Home automation without pulling wires

Here’s a bit of simple home automation using hacks with which we’re become pretty familiar. [Mrx23] combined OpenWRT, a microcontroller, and a set of RF controlled outlet switches to add automation to his plug-in devices. An RF remote that controls the switched outlets has been connected to an Arduino. The router communicates with the Arduino via a serial connection. And the router is controlled by a web interface which means you can use a smartphone or other web device to control the outlets.

The best thing about this system is the power that the router wields. Since it has an underlying Linux kernel you have the option of setting CRON jobs to turn lighting on and off, and group settings can be established to set up a room’s lighting level for watching movies, hosting guests, etc. Combine this with the fact that OpenWRT can use port forwarding for Internet control and the possibilities really start to open up.

[Thanks Arpad]

Machine your own Ring Light

[Alan] acquired a stereo microscope from eBay, and decided to save some more money by designing, machining, and assembling his own arc reactor ring light to go along. After finding an LED driver board sitting around as well as ordering some surface mount LEDs, he set about using a lathe to cut away a block of lexan, making sure to include slots for the lights as well as the microscope mount point. Follow the link to see the detailed build photos, as well as some comparison shots with and without the ring light.

A month or two earlier though, and [Alan] would have had a fantastic start to an Iron Man costume.