Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Demo Coming Soon!

Tonight I updated the site and launched the code to create the public demo.  I'm in the process of moving from Tampa to Orlando this week, so I've had to pack all of my HomeNet gear. Once I get unpacked, I will work on getting my HomeNet demo setup again and you'll be able to see it online!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Today I got version 2.0 of the site launched and at the moment it looks exactly the same. All of the changes are behind the scenes. For most of Fall 2011 I worked on creating a Content Mangement System for the same platform that is based on.  I launched my personal website on it as a test bed and now I have incorporated all those improvements into

  1. I updated all of the code to meet my latest coding standards.
  2. Started adding phpdoc tags through out so I can auto generate documentation
  3. I wrote unit tests for all of the services and fixed LOTS of bugs (it's amazing my thesis project worked as well as it did)
  4. Incorporated a new permission system in to the entire website. A public demo of in action will be launched soon.
  5. Static Pages like index/about/contact all use the new cms system which allows me to easily edit the content.
  6. This blog will soon be moved over to the new cms system when I get some time. Blogger still works fine for now.

2012 is going to be awesome year as I finally get to dedicate more time to the project and hopefully I'll have it ready to launch publicly later this year.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Code Moved To GitHub

Tonight I finished moving all of the source code for homenet over to git hub where things are much easier manage.

You can find all of the code at Go fork it and add something new!

For those interested in following my daily progress, You can find my forks at

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New HomeNet App is Coming Soon

The Processing app I wrote to connect the nodes to the internet was a bit clunky and buggy. I've spent the last 3 weeks rewriting it using Java and the Netbeans GUI builder.

It now has many new features: a easy setup wizard, UPnP port forwarding, auto reconnect and more

I'm testing it some more this week but look for a release soon.

If you impatient and can work with java, the source is available on github

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why HomeNet is Different

HomeNet has many goals and features that I think are fundamentally different from existing systems.

The primary goal of HomeNet is to unify all of the current and future simple communication systems into a single network.

Currently the electronic systems in the home are an afterthought, a mess of wires running through walls back to a central computer. I propose that by using modular/prefab construction, a microcontroller, a cheap single chip computer, can be integrated into every piece of building and joined together during assembly on site to create a distributed computer network that wraps around the building. This network will consolidate existing control systems like security systems and thermostat controls into a single unified system that creates a foundation for a whole new generation of integrated devices. This way, inputs like light switches and security sensors are programmed rather than hard wired to outputs like lights, shades, locks and other actuators, creating a very flexible environment.

In my early research, I looked at existing systems and everything seemed like they were just bolted on to the house to make it "smart" rather than looking at how the technology could be integrated directly into the home and physically change how we construct buildings.

Lower Cost:

One of the problems that I identified at the beginning of the project is that the high cost current "Home Automation" systems prohibit their wide spread use. If I want to be able to integrate HomeNet directly into the home, cost becomes a huge factor. It has to be affordable. HomeNet tries to minimize costs by using hardware only as advance as needed. A lot of the professional equipment is more powerful than they need to be, it doesn't take much computing power to read a simple sensor or to turn on a relay.

There have been several "Internet of Things" projects that have been focused on trying to bring TCP/IP to every device in the home. In a network with thousands of devices it is waste of resources to bring TCP/IP to everyone of them, when simpler protocol would work.

HomeNet takes a different apporach. HomeNet clusters nearby devices into nodes. For example, a node integrated into a smart power outlet could also have a smart light switch and other devices connected to it. Then only a few nodes need to be powerful enough to directly connect to the internet and can act as a gateway for other, cheaper nodes nearby.

Open Source

HomeNet is based around creating open standards that anyone can pick up and use. It eliminates the barriers commonly found in other projects.

There are lots of proprietary "Smart Home Systems" on the market. While some use open protocols, I found them too ridged for large scale use. Often they required proprietary hardware or licensing that limits true competition and innovation.

HomeNet operates on the notion that the hardware platform and communication methods don't really matter, just that the nodes speak a common language, the HomeNet Packet Protocol.

There is growing movement of Open Source Hardware, like the Arduino project ( which aims to bring the power of AVR microcontrollers to the masses. HomeNet currently uses hardware based on the Arduino project for the HomeNet Nodes. Without any prior knowledge in electronics, I was able to use Arduino to create working prototypes.

Other companies like,, http;// and and others provide further support for open source hardware by making devices that are compatible with the Arduino platform.

Any sort of "Smart House" system needs to leverage the power of the community.

Initially for HomeNet to gain steam, there has to be a way for consumers to give the technology a try now, so that one day it can grow to the scale of being integrated into the home.

Currently I am focused on building a working prototype of HomeNet that the community can try out and experiment with.