The Universal Geospatial Light Switch

project rita

Home automation has existed in one form or another for quite some time, but we thought this take on controlling lights was quite interesting.  Instead of having a menu of lights that you can turn on and off, this Android app lets you point your phone at the device and turn it on or of. Undoubtedly similar to how [Darth Vader] controls his lights at home.

Although the really technical details of this project aren’t listed, this setup reads the compass and GPS output of the Android device to figure out where it’s pointed in space. Combined with a script that understands the layout of the room, and an [X10] automation controller, it’s able to control lights accurately.

Be sure to check out the video of this device in action, or check out [Mike]‘s [Project Rita] blog to see the other interesting projects that he’s working on!

14 thoughts on “The Universal Geospatial Light Switch

  1. interesting hack. its kind of startreck in the sense that you can tell the computer to turn something specific off without siri confirming it, after all you are standing in front of the light so you don’t need confirmation but the dimmer switch is nice =P

    just goes to show that to get to the point where something is scifi it has to be over complicated slightly. we initiated few understand this and try to make it convenient as possible for the uninitiated to use it in a practical setting without leaving them wanting for a feature that can be expanded. this is an example of something that could possibly be taken a step further but in the landscape of cellphone apps it would be as simple as loading up the app for the entertainment devices (ir blaster on the same system to turn on the tube or the radio or even ones computer)

    still though it begs the question of how useful would this be in our closed circuit world controlled by switches and potentiometers isolated from the touch of our ever connected devices. Though we are getting closer to populating our still in alpha starships with the comforts and conveniences of our fictional dreamscapes.

    I’m still waiting for the matrix jack and the holo-deck…

  2. This is a really awesome hack! I know someone will get around to it before me, but as awesome as this is, a sonic screwdriver or home made tricorder would be the ultimate hack/GIFT.

    1. Same thought I had… until I got my new phone. The AGPS system tends to work surprisingly well at guessing position when there isn’t a full GPS lock, i.e. at cold boot and in weak GPS satellite areas.

  3. Very cool. but I hate leaving my GPS on. Wonder how difficult it would be to have the camera recognize the light you’re pointing at, Google Goggles style, and turn it on that way.

  4. I like the augmented reality as a proof of concept, but in terms of practicality it’s enormously inferior to a menu based system. Even if you maintained a constant gps lock to take lock time out of the equation, lifting up the phone and pointing it at something still takes longer than hitting a menu button. It’s certainly cool, though.

  5. Its still just a fancy remote, that controls another remote, that does the work.

    pressure sentive floors, million ways to use that for lights and such, tap your foot pointed in the direction of the object to turn on or off, set to turn on and off by just walking in or leaving, use weight input to custom it for every person in your house.

    notice to many feet or odd sizes, security cams start to roll.

    In that way it doesn’t require lots of user input that they are aware of much, As its still just a remote control if you gotta hold it.

  6. Great idea! That’s a novel use of CV.
    (although that’s a lot of work to turn off a light. still think pressing a button or a verbal command is easier)

  7. How on earth is that in any way possible as anything but a proof-of-concept? Not trying to be a nay-sayer, but I’ve considered doing the same thing for “pairing” phones over the Internet (for file transfers etc.) and the GPS sensors in phones are nowhere near accurate enough for this.

    Assuming you manage to get a GPS lock accurate to within a few decimeters it would work, but have the coordinates jump 20 meters into the neighbours yard and the best you could hope for was pointing in the direction of your home (relative to your faulty GPS location) and toggle random devices.

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