Ryobi garage door openerSensor Use

We explained where sensors will be and how they work, so now it's time to focus on why they are there and what we expect to be able to do because they are. Some of this gets more direct coverage as we explain the controllers and effectors, but we need to explain where we're going so you can understand why we had to deploy these sensors to be able to make those things happen.

When one of our cars enters the driveway...

At the apron of the drive, a Bluetooth beacon receiver recognizes the car so the house can turn on the outside lights at its assigned garage space and open the garage door for that space. When the Bluetooth beacon at the garage sees the car, it can turn on the interior garage lights and initiate a message to occupants whose cars are not in their usual spaces to say you made it home OK.

Blue CrosstrekAs your car pulls into its space, the ultrasonic sensors and Lidar track its position it and the house signals it where to stop and unlocks the deadbolt on the door to the house. When the car's engine turns off, the Bluetooth beacon receiver signals that and a moment later, if the driver hasn't manually closed the garage door, the house will.

But just in case you only pulled back in for a moment to fetch a forgotten item, the garage door will stay open as long as the engine is running; closing things up behind you won't happen until a moment after you either turn off the engine or leave again.

When a garaged car starts...

The Bluetooth beacon receiver in the garage sees that and makes sure that the garage door is open. When the car pulls out into the driveway, the ultrasonic and Lidar detectors will see that but the garage door will not close unless and until the sensors at the apron to the drive see the car leaving. You may just have wanted, for example, to take the car out to air it out or wash it or do a little work on it, so the garage door will not close on you, the interior lights will stay on and the deadbolt to the house will remain unlocked.

Guest bedroomOften-empty rooms

Our project house has two guest bedrooms in a Jack & Jill arrangement; we know that most of the time they will be empty. Our CAP sensors detect when people are in a room and can help identify that a room is not in daily use. Based on that, the lights in those rooms can stay off, the ceiling fans don't need to run, and their influence over thermostats can be relaxed by as much as 15 degrees, as long as the dual-coil sensors above their doors can confirm that those doors are closed. If, for any reason, sensors indicate too much humidity in one of those rooms, the heating or cooling (as appropriate) system can be brought back into less-relaxed play and the ceiling fan turned on to help address that issue. If such a circumstance is not soon remedied, the house can send a notification to its occupants to look into it. 

In case of a fire

Even if the smoke alarms are the only sensors that detect a fire (that's unlikely given the hundreds of temperature measurements in the house), other sensors will play a role in what follows. The house has the ability to unlock all the deadbolts and put all doorway surveillance cameras into constant record mode, to phone the fire department and to turn off the gas line after the tap for the backup generator; these are all controller and effector roles, but one specific activity is a sensory showcase. A vanity panel at the front door (the kind that usually displays only a street address or family name) will change to display a floor plan of the house showing the location of every adult, child, infant or pet and every hot spot, all of which are constantly derived from analysis of the CAP arrays.


Control over the irrigation system is another confluence of sensory awareness. Start with weather data about past and expected rains, temperatures and sun intensity... layer in with soil moisture monitoring... keep an eye on the current wind speed... and nothing gets under-or over-watered by any combination of our sprinkling system with Mother Nature (except perhaps over-watering that's entirely due to Mother Nature).

And more

Monitoring the temperature of the stove top is the only way to switch the cooktop vent fan on and off. Watching for pixel shifts at a camera hidden in the back of the mailbox lets us know when mail arrives; and infrared proximity sensing tells us if we have any parcels.  At the front door, proximity sensing (as well as pixel shifting and other sensors) gives us one kind of doorbell alert for visitors who push the button and another for those who don't and also alert us to packages left at the door. The same monitoring that puts the irrigation on pause when winds are high also turns off ceiling fans on the porch, lanai and gazebo.

While we are leaving a few minor things out (we can address most of those when we discuss controllers and effectors), this lay of the land gives you a very good sense of the role that sensors play in granting a house a pragmatic sense of awareness.


Newstips Swoosh TM 210

Editorial Project House

© Copyright 2016, 2017 and 2018 Newstips, Lord Martin Winston and J2J Corporation; all rights reserved

Lot 14, Riding Ridge Court
Builder Don Cerra


Front elevation

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