Designing my own Home Automation UI

Ok, so now we have a Touch Screen in the living room. Time to design a UI that works. Not just for me, but for all of us. Where my first design was primarily based on using buttons with text to switch the lights, open the garage door or turn on the pump for the swimming pool, it didn’t feel right. It looked nice, but i just felt it wasn’t finished. Once you get used to using a touch screen, you start getting ideas to make things even better. So last weekend i tried a different approach by using a floor plan as background image and place buttons on it at the right spot:

Touch Screen UI

Touch Screen UI

So now i have a new screen layout that shows a floor plan with buttons for those things that are used the most. It also shows the current temperature in the different parts of the house and outside. By touching the stairs, you are taken to another screen that shows the second floor. And for specific functions like information about traffic, weather forecast, controlling music, TV, showing phonecall history and other things like that, i created a row of buttons at the bottom of the screen. This looks much better than the first design, which was just a bunch of buttons on an empty screen. But i don’t think this will be final; after using this new UI, new ideas will emerge and lead to yet another redesign.. and another… 🙂

Fritz!Box Plugin for Homeseer released and working ok

After being released on March 25, 2009 it seems the Fritz!Box Plugin for Homeseer is doing fine. Pieter Knuvers, webmaster of Domoticaforum.eu dedicated a forum to my plugin. New requests keep coming in for additions to the plugin and few bugs have been reported since the first release. So you could say that the first Homeseer Plugin i ever made is a success. And there are more Plugins to come, 4 new Plugins are planned already 🙂 That’s all i can say for now… More information about the Plugin can be found here. (Dutch)

Asus TOP as Home Automation Touch Screen

A couple of weeks ago i bought a Asus TOP. It is an Intel Atom N270 based PC with 15.6″touch screen, 1GB RAM, 160 GB hard drive, Wifi and Windows XP Home. I’m going to use it in the livingroom as primary interface to my home automation system. For that i’ve been developing a VB.NET application that interfaces with my Domotica software system. Last weekend i mounted the Asus TOP to the wall in the livingroom at a central place. I really love the Asus TOP, especially the big surface of the screen, the abscence of noise compared to a regular laptop and the speed with which it runs my Domotica GUI.

ASUS TOP
ASUS TOP

Besides stuff like switching lights, devices by means of either X-10, PLCBUS or Plugwise, i’ve also made pages that shows all the incoming and outgoing phonecalls, weather forecast and maps, temperature and humidity in various parts of the house, but also pages that give control over the radio (stations, volume etc) and TV by means of the IRTrans i have. And ofcourse there are pages that show information about the traffic on the dutch highways and railways, etc. etc.  Just all the information and control you need on a daily basis, shown on a ‘big screen’ in the livingroom. The Asus TOP definetely is one of the coolest additions to all Home Automation related hardware i’ve bought in the last 12 months.