Four final year students at the Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) have developed a super Automated Home System specifically designed to cater for the elderly and the handicapped.Trust Mukombe, Johannes Saidi, Fungai Svikiro and Freeman Kachasu teamed up to develop a well integrated smart home solution which went through a successful practical testing during the ICT Day held at CUT HOTEL on 18 May 2016.
By Cisco Eng. Shingie Lev Muringi
This latest innovation comes at the right time when the technology industry is waking up to offer automated home security systems to residence through utilizing the Internet of Everything (IoT) revolution. Econet recently launched their EconetConnected Home through a partnership with ZOL which will see both service providers teaming up to provide home security monitoring over Internet devices. But this time the game has been redefined by four BTech Information Technology students from the Chinhoyi University of Technology.
Speaking to Trust Mukombe, a former intern (attachee) at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and also the technical lead of the Low Cost Automated Home System, he said the system was designed as a group project to fulfill their final year dissertations but was also created to be practically used in the day to day lives of the elderly and the handicapped.
Trust Mukombe started by defining the essence of an Automated Home System saying it is an innovation that involves the use of one or more computers to control basic home functions and features automatically using sen-sored systems. An automated home can be controlled and also monitored remotely, giving home owners the convenience to constantly monitor the safety of their property from remote sites.
“The system, constitute of two architectures, namely the hardware and software architecture”. – Trust Mukombe
The user controls the electrical loads using a mobile application that runs on android platform. The supported versions of android platforms are from (2.2.3 gingerbread up to 4.4.4 KitKat).the user interface was made simple to use, and very flexible in such a way that a user can simply add a new appliance without our help on code customization.
This part contains the control circuit, switching circuit and communication channel. The control circuit was developed using Arduino development board and all control mechanisms are handled by Atmel 328pmicrocontroller.The switching circuit housed a 4 way relay module that turn on/off the electrical loads. The communication channel is over Bluetooth technology. We had used a low cost HC-05 Bluetooth module .this module receives commands from the application.
Smart sliding door (a sliding door mechanism that can be controlled by a mobile application)
Light and temperature sensors (lighting and temperature automation)
The system can be implemented into living homes of the elderly and those physically handicapped.
The main objective of the project was to help physically handicapped and elderly people to automate their day to day movements in the house without any need of direct manual operations like open handling of doors, manual switching of fans and many other home structures which the group is looking to add on the Automated Home System.
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