What Makes the Perfect Smart Home? Engineers Decide.
Kagan Pittman posted on August 06, 2015 |
Mouser and Grant Imahara present the Empowering Innovation Home Automation Challenge.

Mouser Electronics and Grant Imahara have launched a new challenge for engineers and inventors across America, asking, “What makes the perfect smart home?”

Contestants in the Empowering Innovation Home Automation Challenge will showcase personally-designed home automation solutions and ideas. Submissions will focus on wireless, video, data, security, climate and lighting applications or other home appliance and lifestyle gadgets.

To take part, entrants must submit a photo of their personal home automation solution or an image depicting what they think should be automated in the home. With their imagery, contestants must describe how their system works, or why it needs to be automated, in 100 words or less. Once submitted, it can be shared among friends or colleagues who can vote for that submission, or any other they support.

Below are three examples of the submissions pouring in.

Image courtesy Mouser

Image courtesy Mouser

“smithfrank” writes of his project, “Currently I use an MPLab-based embedded processor board to monitor and control an outdoor smoker, wine coolers and a curing chamber for sausage and cheese. The MPLab board works through relays to control AC circuits which power humidifiers, dehumidifiers, etc. Because of this, I am limited to keeping controlled items in close proximity, and each device must draw less than 2A AC. My plan is to integrate existing hardware with a COTS automation system to increase range and power availability.”

Image courtesy Mouser
Image courtesy Mouser

“aravindcv” submitted an interesting idea on power conservation. The system, in the diagram shown, monitors and controls automated components of the home to mitigate the use of energy needed to power it. The “Synchronous Monitoring and Real Time (SMART) Analysis System” idea could possibly result in a 25 percent drop in energy consumption, aravindcv adds.

Image courtesy Mouser

Image courtesy Mouser

“sammopoo” advocates for an automatic, non-lethal intruder/stray animal repellent system. “With a special wide-angle camera and modified Airsoft gun placed on an x/y servo mount, controlled via computer, the camera will alert via text or email when motion is detected in specified control zones,” sammopoo explains. “The user can then remote into the system for manual control of the nonlethal payload, or engage the motion-tracked auto firing sequence with movement prediction to dissuade future contact and alert intruders to the fact that their picture is being taken.”

These ideas are all interesting, but it’s up to other engineers and inventors to decide which ones will come out on top. The contest will hopefully inspire Mouser’s engineering community, and those outside it, to discuss the topic of home automation and inspire someone along the way.

“I remember watching The Jetsons as a kid and wondering if I would live in a house like that. And now, as an adult, seeing some of the work from companies like Insteon and AiroCorp, we’re a lot closer to that home of the future than we think,” said Grant Imahara, a celebrity engineer, best known for his role on MythBusters, who is partnering with Mouser on this challenge. “We’re living in an exciting time and this challenge is a perfect complement to keep this innovation going and seeing what new ideas we can build upon to accompany other devices already available today.”

Two winners, decided by public vote, will receive a home automation starter kit from Insteon. The first 200 entries will receive a “Letting My Genius Prevail” t-shirt.

Submissions for the Empowering Innovation Home Automation Challenge grand prize are open until midnight of August 12, 2015.

To learn more about the challenge or to submit an entry, visit Mouser.com/contests.

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