networked home computers. Connected to them are a vast array of devices and controllers, some store-bought, some hand-made. I make extensive uses of technologies such as Insteon, Arduino's, and X10 to do the dirty work in my automation. Aside from that, 99% of the software that makes everything mesh is hand-crafted from scratch.

Components

Most of my home will be documented in a series of individual subsections. After you've watched the introductory video, you can click on one of these subsections to get more information about individual components of my home.

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Touchscreen

The central point of my home: The touchscreen is located right next to my doorway and provides instant information and control.

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Automation

The various automation components work together to allow computer and remote control of lights & appliances, and much more!

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Media Center

The Media Center is the entertainment centerpoint. A nice big LCD TV and 120" projection screen are connected to this system.

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Door Buzzer

An interface with visitors, this component handles the building entry system for my home. It's like an answering machine for my whole apartment.

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Computers

Controlling it all is various computers. Here's some more detail on each of their duties.

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Applications

A listing of the individual software applications that I created, each of which serves a modular purpose in my home.

Previous Components

These parts were formerly part of my smart home but are no longer in use. I include them here for archival purposes.

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Watch

The Remote Control Radio Watch ties it all together, offering instant information, notifications, and control within my building and also up to 200m surrounding it.

This has been replaced with a smart phone & Android Wear smart watch.

Cost

One of the most frequent questions about my home is: How much does it all cost? People seem to think I've spent thousands and thousands of dollars on this setup. Well, they're wrong. My smart home was built over a long time, starting in March 2002 but with some components having been purchased many years before that. I generally built it out of bits and pieces I got cheap, used, refurbished, or free... or something I just built from scratch.
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