TV Host Transforms Apartment into Smart Home


"The Ben Heck Show" morphs average products into time-saving solutions.

Jul. 25, 2011 — by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Who the heck is Ben Heck? We’re not entirely sure, but he wants to show you how to transform your home into a smart home.

Heck actually has a show called (what else?) “The Ben Heck Show,” which can be found on the website element14. It’s here that Heck “morphs average household products into time-saving and convenient solutions.”

In the latest episode, Heck is handling one of our favorite topics: home automation.

Using a Parallax Spinneret Web Server development board, a propeller microcontroller, and an Ethernet cable, Heck was able to fashion a web app that buzzes open his door via an Android-powered smartphone.

That’s not the only home control trick that Heck has up his sleeve. The episode also shows viewers how to add a little automation to a standard home thermostat. Using a stepper motor, the built-in Real-Time-Clock (RTC) in the Parallax Spinneret Web Server, and a makeshift timing belt made from a microphone wire, Heck can pre-set temperature at programmed times of the day.

“It would be awesome to live in a fully-automated robo-home straight out of a science fiction movie, and not have to worry about those tedious tasks like waiting for a package to be delivered,” said Heck. “But since that’s a little out of reach for most people, I’ve come up with a few simple tricks that can help turn your humble abode into an automated, intelligent oasis.”

Check out the Home Automation episode below, or visit element14 to challenge Ben with a future build. “The Ben Heck Show” is a bi-weekly online TV series, only available on element14.

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