Archives For project ilos

Let the fun begin

Since years I always thought of having a house fully automated. I’m still far away from having my own house, but why wait? I have to start somewhere, and my current apartment seems like a nice place were to experiment. This is how I thought of Project Ilos (yes, I’m a big fan of the Mass Effect trilogy).

Let’s start with the basics: Project Ilos is not really a project. Is more or less a name I gave to the series of things I do when there is no movie to watch, or I’m tired of browsing through reddit. Those things involve arduino, android, and some electronics (sometimes beer drinking, as the Ballmer Peak also applies when tinkering 1 ). The project does have a goal:

“Build a sort-of an intelligent apartment, solving (or at least making more bearable) issues I encounter every day, with the help of some electronics.”

One thing is for sure: these problems could (and probably should) be categorized as #firstworldproblems. From the “knowing when my mailbox has new letters” to the “tell me when the washing machine is done” kind of things, so don’t get too excited. Heck! They are probably even gonna make me more lazy somehow, but it’s the joy of working on that thing what counts (… I guess). All of these things I plan to tackle with some home-made arduinos, sensors and xBees for wireless communication. As a centralizer I will use an arduino mega, with an ethernet shield. I plan to have a tablet for accessing all the notifications from the sensors, this is where android comes in place. What is not in the scope of this little project is using android’s host capabilities for connecting directly to the arduino mega adk. Since I have an ethernet shield I’ll try to use the network for communication. I’m not explaining much of the project in this introductory post as I prefer to go into details later on and explain each module as I’m working on it.

I never properly documented nor planned the project per se. It’s more a “on the fly” kind of thing. This is an attempt to document it, but still no attempt to plan it. New issues will be discovered, and new solutions implemented. The need to document it came because of the endless amount of other blogs I have used during my personal projects, that I felt it was about time I contribute back. I’m not sure if someone will find this helpful, but given the amount of people that use the internetz, and the rising popularity of DIY electronics, I say the chances are somehow in my favor.

  1. I always heard of the word tinkering while working on these kind of projects. I got the idea of what it meant because of the context, for me it has always mean something like hacking. However, since I started writing I’m trying to be careful when I use certain words. This is why I googled tinkering and a result from the free dictionary says of a tinker to be a “clumsy repairer or worker; a meddler”. Even Google suggest as definition “Attempt to repair or improve something in a casual or desultory way, often to no useful effect.” I found that to be more fitting than what I originally thought it meant.