Home Automation

Embisys’ iHabitat Home Automation Concept Aims to Connect Everything

Embedded systems vendor Embisys is working on some technology and associated products for better integrating all of the gadgets and gizmos in your house. This means getting them easily connected to the home network and talking together.

iHabitat self-organizating home automation system

Embisys has nicknamed the home automation system iHabitat (ugh, another ‘i’ name). iHabitat forms a WPAN (wireless personal area network) that organize themselves. Of course, they need to be wirelessly enabled, and that’s where Embisys’ hardware comes in.

Using your iPhone to Remotely Control Your Garage Door

We just posted that Smart Start iPhone app from Viper that lets you start your car remotely, but what about opening your garage door remotely? Why you ask?

Here’s the scenario – you wake up on a cold winter morning, maybe in your upstairs bedroom, and you’re already late for work but just can’t imagine getting into that cold car sitting in your garage, but you’ve got the Smart Start iPhone app. Great, except that it’s going to take more than a minute or two to get that car warmed up, and you don’t want all the noxious exhaust filling your garage and seeping into your house as well.

Convinced? Ok. So one enterprising techie has already figured out how to rig his garage door [Howto] with some X10-enabled equipment that he could then control via an iPhone app called X10 Commander. And just so you know, that’s not the only game in town – there are more apps for the iPhone for your home automation control, such as iLinc.

Brondell’s Perfect Flush Toilet Retrofit Kit Saves You Money

As you well know, most of the time you flush the toilet, you’re flushing water and money down the drain needlessly. What’s really needed on toilets is a 2nd button that only uses half the water. Brondell’s Perfect Flush product retrofits your toilet to have that 2nd button without you having to go out and buy and install a whole new toilet.

The Perfect Flush toilet retrofit kit can be installed by anyone and takes about 30 minutes. If you use the calculator on their website, even with average usage and costs plugged in the Perfect Flush will save a family of 4 enough money on their water bill to pay for itself within a year. If your costs and usage are higher, for example, if your toilet water tanks are larger, then you savings go up. What’s more important is that you are doing your bit to save the environment as well.

Ideally, those newer toilets should also really have an adjustment to regulate how much water is used per flush and Perfect Flush has that as well. Eco-friendly Perfect Flush is compatible with most toilet tanks ranging in types and sizes 1.28 through 7+ gallon per flush.

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More info from the manufacturer
Price: $92.89
(Please note prices are subject to change and the listed price is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of posting)

iLinc: iPhone app to control your INSTEON/X10 home automation devices remotely

Now that you have your home automation all tricked out, and you got yourself an iPhone, how do you control your HA system from your God-phone?! Not to worry, iLinc is an iPhone/iPod Touch app that lets you do just that.

For example, you can control up to 1000 INSTEON or X10 devices as well as up to 1000 ‘scenes’. You of course need some way to make your devices accessible to the Intenret, and either the ISY-99i controller or the INSTEON PowerLinc controller will do the trick.

There are 2 versions, the iLinc Lite can only control 1 device, but it’s enough to get you started testing. iLinc Pro will let you control all of your devices and also works with the USB/Serial PowerLinc.

By the way, this isn’t the only iPhone app available to control your home automation devices.

Buy now!

Price: iLinc Lite: Free, iLinc Pro: $19.99
(Please note prices are subject to change and the listed price is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of posting)

GfG’s Article Recap for Week Ending June 19, 2009

Have Zune begun to copy Apple’s stylish music players with the upcoming Zune HD? We’ve got your weekly fill of format wars – this time focused on home automation and could we really be that much closer to wearable remote controls?

Father’s days coming up and, being such a caring bunch, we came up with a a really great idea! Another idea may be to get him an analog to digital converter so that he can preserve those old video and music sitting in the attic.

Are you aniPhone/iPod Touch user and also a networking maniac? Take a look at Zensify.

The week was capped off by the ever-so-geeky Mac vs. PC poster and a look at the current progress of holographic optics – manufacturer SBG has a very cool prototype of a full-color, heads-up wearable display.

ZigBee’s latest spec, ZigBee Pro aims to consolidate Home Automation market


We all got a little fed up of hearing about HD-DVD battling Blu-Ray and various other format wars we’ve had over the years, but we seem to have found ourselves caught in another – ZigBee, INSTEON and Z-Wave are battling out to try and win you over for your home automation needs. Both ZigBee and Z-Wave use RF networks to allows you to control various home automated appliances around the home and now ZigBee has a new update to their offerings.

ZigBee are soon to be releasing their new update, ZigBee Pro, which allows communication across numerous different manufacturers’ products, most notably Control4, LG and Black & Decker (door locks, not power tools!) and will be available with a simple firmware update for these appliances. Perhaps the future will see some of the bigger home automation companies jumping on board as well which may help ZigBee to get the market leader title.

Unlock Your Doors Remotely via INSTEON

Turning lights on and off are just a fraction of what you can do with your home automation system. I/O Linc’s INSTEON Remote Control Door Strike Kit actually allow you to allow entry or exit by locking or unlocking doors at a press of a button, even remotely from work.

The electric door strike is hardwired to the delay timer/relay and both are powered by a power supply. The delay timer/relay is then connected to the output of the included I/O Linc – INSTEON Low Voltage / Contact Closure Interface (1 In / 1 Out), which simply plugs into an available outlet. When I/O Linc receives a signal from any linked INSTEON device, the built-in programmable relay can keep a door or gate open for up 25 seconds before automatically locking. By using the delay/timer relay, you gain the added flexibility of keeping a door or gate unlocked for up to 60 minutes. This kit gives you the control to regulate access to and from your property.

Suggested Price: $137.99

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INSTEON Garage Door Control

Do you accidentally leave your garage door open when you leave the house or do you hit the garage door button in your car and take off only to come home hours later to find the door open due to an issue with the garage door? Besides letting the elements into your garage, security for items in your garage and your whole home are at risk when this happens.

Finally a home automation garage door sensor an operator is available for INSTEON. There have been X10 products that you could use with your DIY home automation system, but now you can enhance your true INSTEON network using the I/O Linc – INSTEON Garage Door Control and Status Kit.

The included garage door sensor mounts to the garage door and is wired directly to I/O Linc’s sensor input. When the garage door is open, the garage door sensor triggers I/O Linc to send a signal that will turn on an INSTEON controlled light and/or report its status, for example, to KeypadLinc status LED’s or PC software. Additionally, I/O Linc’s output relay wires to your garage door motor just like your existing button, allowing you to remotely operate your garage from any INSTEON controller.

Suggested Price: $79.95

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