18th April 2013
RaspLogic: Engineering your home automation system
By Leo Kent

RaspLogic’s intuitive visual editor.

RaspLogic is a piece of software currently being developed by Italian programmer Dario Tolio, that offers a cheap, simple and effective way to control every aspect of home automation in one centralised system.

Raspberry Pi

The cheapest way for a homeowner to implement this software is to a buy a Raspberry Pi, which RaspLogic has been designed to operate on (though the software can work on other computers).

Raspberry Pi is the only one common platform where people can do this

Tolio explains, “The software is written in C# language on .NET so it works on any operating system. However, to take one example, say you want your MP3 player to start playing when you get up in the morning, you need some reference on a common platform and Raspberry Pi is the only one common platform where people can do this without spending too much money. For $25 you can have a common platform that’s already distributed in every place around the world.”

Homes are getting smarter year on year but if you have one system to control the lights, one to control the music system and one for the TV and so on, it alls starts to become unnecessarily complicated and RaspLogic seeks to resolve this issue.

Intuitive

The programme has been made incredibly intuitive and simple to use allowing the unskilled to set up their home the way they want it by using a simple visual editor.

Tolio explains, “The screen is divided into three parts using drag and drop. From the left you can take something like the thermostat and on the right there are all the real things like sensors and actuators. In the centre you have a whiteboard and you can take the things from the left and the sensors from the right and put them together.”

The system has also been designed so that others can add their own plug-ins and functionality which can be shared by others and it is this open-source side to RaspLogic that will allow it to develop into an incredibly important, multi-faceted tool.

Online

Another clever aspect of RaspLogic is that, with the Raspberry Pi connected to the internet, certain expensive technologies, for example, light sensors that direct outdoor lights, could be made redundant. In place of a light sensor, a free internet service inform the lights through RaspLogic when it is sunrise or sunset and trigger the outside lights accordingly.The same could apply with watering the garden at the correct time of day.

If you are away from home and the bell rings, you could be alerted by text

RaspLogic can also send you SMS messages or email when something has happened. For example, if you are away from home and the bell rings, you could be alerted by text, connect with your home and speak to the person at the door directly from wherever you are.

RaspLogic can also be connected to Google Docs, which means you could have information on your energy usage in the home logged in a spreadsheet so that you can see exactly what energy is being used. So, for example, you could see how long the lights in each room of the house remain on, allowing you to make certain changes in order to reduce energy waste.

In the near future, as homes become increasingly more intelligent, people who aren’t IT specialists will be empowered to create incredibly precise, energy efficient homes. Software like RaspLogic, with its open-source capabilities, has the potential to transform the way we automate our homes.

For more information go to RaspLogic


Image credit: takito (shutterstock)


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