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Build Your Own Home Automation w/ Pusher, Twilio, and Arduino (twilio.com)
252 points by jonmarkgo on Aug 21, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 32 comments

I'd like to add a pointer to OpenHAB, which has been released in Version 1.0.0 some days ago. It is an open source Home Automation Bus (HAB).


That's awesome, are there any compatible pieces of hardware yet?

KNX and other open standards of home automation are supported. So, yes.

This is really cool! But also kind of complex for a task that could be performed in a much simpler way.

Using a GSM module such as the Telit GM862 [1], you will be able to receive text messages directly on the Arduino without the need of any web services. This would be much faster and cheaper. This particular module even includes a GPS.

[1] http://tinkerlog.com/2009/05/15/interfacing-arduino-with-a-t...

Indeed - I've been meaning to experiment with a GSM module actually, I just had the WiFly handy so I built it with that instead. One thing I would say is that using the WiFly allows you to connect with web services as well as the cell networks (in my example I made a very basic Sinatra app with an on/off button)

It's definitely also a good argument to just use what's in hand!

It is actually also possible to connect to the internet using that module, using good old GPRS (The module contains a full TCP/IP) stack. Of course not near as fast as an average wifi connection.

I used it to create a set-up where you can send a text message to the module: "Where are you?", it would then respond with the latitude and longitude as well as the geocoded address using Google Map's Geocoding API over GPRS.

That's really cool, didn't even realize it could do GPRS - is it hosted anywhere?

The Telit module is fully on the internet just like your PC. The module can do GET's and POST's directly to any server - no extra host needed anywhere.

a GSM module requires you to deal with cell phone companies for service though, right? i'd much rather integrate with twilio than with bell.

My understanding is that you get raw SMS data similarly to raw TCP data - via Serial assuming your GSM shield supports that sort of functionality. You would likely need a prepaid sim card as well, but it is possible to get SMS directly to your device without any intermediary server.

Personally, my comfort zone was with web development and I had the WiFly handy so I used Twilio and Pusher - worked out alright :)

You would likely need a prepaid sim card as well

I think that was notatoad's point. To use GPRS modules, I would think you need to buy access to the towers from somebody. I don't see how that would be cheaper than using WiFi, because you would have to pay for every communication.

I had skimmed the post earlier and came back because I thought "hmm, I wonder how he got the Arduino publicly accessible…" and didn't remember seeing anything about that.

But thanks to things like Pusher, you don't need that!

I was just picturing the request going to Twilio and then pinging the Sinatra app on the Arduino directly… But Pusher and the like really help so much to put things "online", albeit indirectly. But between a free Pusher app and a free Heroku app, it's easy to get going without worrying of your home router configuration or anything anything like that.

Early on, I actually attempted to run a webserver on the Arduino and have Twilio POST to it. However, I couldn't find a good/easy way to make it publicly accessible (tried no-ip, dyndns, etc.) - and while I could get it working on my own router I couldn't find a good way to describe how to set it up in the tutorial

I use Wiser Home Control to take care of those annoying left-the-AC-on cases, works on my iPhone. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHsjTdTPVnU

Was the install expensive?

Check out ninjablocks too, really cool stuff they're building

You piqued my interest, Jeff, so I did check out ninjablocks.com. They have a cloud service (ninjablocks.com/cloud) that appears that the whole heroku/pusher bit might be unnecessary. The hardware is open, so you could build your own, or they are also doing limited runs were selling them for $155 AUD ($160 USD, £100 GBP) for the basic device, more with sensors and stuff.

I suppose one could also use IFTTT recipes too, again to get around the server bit. Still, this is more DIY with websockets, so that's got a big cool factor.

Yeah, building it yourself isn't the cheapest solution - but it is the most fun and interesting in my opinion. A Belkin WeMo (which integrates with IFTTT) costs $60 per outlet, so it ends up cheaper but again..less fun

Yeah I saw that on Kickstarter - looks pretty awesome, similar to Twine (http://supermechanical.com/) and DaisyWorks (http://daisyworks.com/)

http://reaDIYmate.com are pretty cool too.

Thank you for posting this Jon. I do believe I will have to put one together now.

Great to hear, be sure to let me know how it works out or if you have any problems :)

Too bad there isn't anything like the PowerSwitch for UK power outlets!

i'd like to point out that those devices are going to waste more energy in a year, than the amount due to the A(C

Twilio! Why are you so cool?

Awesome tutorial Jon!

Thanks Carl! I'm loving the arduino hacking. Its a great prototyping tool

Yeah, it looks like a lot of fun! I actually just got my Arduino Uno and can't wait to start playing with it. Def. bookmarking this tutorial :)

I'm in Australia. If only there was some way to get an Arduino Uno in Australia. OH WAIT THERE IS, SNAP.


If I had karma enough to downvote advertising, I would.

FWIW, Little Bird electronics are another Australian supplier of Arduino & associated electronics. http://littlebirdelectronics.com/products/arduino-uno-r3

No association, except for being a satisfied customer.

It's always a toss-up between ordering locally & just shipping from Sparkfun, though, especially with the exchange rate.

I buy most of my hardware from Little Bird too - I could easily source it cheaper but they provide awesome service. I attended a great presentation of theirs showcasing http://ninjablocks.com/

I'm also from Australia and I could list at least a dozen places I would buy an Arduino from, before using your website that's less than a month old, and provides no contact details.

This blatant advertising is poor form.

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