CustomCTRL Arduino-Based Home Automation

April 13, 2011

It's always been a matter of time before an open hardware product broke into the mass market and gave proprietary consumer electronics a run for their money. And if the final product is anything like the prototype, Daniel Kleinman's CustomCTRL could be the one that does it.

A bridge between your smartphone and your home electronics and appliances, the CustomCTRL takes all of the flexibility of open source hardware projects and wraps it in a surprisingly non-techy, fun, and intuitive interface. The CustomCTRL box plugs into your home network and can send IR signals to anything with a remote control. More advanced home automaters can extend the system to also control Insteon, X10, Z-wave, and XBee powered devices.

As cool as that is, the standout feature of the CustomCTRL is probably its slick interaction controls. Instead of having to scroll through a list of names to find the right device, the system lets you sketch a custom floor plan and drag buttons onto the spots where the actual devices are located. Tap the button where the lamp is to turn it off. Tap the one where the TV is to start watching, etc. And using your smarphone's built in goodness, the system lets you "point and shoot" to control mapped devices, enter voice commands, set timers, and control multiple devices at once.

CustomCTRL is currently raising funds on kickstarter to help take the prototype into production. If you're interested in supporting the project you can make a pledge or pre-order a first run device. Definitely an open hardware device to watch.

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