Prize-winning ‘Home Automation using Raspberry Pi’

Rupert Agnew, studying Computer Science BSc(Hons), has designed ‘Home Automation using Raspberry Pi’, which, among a multitude of uses, will feed your cat when you are away from home.

This final year project has won Rupert a prize from the international IT services company FDM Group.

Rupert Agnew

The system uses the Internet of Things to link hardware and software devices in people’s homes.

He said: “Nowadays almost everybody has a smart phone and almost everybody has a WiFi connection in their home – but how many can control home devices securely from their phone? My project takes advantage of the low cost Pi but shields people from the complexity of programming and piecing it together.

“All peripherals connected to the Pi can be remotely controlled from a mobile, tablet or desktop computer from anywhere in the world. After logging onto the website using their credentials, the user is presented with a dashboard which allows them to interact with their home appliances – door locks, view a webcam stream, control lights, control AC mains plug.

“You can automate your kettle to turn on as you open the front door after a long day at work. When you hear the doorbell, you can view who is at your door, and let them in, all from your phone/tablet. When the temperature drops or reaches a certain temperature, you can control the boiler to meet your needs – you could even open or close a door to let a pet in or out of the house and automatically feed your pet based on a time schedule when you are away from the home.”

Success for MSc student

This post is from James Dunn who has just graduated from our MSc in User Experience Design. 

James Dunn

James Dunn, MSc User Experience Design

Shortly after completing my MSc in User Experience Design I was invited to submit my Major project for the Brighton University Environmental Award, for which I was delighted to receive a ‘highly commended’ recognition.

My project involved the creation of a prototype smartphone App called “Driven”.

It is designed to provide motorists with real-time vehicle telemetry geared around a variety of driving styles, including economic/sustainable motoring. Additionally, it automatically logs journeys, allowing users to build up a picture of their motoring habits over time.

It works by using a small hardware component connected to the car’s diagnostic port to read data from the vehicles systems, and transmit it to a smartphone. The App interprets this data and is presents it to the user via an appropriate interface, the design of which was the focus of the project.

The resulting information can be used to make informed decisions about driving styles, leading to more economical and sustainable behaviour. The project was conceived due to a lack of suitable existing products in the marketplace that offered comparable functionality. It feeds on the desires of users for increased information and data about the way they live their lives, extending from the number of paces they take each day, to the number of miles driven.

Motoring has for a long time been high on the agenda in sustainability conversations, with legislation being passed to encourage new vehicles to reduce their environmental impact. While it can’t force drivers to change their habits, it does provide factual data that can be acted on to reduce carbon emissions and encourage sustainable motoring.

The project was a lot of fun to work on, and concluded an excellent year at the University. Since graduation I have been working as a UX (user experience) Consultant, introducing a user-orientated design process to a software development company based in London.

You can follow me on Twitter @jdworksUX