Remote Control of Home Appliances

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IOWA STATE UNIVERSIT
Y

Remote Control of Home
Appliances

Project Plan for Senior Design: Dec0905


Team Members and Authors:

Elie Abichar

Chris Tefer

Ananta Upadhyaya


Faculty
Advisor:

Dr. Ahmed Kamal


2/27/2009






This document contains the project plan for creation of a system of components that will control home
appliances through a web application interface.

Remote Control of Home Appliances Page |
2

Contents

i.

List of Figures

................................
................................
................................
..............................
4

ii.

List of Definitions

................................
................................
................................
........................
5

1.

Problem Statement

................................
................................
................................
.....................
6

2.

Need Statement

................................
................................
................................
..........................
6

3.

Concept Sketch

................................
................................
................................
...........................
6

4.

System Block Diagram

................................
................................
................................
.................
7

5.

System Description
................................
................................
................................
......................
8

5.1

User

................................
................................
................................
................................
....
8

5.2

Server

................................
................................
................................
................................
.
8

5.3

Access Point

................................
................................
................................
........................
8

5.4

Device Control Unit (DCU)

................................
................................
................................
....
8

5.5

Devices

................................
................................
................................
...............................
8

5.6

System Operating Environment

................................
................................
............................
8

5.7

User Interface
................................
................................
................................
......................
8

5.7.1

Interface Screen Flow Diagram

................................
................................
......................
9

5.7.2

Login Screen
................................
................................
................................
.................
9

5.7.3

Home Appliance Change Password

................................
................................
..............

10

5.7.4

Home Appliance Administrator Main

................................
................................
...........

11

5.7.5

Home Appliance User Main

................................
................................
.........................

12

5.7.6

Air Conditioner Control

................................
................................
...............................

13

5.7.7

Garage Door Control

................................
................................
................................
...

14

6.

Requirements

................................
................................
................................
...........................

15

6.1

Functional Requirements

................................
................................
................................
...

15

6.1.1

Access Point

................................
................................
................................
...............

15

6.1.2

Two
-
Way Communication Receiver

................................
................................
.............

15

6.1.3

Microcontroller Units
................................
................................
................................
..

15

6.1.4

Server Application

................................
................................
................................
......

15

6.1.
5

Client Interface
................................
................................
................................
...........

15

6.2

Non Functional Requirements

................................
................................
............................

15

7.

Market and Literature Survey
................................
................................
................................
.....

16

7.2

Similar Systems
................................
................................
................................
..................

16

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7.3

Tech
nologies

................................
................................
................................
.....................

16

7.3.1

Microcontrollers

................................
................................
................................
.........

16

7.3.2

Security Systems
................................
................................
................................
.........

16

7.3.3

Wireless Communication Technologies

................................
................................
........

17

7.3.4

Server

................................
................................
................................
........................

17

8.

Deliverables

................................
................................
................................
..............................

17

8.1

Server Application
................................
................................
................................
..............

17

8.2

Access Point

................................
................................
................................
......................

17

8.3

Device c
ontrol Unit (DCU)
................................
................................
................................
...

17

8.4

User Manual

................................
................................
................................
......................

18

8.5

Project Plan

................................
................................
................................
.......................

18

8.6

Project Poster

................................
................................
................................
....................

18

8.7

Design Documents

................................
................................
................................
.............

18

8.8

Final Report

................................
................................
................................
.......................

18

9

Work Plan

................................
................................
................................
................................
.

18

9.1

Project Risks

................................
................................
................................
......................

18

9.1.1

Time management
................................
................................
................................
......

18

9.1.2

Project Complexity

................................
................................
................................
.....

18

9.1.
3

Integration of various components

................................
................................
..............

18

9.1.4

New Technologies

................................
................................
................................
......

18

9.2

Resource Requirements…………………………………………………………………………………………………………18

9.3

Work Breakdown

................................
................................
................................
...............

19

9.3.1

Work Progression

................................
................................
................................
.......

19

9.4

Pr
oject Schedule

................................
................................
................................
................

20

9.4.1

Project Plan Schedule

................................
................................
................................
.

20

9.4.2

Project Development Schedule
................................
................................
....................

20




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i.

List of Figures

Figure 1: Concept Sketch of the System

................................
................................
...............................
6

Figure 2: System Block Diagram

................................
................................
................................
...........
7

Figure 3: Interface Screen Flow Diagram

................................
................................
..............................
9

Figure 4: Login Interface
................................
................................
................................
......................
9

Figure 5: Password Interface

................................
................................
................................
.............

10

Figure 6: Admin Interface

................................
................................
................................
..................

11

Figure 7: Application Interface
................................
................................
................................
...........

12

Figure 8: Air Conditioner Control Interface

................................
................................
.........................

13

Figure 9: Garage Door Control Interface
................................
................................
.............................

14

Figure 10: Work Progression

................................
................................
................................
.............

19

Figure 11: Project Plan Schedule

................................
................................
................................
........

20

Figure 12: Project Development Schedule

................................
................................
..........................

20




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ii.

List of Definitions


Access Point


Device that allows wireless communication devices to connect to a wireless network
using standard wireless technologies

Device


In this context device

refers to any appliance that will be controlled by the product

Device Control Unit (DCU)


A control unit
that includes

a microcontroller and a wireless transceiver

Microcontroller


A chip capable of controlling overall operation of the device

Transceive
r


A wireless device capable of transmitting a receiving commands

Server


Both the personal computer and the application that runs on the computer used to send
messages to the access point for controlling the device

Wireless


A type of communication bet
ween two points that uses radio waves instead of wires


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1.

Problem Statement

The objective of this project is to
design and implement
a system that will enable users

to
remotely
control their home appliances
or check their status,
through the
Internet
. Users
will be provided with a
web

interface using which they will be able to communicate wit
h their home appliance such as a
ir
con
ditioner or a garage door. For e
xample, user will be able to check if
the air conditioner is

on or off

as
well as adjust the tempera
ture as needed. It will also be possible to obtain the present temperature in
the house.

A u
ser will
be asked to login to the system. Upon authentication, a user will be presented to the
interface screen where an appliance can be selected.
The user will then be able to control or check the
status of the device.


2.

Need Statement

The system designed

will provide a new product to the newly emerging automation and controls
market. It will be used in households to remotely control and monitor various home appliances through
the
Internet
.
Internet

has proven to be the most popular medium of communication

and the ability of
this system to operate from any device with
Internet

capability will make this system useful for a large
number of consumers.

3.

Concept Sketch

This section presents a concept sketch of the system which serves to illustrate the system, i
ts interface
and its use. Shown in Figure 1, is a user accessing the computer to control and communicate with the
appliance by sending commands via
Internet
.



Figure
1
: Concept Sketch of the System

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4.

System Block Diagram

This se
ction presents a block diagram of the system and its components, which serves to illustrate

principal parts or functions

of the system and the interaction between them.

For our system, the main
hardware parts are the server, access point, two
-
way communica
tion channel and the micro controller
which controls the appliance.
The transceiver and the microcontroller make up the Device Control Unit
(DCU).




Figure
2
: System Block Diagram





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5.

System Description

This section provides a detailed description of each component in the above system block diagram and
explains the functional role of these components in the system.

5.1

User

U
ser will login to the

server using a web based

user interface on any computing device connected to the
Internet
. Upon authentication the user will
connect to the server to check the status of the home
appliances and control them
.

5.2

Server

Server will
host a web application that will authenticate users a
nd allow them to send commands to the
devices
. It will i
n
terpret user commands
and send device level commands to the
Device Control Unit

through the

Internet

using a wireless
access point
.

5.3

Access Point

Access point in this system is a wireless router. This

device will relay commands from the server to the
Device Control Unit (DCU) and from the DCU to the server wirelessly.

5.4

Device Control Unit (DCU)

Device control unit is the major component of

this system. It consists of a m
icrocontroller chip and a
transce
iver. This unit will connect directly to the device and control the functioning of the device based
on the commands received from the server. DCU will communicate with the access point in order to
receive commands and send responses to the server in order

to provide status data to the user.

5.5

Devices

This

refers to the home appliance that is controlled by the DCU
. Appliances considered for this project
are Air conditioner and garage door. Some of the appliances that could be controlled with this system
are

l
ights, sprinkler, coffee pot, DVR, Home security system etc.

5.6

System Operating Environment

Our system consists of several units that would operate both indoors and outdoors. Most of the system
components will operate indoors under normal room temperature. T
he device control unit would
operate both indoors and outdoors depending on the location of the device. The system would operate
within the temperature and humidity limits for proper operation of hardware. A secure
Internet

connection would be necessary fo
r the operation of the system.

5.7

User Interface

The user should

start a web browser and connect to the server through a known IP address or host
name. The user
will

login

to a so
ftware graphic user interface (
GUI) in order
to
authenticate.
I
f the
username
and password

combination

is valid, the GUI would lead the user to the Home Appliance main
menu, where the user would be able to select the specific home appliance he/she is
wishes

to control or
communicate
with
. Depending on the selected appliance, the GUI

would start a new frame that displays
a list of options that the user can select in order to communicate and/or control the appliance.
F
or
example,
the garage door

options would be either “open garage door”, “close garage door”
,

or

get
garage door status

.

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The software system would support multiple user cl
assification, such as

an

admin

or
a
regular user. The
admin

can

enable
or disable
options for the regular
users
. In addition
, the admin

would be able to
remove a user,

block a specific user from using the system
, or change user privileges
. This featu
re would
allow the admin

to manage the system.

5.7.1

Interface Screen Flow Diagram


Figure
3
: Interface Screen Flow Diagram

5.7.2

Login Screen


Figure
4
: Login Interface

1

3

5

4

2

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Home Appliance Login:

Purpose:
To authenticate

the user

Event:

The user starts the program

1.

Text Box:
Get the user’s username as input

2.

Password Box:

Get the password to the username entered as input

3.

Combo Box:

Select to login as either administrator or user

4.

Button:
Check if the username and password match and let the user login in case they do,
otherwise keep the user out

5.

Button:
Exit the program


5.7.3

Hom
e Appliance Change Password


Figure
5
: Password Interface

Home Appliance Change
Password:

Purpose:
To let
the user or the administrator

change their password

Event:

The user clicks change password

1.

Text Box:
Get the user’s username as input

2.

Password Box:

The user’s current password

3.

Password Box:

The user’s new password

4.

Password Box:

The user’s new password

5.

Button:
Set the new password

6.

Button:
Go back to the previous page


4

1

2

3

5

6

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5.7.4


Home Appliance Administrator Main


Figure
6
: Admin Interface

Home Appliance Administrator Main:

Purpose:
To let the administrator manage the system

Event:

The user login as
an
administrator

1.

Text Box:
The username to be created

2.

Password Box:

The password for that new username

3.

Password Box:

The password for that new username repeated

4.

Button:

Adds the user

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

13

8

9

10

11

12

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5.

List:
L
ist of the users in the database

6.

Button:
Remove the selected user in
the user list

7.

Button:
Go to the “Change Password” p
age

8.

Button:

Set the selected privileges for the selected user

9.

Radio Button:

Enable the user to control the A/C

10.

Radio Button:

Enable the user to control the fan

11.

Radio Button:

Enable the user to control the
heater

12.

Radio Button:

Enable the user to contro
l the garage door

13.

Button:

Exit the program


5.7.5

Home Appliance User Main


Figure
7
: Application Interface

Home Appliance User Main:

Purpose:
To link functionality to
the user

as a regular user

Event:

The user login correctly

1.

List:
A list of home appliances that can be controlled

2.

Button:
Select the home appliance and go to the home appliance control menu

3.

Button:

G
o to the “Change Password” page

4.

Button:
Exit the program

3

2

1

4

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5.7.6

Air Conditioner Control


Figure
8
: Air Conditioner Control Interface

Air Conditioner Control:

Purpose:
To control the air condition
er

Event:

The user starts the program and selects the air conditioner as the appliance to control

1.

Text Box:
Outputs the air condition
er

current condition ( on/ off and if on the current
temperature)

2.

Button:
Get the current condition of the air condition
er

3.

Text Box:

Get the new temperature to be set as input from the user

4.

Button:
Set the current temperature to the given input

5.

Radio Button:
Turn on the air conditioner

6.

Radio Button:
Turn off the air conditioner

7.

Radio Button:
Turn on the heater

8.

Radio Button:
Turn off th
e heater

9.

Radio Button:
Turn on the fan

10.

Radio Button:
Turn off the fan

11.

Button:
Update the status of the air conditioner

3

1

4

2

11

12
22
2

7

10

9

5

8

6

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12.

Button:
Go back to the “Home Appliance Main”


5.7.7

Garage Door Control


Figure
9
:
Garage Door Control Interface

Garage Door Control:

Purpose:
To control the garage door

Event:

The user starts the program and selects the garage door as the object to control

1.

Radio Button:
Set the garage door to open

2.

Radio Button:
Set the garage door to cl
ose

3.

Text Box:
Output the door current status ( open or close )

4.

Button:
Get the current status of the garage door

5.


Button:
Update the status of the garage door ( open / close )

6.

Button:
Go back to the “Home Appliance Main”




3

4

5

6

1

2

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6.

Requirements

6.1

Functional
Requirements

6.1.1

Access Point



Must Be Wireless



Must use a wireless technology

6.1.2

Two
-
Way Communication Receiver



Must be able to send and receive messages from the access po
int



Must communicate with the access point wirelessly



Must interface directly to the Microc
on
troller

6.1.3

Microcontroller Units



Must be able to receive commands from the re
ceiver



Must be able to send status messages to the re
ceiver



Must be able to control the d
evice



Must be able to parse and interpret com
mands

6.1.4

Server Application



Must be accessible from the
Internet



Must allow multiple user connections



Must allow users to control multiple devices



Must allow or disallow a user to control a device



Must send commands through the access point to the device microcontro
ller



Must maintain

a list of users that can access the devices



Must be able to
authenticate

users

6.1.5

Client Interface



Must be able to receive user input



Must display the devices, and controls to those devices, to the user



Must have a logon method for verifying users

6.2

Non
Functional Requirements



Access point must have a footprint of less than 50 feet



Wireless antennas must be shorter than 4 inches (internal preferred)



GUI must have an intuitive look and feel for the user


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7.

Market
and

Literature Survey

This section presents t
he market survey our team conducted to research similar
systems available in the
market. This market survey also includes a research on various devices and technologies available in the
market that can be used in the implementation of our project.

7.2

Similar
Systems

Several systems similar to the one we are designing were found in the market. Some of the systems and
system components are discussed below.

HAI System



HAI is a complete home control system designed to control and monitor variety of home
applia
nces. HAI products include computer software and hardware, touch
screen interfaces, keypads,
consoles
and remote controls which control home appliances through the
Internet
. HAI software
comes
on
a USB drive

that plugs into any computer and directly communicates with the appliance
.
Components of this system can be purchased separately. The total cost of the system is
approximately

$1000
.

Proliphix


Proliphix is a web
-
enabled IP Network
t
hermostat
. This
therm
ostat can be connected via
Internet

to a network and is able to serve its own web pages to allow the user to configure and monitor
their thermostats using a standard web browser.
The cost of Proliphix thermostat starts at $250.

7.3

Technologies

Some of the tec
hnologies that can be used in
the
implementation of our project are given below.

7.3.1

Microcontrollers



AVR


This is a low power, high performance microcontroller
.



TI MSP430


These microcontrollers are built by Texas Instruments. They are designed for
low cos
t low power consumption applications. It is mainly used in measuring devices.



MIPS



MIPS is
a microcontroller
primarily used in embedded systems.

7.3.2

Security Systems



All security measures can be made on the server side



Methods for passing secure input

o

One
-
way encryption


The user data is hashed so that it cannot be decrypted

o

Two
-
way encryption


The user data is encrypted and decrypted



Single key


One key is used to encrypt and decrypt



Public and Private keys


The public key is used to encrypt and th
e
private key is used to decrypt (usually used in authentication)



Secure File Storage



A file or database must store passwords and user information on the
server for authentication. The authentication file can be stored in two
places, on the web service roo
t, where it can be accessed by anyone with a
connection to the server, and outside the web service root where only the
server may access it

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17



On the web service root


The file must be completely encrypted, except
where information is already public



Outside
the web service root


Passwords should be encrypted to allow for
user privacy and permissions should be set for administrator access only

7.3.3

Wireless Communication Technologies



W
i
-
Fi


a wireless networking technology which provides high speed powe
rful netwo
rk
connections. Wi
-
Fi has a
range of up

to 100 meters and bandwidth of more than 11000
kbps.




Zigbee



a communication protocol which is designed to consume less power. It can work
on a single battery for up

to 1000 days. Zigbee has a simple design and i
s less expensive. It is
ideal
for

sensors which do not require long range but need low energy consumption. Zigbee
has a range of 1
-
75 meters and its bandwidth is up to 250 kbps




Blue
tooth



a wireless system that has a range of
up to 100

meters. Bluetooth is also
designed for low power consumption and has a battery life of up to 7 days.

7.3.4

Server



System should be
Internet

accessible and able to run a web service such as:

o

Apache


Open source web service that is both Linux and Windows compati
ble

o

Microsoft IIS


Web service that is Windows only



Hardware Requirements

o

Pentium III 900 MHz or
better

o

256 MB of RAM or more

o

20 GB of hard drive space or greater

o

Ethernet LAN adapter



System ma
y

need another connection to the access point

8.

Deliverables

Bel
ow is the list of items that would be delivered to the client upon completion of this project.

8.1

Server Application

The Server application that will maintain the list of users, authenticate them and enable communication
between the user and the microcontro
ller

8.2

Access Point

The Access Point

will be
a wireless router that will use
one
of the
standard

wireless technologies.

8.3

Device control Unit

(DCU)

This unit is a combination of a wireless transceiver and the Microcontroller. The wireless transceiver will
receive the user commands from the server and transmit the status data to the server and the user.

The
DCU will control the device.

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8.4

User Manual

Th
is manual will provide the user

with

detailed steps for
the
operation of various components of the
system. It will include a detailed interface description and explain various capabilities of the interface.

8.5

Project Plan

Project plan will provide our clie
nt with a description of our goal as well as the schedule we will follow.

8.6

Project Poster

Project poster will be used to
showcase the project to professors and students.

8.7

Design Documents

These documents will describe technical design and specifications o
f the system.

8.8

Final Report

Final report will document the overall project. It will contain all the documentation done throughout the
project and explain on the end result.

9


Work Plan

9.1

Project Risks

Some of the risks that we might have to deal with are gi
ven below.

9.1.1

Time management

Currently,
there

are three people working on this project
and all three
are full time students.
W
e
will
have to do well in other courses, as well as
allocate time to finish

this project on time.

9.1.2

Project Complexity


This project
is one of the most complex project
s

that we have
worked on
as undergrad
uate

students.

It is important to define the scope of our project in order to limit the complexity.


9.1.3

Integration of various components

The system we are designing contains various comp
onents. The system will only operate if all
components are functioning properly. Our system will not operate unless we integrate all the
components of the system

9.1.4

New Technologies

For this project we might have to
use

new hardware and so
ftware devices whic
h we have never
used before. Team members might not have enough knowledge about these devices and
systems.

9.2

Resource requirements

For this project two separate components make up the estimated resource requirements:



All work will be completed as a whole for the team. While some tasks will be assigned,
each member will be expected to do an equal amount of work.



Financial requirements:

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19

o

Funding will be required to purchase various components of the system.


9.3

Work Breakd
own

9.3.1

Work Progression

Work will

be divided into several areas that will progress linearly.



Research


All areas of both software and hardware will be researched before work begins



Hardware


The devices must be obtained or created



Software



GUI and server applications must be coded



Integration



The software and hardware components will be integrated



Testing



The project, as a whole, must be tested for final the production



Figure
10
: Work Progression



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9.4

Project
Schedule

9.4.1

Project Plan Schedule


Figure
11
: Project Plan Schedule

9.4.2

Project Development Schedule


Figure
12
: Project Development Schedule