Home Is Where the Hack Is - Winners Announcement
With this Design Challenge, we on the element14 community asked: why buy when you can D.I.Y.? Our community is full of people who might go to a hardware store, see a smart home device, and think, "I bet I could build that myself, and it would be cheaper and have better features!" And with this challenge, they proved it!
In the course of the challenge we saw projects around home security, energy monitoring, even the very timely topic of keeping the home sanitized against pathogens. We want to thank our Avnet colleagues kevinkeryk and bwilless for helping our e14 team to judge the wonderful submissions. These four projects were our favorites in a great batch, so let's celebrate these feats of home hacking!
We often think of the home or consumer market and the industrial market as two separate worlds, but this winning project from Mateusz Pajak works to bring ideas from the factory into the home. A kind of secured homebrew programmable logic controller, as one of our judges put it, the Azure Sphere Home Process Controller could be used for many different smart home applications, given its carefully thought out and flexible design, with more rigorous security and reliability than is sometimes found on common consumer items.
Mateusz will receive a DJI Mavic 2 Pro photography drone with a Mavic 2 Fly More kit for this grand prize winning project!
This project checks all of the boxes for me, very well documented. Also impressed by designing their own PCB accessories for the Azure Sphere Starter Kit. All around, it's a useful building management application idea.
Lots of smart home products are obvious: refrigerators, thermostats, and, of course, toilet paper rolls! Robert Liski takes an unsung hero of the home and gives it the Robocop treatment: essential toilet paper data is tracked in the cloud, important toiler paper alerts are presented to residents, and the beautiful blinky LEDs that have always been missing from this bathroom fixture finally get added. I'm imagining Robert, dressed like Steve Jobs, presenting the final version to a rapt audience that cheers for every new feature mentioned?
Who doesn't love a way over-engineered household object? Well documented, great work on the hardware, a very creative application!
Humans spend a lot of resources controlling the air in the spaces where we work and live, and the quality of that air is a major concern. Andrei Florian's project turned its attention to this important application, as he built IntlAir, a secure, automated air filter based around the Azure Sphere which monitors indoor conditions and responds accordingly. With an eye to the existing market for such products, Andrei's solution is less expensive than the competition but still fully featured by comparison, with a useful online dashboard and the advantage of being able to turn one's preferred air filter intelligent regardless of its manufacturer, increasing its flexibility.
A very polished project around a pretty universal concern for indoor spaces. Great work with documenting it, and it was nice to see the consideration of how it would fit into the current market for such devices.
Dariusz's home had a mixed setup for water heating, with a somewhat aged gas heater doing part of the work and a more modern solar heating system doing the rest. Switching between these systems was quite manual, however, so he took the opportunity of this Design Challenge to make that process smart! His IoT home control and monitoring project not only manages the water heating handoffs between the photovoltaic panels and the gas heater, it also provides an Azure Sphere IoT Central dashboard with useful and actionable data, for example reporting on when the PV panels might be losing their efficiency and in need of maintenance.
Dariusz will receive a , a , and a for this great Azure Sphere project!
Very interesting application for a home that has some modern technology and some more tried and true vintage tech, great to see a method of integrating those two to make things easier for the homeowner.
Congratulations to all of our winners, and see all of the submitted projects here!