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Passive home automation


Hey all, been working out idea's for a project recently, and kind of stuck on one point. So the plan is to do up some automation in my basement. Right now I was starting with my desk, using a phidget usb relay controller to control desk lamps, move on to insteon for actual ceiling lights, but one thing I want to do would be passive control. So if the system detects me coming down the stairs it will turn on the ceiling lights, then when it detects me sitting at my computer the computer will log me in. I was thinking rfid, but not finding any hobby boards for rfid with ranges over a couple of centimeters. I know people have done this with bluetooth, but on testing my computer will connect to my phone if I'm just about anywhere upstairs above the computer and kills the point of this whole endeavor so any and all help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

I might under-complicate things too much, but motion detectors work quite well to turn lights on and off and if you really need secure log in on your PC take a card reader, otherwise just the keyboard.

The old Keyboard from banks offer card readers for access control and go quite cheap on Ebay.

If you have an RF-ID system that is good enough to work from a few meters of distance it will be no problem to read it out from the outside and control it, simple logger for the job is not expensive either.

Not what I call safe ;)

IMHO the easiest way for an automated log in that does not require security would be no log in at all, simply move the mouse to turn the screen back on.

There are RFID systems available that have longer ranges. Some require a larger reader and some require an active RFID tag that transmits on it's own. You'll need to look outside the hobby space for them. The hobby systems are just a first step int the world of RFID. Your projects requires a larger step then that.

A more active system you can use an RF remote or use IR. Your IR tag will give off a specific post that IDs you to the system. But your dealing with batteries there and needing to check if they need to be changed.

I suggest you move this system away from your PC and onto either an Arduino or a Raspberry Pi. Then you can set up one system per room.

phidgetsinc2 years ago

I've used distance sensors and pressure sensors with success in similar projects. They can be a bit finicky, so you have to play with the code a bit to make sure they behave properly.

For your computer, maybe you could even set up a webcam with OpenCV to recognize your face.