Reinventing The Clapper with a knock-based home automation controller

Clap On!… Clap Off!… was super awesome when The Clapper came out in the mid-eighties. Now [Mathieu Stephan] is trying to make the concept much more functional. He put together a controller that lets you knoch on walls to control things around the house. It’s called the Toktoktok project and uses small boxes to receive user input and control items like lamps and computers.

A piezo element picks up the noises made by a user. Above [Mathieu] demonstrates how sensitive the element is, picking up scratching and knocking anywhere along this wall and displaying it as a waveform on the computer monitor. Clever processing and filtering of these noises lets the device convert them into different commands. He covers all of this in the video after the break, then demonstrates a bunch of functionality such as waking up and starting audio playback from a computer just by tapping on the coffee table.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the concept. One of our favorites is this door lock which listens for the secret knock. But [Mathieu] is trying to extend the functionality and bring it to a more general market.

Comments

  1. Aaron says:

    Awesome hack!

    “Knoch”? Good God.

  2. Jonathan says:

    Cool!
    Also: Note the 3d printed case :)

  3. Velli says:

    Now he needs to make the wall into a giant pointing device, like those guys did with the live-fire zombie game.

    I tried to replicate the video game with a ‘duino, but the chip is a little too slow for anything better than 6″ of resolution. That wouldn’t matter on this, though. Paint up some big fun “buttons” and you’ve got a massive “screen.”

  4. SpydaMonky says:

    One thing that needs to be considered is an algorithm to some how validate the knocks as a command and not a random knock. For instance I like to beat my desk when listening to an amping song, I would not want my lights to get all strobey on me! Very cool project and idea!!

  5. Unknownable says:

    @SpydaMonky…. I actually would love that!
    Get it to trigger to the vibrations of music (mainly bass)through the floor or the wall… and you have your own discotheque!

  6. Phil D says:

    I saw something similar a little while back – http://www.chrisharrison.net/index.php/Research/ScratchInput . I think he explains the concept even better and his interpretation seems slightly more advanced with the inclusion of guestures. In terms of the possibilities, I think we are really just scratching the surface here… (really wanted to work that in!)

  7. MS3FGX says:

    All the production files, BoM, source code will be released under a TAPR Open Hardware license if the indiegogo campaign is successful.

    Yeah…not liking this part.

  8. n0lkk says:

    This is going to have the same flaw as most inexpensive devices that use sound, false activation. My be less susceptible to false activation, than the clapper, but it will prove to be so all the same. In that wireless is going to used to ultimately control devices the an audio receiver is not really needed as demonstrated here. Just a transmitter without the audio receiver would get the job done.I don’t have any problem with Matthieu earning something for his efforts so for, but does something have to first be commercialized before going Open Source? Matthieu mentioned TAPR,AFAIK Tuscon Packet Radio never offered a commercial product,other than a TNC kit, and The TNC 1, TNC 2 are probably some of the best examples what the open hardware concept can achieve.

    • limpkin says:

      Hi n0lkk,

      Just to be clear, i’m not transmitting any audio in the wireless link, just the command if the algo finds the detected vibrations ok.
      It is not that I want it to be commercialized before going Open Source, it is just that I am saying this to motivate people to talk about this project around them :)

  9. jduhls says:

    So when someone knocks on my front door it turns my living room lights off? T’would be cool if it turned the porch light on, though! Or rang the doorbell to augment the door knock!

  10. manitou says:

    Could it be possible to use multiple boxes and synchronize them to triangulate where on the surface the knock was made? If so: what resolution could we expect to see?

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