OK Homey, you’re fired

Well..OK, let’s just wait and see if you can evolve to a mature product in the next couple of months… you’re still beta, so who knows what’ll happen in the near future. I’m one of the backers of the Kickstarter Homey project – I already knew about it before it appeared on KS because there already were rumors about Homey on Tweakers before the Homey KS started. In the past I tried several other solutions to get speech going in my Home Automation but never really found a really good and reliable solution; maybe Homey then? So I decided to go for the GEEK Edition: “You will receive Homey, plus two wireless transceivers, enough jumper cables to hook it up and early access to the SDK including sample code for your Arduino projects!


Does it blend?

Does it blend? It sure looks cool with its rotating LED


ETA was May 2015 but I’m used to that on KS – either the projects don’t deliver at all (Plugaway, Zano) or much too late. And I don’t really mind the ETA actually, as long as the product meets the expectations. Expectations that were brought to life by the “über-cool” video’s provided on KS. But can the end product live up to those expectations? Here’s my verdict at this stage of the product.

The Homey arrived on February 10th. I was too busy with other projects so I couldn’t spend much time on the Homey, but I just couldn’t resist doing the initial setup. So I did and half-way (the 2nd trial to finish the setup) I came to the conclusion that Google Chrome was mandatory to successfully finish the initial setup. Hmm, someone could have told me so. Not much happened since then besides some late-night experiments with different languages, voices and such. Cause my primary objective is not to use Homey as my Home Automation system – I already have one 😉 Homey is too limited as a replacement; I’ve got too much ‘exotic’ hardware, a great rules/scene engine and don’t really want to rewrite my whole system to become a bunch of Homey Apps. I’m satisfied with my system as it is right now. Completely NodeJS based, running hassle-free for more than 2 years now.

All I want is a superb Speech Recognition system that I can embed in my own system. That’s all. Let’s examine some of the results of speech recognition.

After the Homey arrived, the first question I asked myself was: how do I get the speech recognition results from Homey to my HA system? First thing I did was looking for a Homey App that I could use in some way – the HTTP request flow charts App by Erik van Dongen looked interesting so I installed it and made my first flow which used Erik’s App to PUT the recognized text to some server and repeat what was recognized through the Homey speaker:

Homey Flow

A tiny NodeJS app was enough to display what was PUT : the JSON contains what was recognized and [..] contains the actual text spoken)

>node homeyspeech.js
14:26:45 > {"tekst":"radio aan"}
14:26:56 > {"tekst":"radio huis"} [radio uit]
14:27:24 > {"tekst":"tv aan"}
14:28:04 > {"tekst":"wat is het weer"}
14:28:27 > {"tekst":"hallo"}
14:28:51 > {"tekst":"nederland en aan"} [nederland 1]
14:29:03 > {"tekst":"de lampen aan"} [doe de lampen aan]
14:29:15 > {"tekst":"no"}
14:29:28 > {"tekst":"lampen aan"}
14:30:25 > {"tekst":"lampjes uit"}
14:30:41 > {"tekst":"alarmcentrale aan"}
14:30:55 > {"tekst":"alarmcentrale uit"}
14:31:07 > {"tekst":"alarmcentrale bosch"} [alarmcentrale home]
14:31:29 > {"tekst":"waarom luister je niet"}
14:31:45 > {"tekst":"het wordt niks zo"}
14:32:02 > {"tekst":"doe je oortjes is goed om te"} [doe je oortjes eens goed open]
14:41:05 > {"tekst":"hoe gaat het met je"}
<switched Homey language to English>
14:46:49 > {"tekst":"lol"} (my son taking a peek over my shoulder, laughing)
14:48:28 > {"tekst":"whats the time"}
14:49:00 > {"tekst":"whats the weather"}
14:49:32 > {"tekst":"no"}
14:50:11 > {"tekst":"how are you"}

Sorry, this is mostly Dutch (of course), which is still in Beta (as it seems, reading the Athom forum).

Good? Bad? I don’t know yet. Homey seems rather sensitive to background noise, a small pause between “OK” and what you named your Homey (here it’s named Ultron right now) can help a lot, Dutch language seems to be harder than English (what the … ???) and after placing the Homey in the living room, near a TV (with its speakers off, sound is provided by a surround system) the results got worse…

More later…