Here’s what voice-controlled Android home automation looks like [video]

May 8, 2013
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With help of Nexus 4, apps and some extra gadgets an Android user turned his home into a voice-controlled environment, capable to respond to various voice-based inputs and offer a desired action.

Android-based home automation has been a hot topic for a few years now, but not all Android users are actually able or interested in turning their Android devices into powerful gadgets capable to control various elements of their homes.

Doug Gregory is one Nexus 4 user whose home is a lot different. With help of Tasker, he managed to turn the Nexus handset into a home-controlling tool. From turning on and off the various lights in his apartment using a variety of voice commands to turning on and controlling the Google TV setup (again by voice) and linking the lights with the on-screen entertainment, Gregory managed to automate certain procedures.

The video below shows you what he’s able to do in his home with the help of Android and without needing to use any other remotes or move around to switch on and/or off lights in different areas of the house.

While Tasker – check our How to use Tasker feature – seems to have been the main app for this particular home automation setup (also running on Google TV), other apps were used including Tasker plugins AutoVoice and AutoRemote, Netflix, XBMC with Yatse (on a different computer) and AutHomationHD. Gregory explains how it all works:

[...] most of the work is being done by a new Tasker plugin called AutoVoice. I’ve tied the AutoVoice Recognize task to the Google Now swipe up.

There are a few dozen Tasker profiles setup listening for certain words and phrases, which call upon predefined tasks. These tasks vary from individual light toggles, to predefined “scenes”, triggers for the Phone itself and AutoRemote messages received by the GoogleTV, also running Tasker.

Yatse is responsible for controlling the PC running XBMC, fed through the Google TV. I can call upon movies, music or TV shows, play/pause and request volume adjustments.

The Home Automation side is controlled by a Micasaverde VeraLite home controller, pushing Z-Wave switches and modules. Android communicates with the Vera through AutHomationHD, a third party app in the Play Store via Tasker.

[...] this setup is easy to implement and program. If you can handle Tasker, the rest is cake.

In addition to the phone and apps, Gregory also invested in other gadgets that are needed to perform such cool voice-controlled moves. As Android Police puts it, “the shopping list is quite simple” and includes a Mi Casa Vera VeraLite home controller (controlled by the AutoHomationHD) that costs around $180, 4 Z-Wave switches worth $50 each and an IR blaster.

Combined, the apps mentioned above cost around $10, while the total cost of such a setup is around $400 according to the publication, not including the Google TV and Android device. Gregory says on his YouTube channel that he made it work with a $300 investment.

Do you use Android to control your home? In case you have a video showing your invention, give us a shout.

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