Home Automation

Problem

The current state of smart home control apps makes it difficult to tell what device you are about to change properties of. Forcing you to guess from a 'list of doom'.

Solution

Link the devices with a physical location within the home, creating a map of where each one is, removing confusion, and creating a more seamless user interaction.

This sparked the idea of a home automation control system that was spatially aware, and able to show you where in your house the device you were controlling was.

The first stage of this was looking at how the user defined the boundaries of the rooms. The most intuitive way of doing this is having the user draw boxes to create the rooms. Doing this in a simple, easy to understand interface is a very important component of this. Homes come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and including the options to match this is a very key part to the functionality of the system.

Seperating the process into clear, simple steps is the easiest way of entry of this information. First instructing the user to draw the basic dimensions of the room as a rectangle, then bringing the user into a room edit screen, allowing them to add or remove parts of the rectangle to match the room. Adding addional rooms would function in a similar way. Isolating the room for easier editing, then adding it to the home where it fits in.

Adding doors a windows would happen after this stage all the rooms are complete. Followed by adding the devices to their physical location in the room. This part of the process is another that suffers from the List of Doom, especially with devices like lights.

The issue arises from the user not knowing exatly which light is which. And fitting with the apps method of linking the device to physical space, the light that is currently selected will turn itself on, and all the others off while it is being placed. Other devices don't benefit as well from this, but typically these devices are not as plentiful in rooms.

Once the home has been set up, the user controls the devices from a top down view of the home. The view is controlled similar to how a map would be controlled, with the user zooming in to see the devices in the different rooms, as on a smaller display, the controls would become cluttered, and hard to read. The 'map' has a minimum zoom level to prevent the user from zooming too far out, again making the map useless.