Mobile-controlled Home Automation with PIC16F84

This how-to will provide a detailed guide to implementing your own Web/WAP enabled home automation system. The home automation system allows you to control the on/off state of up to eight 3A appliances via either a web browser or a mobile phone. The system provided is fairly cheap and effective, but has a few prerequisites:

  • An always-on internet connection (or at least on while you want to control things)
  • An always-on computer (see above)
  • PHP enabled Web space, or your own web server. (Of course if you are serving from home you already have the first two!)
  • WAP/web enabled phone if you’d like to use the mobile control features of the system. All modern mobile phones are capable of controlling the system.
  • Some beginner-level soldering skill. This project uses a PIC16F84, a cheap programmable chip.

Assuming the above, the total cost of building this system should be no more than about AU$50, plus AU$15 for each 240v switch. You can also extend the usefulness of the system by setting up an internet-viewable webcam, using a usb webcam and any freely publishing programs, providing some visual feedback.“


Atanua – real-time logic simulator

Atanua is a real-time logic simulator, designed to help in learning of basic boolean logic and electronics. It uses OpenGL hardware-accelerated rendering and a custom UI designed for a fast workflow and a very low learning curve, letting the students concentrate on learning the subject instead of spending time learning the tool.“


Social Networking for My Toaster – My Toaster Twitters

„I grabbed my old bagel / toast toaster and glued a switch to the outside, so when the slider gets pressed down it triggers the switch and when it pops up, the switch opens (couldn’t be any more binary then that).“



Videos erstellen mit Microsoft Fotostory 3 für Windows

„Mit der kostenlosen Software Fotostory 3 gestalten Sie lebendige Bildgeschichten ganz nach Ihren eigenen Vorstellungen. Auch wenn Sie nur wenig Erfahrung mit der Fotobearbeitung haben, werden Sie staunen, wie einfach es ist, Ihre Fotos mit Musik und Spezialeffekten aufzuwerten. So haben Sie in kürzester Zeit z.B. Ihr eigenes Firmenvideo oder eine animierte Produktpräsentation erstellt.“

Run Leopard (Mac OS 10.5) on a Dell Mini 9

“ I’m a huge fan of ultra portables! They are small, light and just powerful enough to do what you need to get done. Sure I run Windows (in VMware), but for me the Mac OS better fits my lifestyle, but if you are looking for an ultra portable you are going to have to look beyond Cupertino.

So, when I got the Dell mini 9 all I wanted to do was put Leopard on it. With a little bit of tinkering and some help from a good blogging buddy Kevin Tofel I was able to painlessly install 10.5.4 on the little guy.“


HSDPA-Flatrate für nur 9,95 Euro bietet für nur 9,95 eine begrenzte Anzahl von HSDPA Flatrates an. Wer noch eine haben möchte sollte sich langsam beeilen, da heute um 15:40 nur noch 21% des Kontigentes zur Verfügung stehen. Die Mindestvertragslaufzeit beträgt 6 Monate, was wirklich ein faires Angebot zu sein scheint. Nach Ablauf der Mindestlaufzeit erhöht sich der Monatspreis allerdings auf 34,95. Die Flatrate ist übrigens begrenzt auf 5 GB Übertragungsvolumen, wer mehr braucht wird sich auf extrem langsamere Übertragung einstellen müssen. Funkster drosselt nach überschreiten der 5GB auf 64 KBit/s im Downstream und nur 16 kBit/s im Upstream.

eZ80F91 microcontroller Audio/Video Network Player

The highly optimized MPEG audio/video (AV) playback unit can connect to a standard television using composite video and stereo audio signals. This low-cost system is designed around an eZ80F91 microcontroller. A standard remote control is used to control playback.“


Standalone HP Laserjet display hack

„Tonight, I overheard a couple of people who live with me in the flat talk about a person who has left 2 HP LaserJet4’s in the hallway, for more than a week. Putting them in front of his door didn’t help, and the next action they had in mind was to tape a huge angry sign on them so he perhaps would notice it. While that’s one way to do it, I decided it wouldn’t be fun and perhaps the offending person would remember it better when we did something more playful.

A nice thing about the HP laserjets is that they have a little display, and you can use PJL, a sort of controlling language, to change what’s displayed on it, using a bit of code that runs on a PC. Problem was: I didn’t have a PC connected to the laserjet, so I had to divine a standalone solution.“


dsPIC 30F6012 microcontroller Laser Light Show controller

Presented is a laser light show utilizing a ds-PIC controller as an arbitrary waveform generator (ARB). The controller allows vector patterns to be either stored in flash (program) memory or uploaded from a PC in a vector format. Analog output, via two 14-bit DACs, is fed to a commercial analog driver board and two high-speed galvo scanners.

The scanner currently resides in the laser lab at Niagara College (in V15) where it is used for both student labs as well as lab demonstrations. A portable scanner, packaged with a HeNe laser, was also created for ‚road show‘ use at promotional engagements – both use the same hardware and software.“


Softwear by Microsoft


This is Softwear by Microsoft. A clothing line that taps the nostalgia of when PCs were just starting to change our lives. With retro logos, classic photos, and geek-chic iconography, these pieces showcase the DOS days of the software company that now connects over a billion people.“


„Put away your valuables in this Lego Mindstorms NXT Safe and nobody ever can get even close to it! This 6,5 Kilogram heavy weight SAFE has an electronic code lock. Five double digit codes are required to open the lock. The dial (left-hand wheel) is direction sensitive. Thus 35 to the left is something else than 35 to the right. Only one out of more than 305 Billion code combinations is unlocking the door!“

Automated window-cleaning robot – winboni

„A team of four engineering students from Michigan State University have created — and won an award for — an automated window cleaner that requires a human to do no more than push a button to get it started. Called the Winboni, the ‚bot runs off of AA batteries and adheres to the window using a suction fan, cleaning it with felt pads.“

the 1-Key-Keyboard project

„The idea for a 1-key keyboard comes from the need as an interaction designer to make “cheap, quick and dirty prototypes.” When creating a quick screen-based demo in e.g. Adobe Flash, a common way of quickly prototyping physical actions is to assign actions to certain key presses on a keyboard. In more advanced prototypes, physical hacks to the circuit board from a keyboard are also often used to interface custom buttons and switches with a computer.“

Systems 2009 heißt jetzt discuss & discover

Ab 2009 in München geht es nicht mehr zur Systems, die ja unter Besucher- und Ausstellerschwund leiden musste, sondern zur discuss & discover. Die passende Website ist online

Was allerdings beyond bits and bytes steht werden wir wohl erst im nächsten Jahr erfahren.