The Blog of Ian Mercer.

Home Automation Calendar Integration

One feature of my home automation system is Google Calendar integration. What this enables is two things: (i) the house can record what happened on the calendar so I can see at a glance what's been going on back home and (ii) the ability to put events on the calendar for the house to do certain things.

ChickensFor example, we recently bought some new baby chicks and they need to be kept warm at light. An infra-red lamp in the chicken house is connected to an X-10 controlled outlet (behind a GFCI, of course since this is outdoors). The device that controls that outlet is called "Chicken lights" but also has several shorter aliases (e.g. "Chickens"). Using the home's natural language engine that outlet can be controlled remotely by the chat interface, by the email interface, by the voice interface or by the calendar interface.

In this case, a simple recurring event on the calendar to turn the light on every night for 9 hours is sufficient and I can set the recurring event to stop after a few weeks because by then the chicks will no longer need it.

This complete integration of Calendar and Natural Language Engine functionality certainly makes for a very easy way to control and monitor a smart home!

Net result ... happy chicks:

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Home Automation

I've been working on home automation for over 15 years and I'm close to achieving my goal which is a house that understands where everyone is at all times, can predict where you are going next and can control lighting, heating and other systems without you having to do or say anything. That's a true "smart home".

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Home Automation Sensors

An overview of the many sensors I've experimented with for home automation including my favorite under-floor strain gauge, through all the usual PIR, beam and contact sensors to some more esoteric devices like an 8x8 thermal camera.

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

ATAN curve for probabilities

In a home automation system we often want to convert a measurement into a probability. The ATAN curve is one of my favorite curves for this as it's easy to map overything onto a 0.0-1.0 range.

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Probabilistic Home Automation

A probabilistic approach to home automation models the probability that each room is occupied and how many people are in that room.

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Multiple hypothesis tracking

A statistical approach to understanding which rooms are occupied in a smart house

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

A state machine for lighting control

An if-this-then-that style rules machine is insufficient for lighting control. This state machine accomplishes 90% of the correct behavior for a light that is controlled automatically and manually in a home automation system.

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Home Automation States

Understanding the many different 'states' a house can have is critical to creating great home automation

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Graphing gigabytes of home automation data with tableau

Some interesting charts from the gigabytes of data my home automation system produces

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

iBeacons for Home Automation

My investigations into using iBeacons for home automation

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

iBeacon meetup in Seattle - January 2015

My notes on the iBeacon meetup in Seattle held in January 2015

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Home Automation Systems as a Graph

Using nodes and links to represent a home and all the devices in it

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

N-Gram Analysis of Sensor Events in Home Automation

Using n-gram analysis to spot patterns in sensor activations

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Xamarin Forms Application For Home Automation

Building a Xamarin Forms application to control my home automation system

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

The Internet of Hubs (and things)

Maybe it should be called the Internet of Hubs instead

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Showing home status with just a single RGB LED

Multicolored LEDs can convey a lot of information in a small space

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

A wireless sensor network using Moteino boards

The diminutive Arduino boards include a powerful transmitter/receiver

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

The home as a user interface

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

A RESTful API for sensor data

POSTing data to a home automation system from Arduino devices

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

The Internet of Boilers

An experiment to measure every aspect of an HVAC / boiler system

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

VariableWithHistory - making persistence invisible, making history visible

A novel approach to adding history to variables in a programming language

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

A Quantified House - My Talk to the Seattle Quantified Self Meetup

My talk to the Seattle Quantified Self meetup

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Integrating an Android phone into my home automation system

Some new features for my home automation using an Android phone

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

The Internet of Dogs

Connecting our dog into the home automation

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

GreenGoose Review

A review of the now defunct GreenGoose sensor system

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Home power meters revisited

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Smart home energy savings - update for 2010

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

A smart power strip

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

What does a Smart House do at Halloween?

My favorite home automation features for Halloween

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Home Automation Top Features

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Weather Forecasting for Home Automation

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Ian Mercer

How can I tell if my house is smart?

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Home Automation Block Diagram

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

World's Smartest House Demonstration

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

Future proof your home with a new conduit system?

Running conduit can be expensive but maybe you don't need one to every room

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

New Home Automation Server

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

World's Smartest House

Over 15 years of experimentation with home automation

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer

World's Smartest House Videos

A collection of videos about my smart home efforts

Ian Mercer
Ian Mercer