It’s always kind of fun to hear the things you’d really like to automate in your home. Sorry, no personal robots to do everything for you yet.
Until then, you’ll have to rely on a home control system, which Electronic House is teaming with Control4 to provide you in our “What Do You Want to Control?” contest. We’ve been highlighting some contest entries the last couple of weeks—you must do some short creative writing as part of the contest entry—so here are more from this week’s submissions (registration is still open to enter the contest).
We’ve got everything from how to control a new construction home to controlling birds’ nests, bathroom deodorizers and everything on the farm. And if you get to the end, you’ll find one submission composed in rhyme:
I am a retiree approaching maturity. Besides the normal HVAC, Security, Home Entertainment and Biometric Monitoring that are becoming mundane I need automated and remote Bird Control. I have a problem with birds nesting in the trees next to the house. I know we cannot automate cleaning up the mess. I want something that senses birds in the trees and initiates action to scare the birds away thereby eliminate the mess. —Michael, Ariz.
I have difficulty on most tech items. Would like to have a single (easy to operate) control on all of my items which you listed for a home control project. —Margaret, Ill.
Finally after taking a little more than 20 years constructing and finishing my house and the new addition, I would like to finish one more room to make it complete. This is the downstairs recreation room, where I have a home theater, pool table and bar. I would like to automate the house from here, controlling the two geo-thermal heat pumps, lighting, audio-video, plasma TV and projector. I would also like to control outside surveillance cameras inside and outdoors. And then there is the total home security system. It would be nice to incorporate all these things into one functional system, with room to grow. —Sam, Del.
I’d like to automatically control an ambient deodorant spray and the toilet fan every time the toilet is used for ‘solid’ reasons. Perhaps using a natural gas sensor so that the fans should shutdown only when the air become breathable again. —Frank, Mass.
My wife and I just recently constructed our first house together. The downside was our measly educator salaries left us with a pitiful tech budget. My dream for our house is to have a seamless automation system that would control everything from the door locks, window shades, to the water and food for our dogs. I would love for the lights to turn on when I enter a room, turn off when I leave, set the mood when I pop in a Blu-ray, or dim when it’s time for our newborn’s middle of the night changing. I want my shades to close during the annoying afternoon sun and my audio and video to follow me to our bathroom LCD in the morning for my shower. Please help me show my wife that tech is luxury! —Ron, Mo.
I want to save some green by going green and control my $280-$400 a month electric bills. I live in an old log home and energy management is difficult, remembering to turn this off, that down and still be comfortable is a tiresome battle with my family. I would like to create specific HVAC, lighting, and appliance control programs to reduce my electric consumption. I would also like to control the entertainment system, Internet, and music throughout my house however, the log home presents another unique challenge for whole house audio/video control. If I could control a wireless network, I could access the internet while drinking coffee on my deck or listen to music in any room of my house. To sum it up, I want to control it all or at least my expenses, my entertainment, my music, and my comfort. —Brian, N.C.
My wife is lost on using different remotes. I would like to be able to combine the remotes we have to make it easy as a one touch solution for her. I have an interest in setting up a home security system, along with home lighting and environment control, that would be easy to use as well. I envision one day being able to use microphones throughout the house to simulate a ‘Hal 9000’ experience! —Warren, N.C.
Home control is the bane of my existence. I have all of the toys, but none of the satisfaction of using them effortlessly from everywhere. I am using a URC IR-remote to crudely control a rack of electronics including Pioneer Elite receiver, BR-player, and plasma, HD TiVo, Denon DVD-audio, and Lutron IR lights. I would like to add control for my new pool/spa, more lights, security, thermostat, media server, PS3 and add control of my 4 audio zones that are currently on a Niles manual switch. I would also really like to also incorporate handheld touch screen control of my large mp3 and digital video collection, and still have the intuitiveness of a hard-button remote for video playback. All of the convenience of entertainment control would be great, but ultimately, I would like to reduce my energy use by scheduling all operations of my home. Please help! —Paul, Texas
I need to automate the farm! I want to automate the opening and closing of chicken and turkey coop doors in the morning and at night, check that their water hasn’t frozen through temperature control, and make sure the coops’ ambient temperatures and lighting are working correctly. I have a problem with constant animal loss due to predators, and deterring them through lighting and sound automation will help me avoid these losses. Video and cell-phone alerting of predators who go after my angora goats is a must. Angoras give birth in the spring. I need to be there to assist. If it happens in the cold, mortality rate is high. Remote video and sound alerts are critical. In the summer, birds decimate my raspberry and blackberry crops severely hampering profits. Motion and Sound automation will help! Soil temperature and moisture alerts controlling sprinkler irrigation would improve crop production tremendously! —Steve, Utah
And finally, some verse from one truly ambitious entrant:
For movies, my blinds need to set the mood,
With lights dimming slow so as not to be rude.
Music should flow to the basement and den,
to supply all our guests with a level of zen.
When my son gets home and watches TV,
it sure would be nice if my home notified me.
Lastly, but surely not in the least,
when my dog goes outside it would feed her a treat.
All of this is quite a large chore,
but I think I could do it with some help from Control4. —Terry, N.C.
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