About: nathael

Créateur

(Re)Gain control of your house

With DomoTab, take or retake control of your house with ease. Centralizing, programming and controlling your set up freely is at last possible. Designed to make your life easier, DomoTab centralizes the control of all controllable elements in and around your house in a single product. No need to juggle remotes any more, DomoTab takes care of everything. But that’s not all! The unlimited openness of DomoTab allows you to adapt it to your needs and the variety of its interfaces will make it a key element of your set up.

DomoTab is a smart home’s brain (a domotic central unit) whose modularity allows you to interconnect all existing protocols, wired or not. Coming in several shapes and sizes (Stand alone box, wall panel, tablet or simple box in the meter cupboard), DomoTab works with the DTPlug smart bridge, available as a docking station for the tablet or an independent box.

By combining the different modules developed by our designers with community sourced ones and your own you can build a system perfectly tailored to your own set up.

DomoTab lets you:

  • Centralize monitoring and control of your entire environment (heating, lighting, blinds, Multimedia, CCTV, sprinklers, pool…)
  • Automate a number of activities and avoid menial chores
  • Save money thanks to a smarter home
  • Store and spread your data on the network
  • Take part in the development of free domotics (smart home technology) and create your installation yourself

Get your house a brain, give it DomoTab!

Birth of the DomoTab project

The idea of creating a free smart home brain didn’t come out of thin air.

I had been looking around every now and then for a way to build a smart home system for several years, as part of a (unfortunately still) future project to build myself a house. In the course of 2010, people also started asking me advice on the different existing solutions to this smart home technologies dilemma I was still pondering.

There are many options to create an autonomous system: cheap ARM boards, from about a hundred Euros for the simplest models with a few hundred MB memory and a few MHz to recent beagleboardTM or pandaboardTM, other similar boards, plug computers, and up to “sticks” based on the Raspberry PiTM model. But all these solutions come with new problems: too few connections, no box, no screen, no handling of smart home protocols, expensive, and usually more than one of these. And I wasn’t impressed with the alternative of using a PC (expensive, noisy, power hungry) with a USB key per protocol (expensive as well) either.

A few month before, I had bought a (well, 10 actually) plug computer and a USB touch screen. This seemed like a good starting point, especially since I had been able to easily run my favourite Linux distribution on it, the one I was planning to use as a basis for my smart home platform.

But problems crept up soon enough.

Out of the ten plug computers I originally bought (bulk buy to save on P&P and import duty), two died out really quick and the others suffer from serious heat dissipation issues. Specifically, they restart every time they overheat, and they overheat every time both their Gigabyte Ethernet interfaces are used…

Moreover, connecting the screen through USB uses up both USB ports… no more room for a USB key, a hard drive or a smart home USB key.

This is when I started to envision a custom made aluminium case. I happened to know someone (the creator of Langear) who made compact PC boxes. We could have integrated in one of those neat cases a plug computer, heat dissipator, a USB hub to get a few extra USB ports and a screen modified to use only one USB port and be powered by the internal power suply.

After some pondering about the general specifications, we hit a wall: the availability of parts to integrate. The selected touch screen was already out of production. This had already happened to me a few months before on another project, stopping it dead in its tracks. I wasn’t getting myself in a situation like that again.

Around that time, I was making a sizeable contribution to the creation of a system for a client and I started to realize that creating a product from scratch wasn’t as daunting as I thought.

This prompted me to start the project (then called DomoPlug) in August 2010 to create a product on my own terms instead of having to work on creating some industrialist’s product. This allowed me to design an open, community focused product, an give free smart home technologies a breath of fresh air.

JDLL contest

Mug tibug

tibug

Try to win a “tibug” sticker (50 first good answers) or one of the two “tibug” mugs involved. It’s simple, answer the following question:

What does our “tibug” logo stand for ? (Edit: answer is now here)

Warning, the question is about what is symbolised by the logo, not what is used to represent it (a capacitor, a chip, and a led). The answer is short and has to be specific.

Contest rules :

  • Open game, with no purchase requirement.
  • Limited to one answer per physical person.
  • Open from Monday November 12th 2012 to Saturday November 17th 2012 at 10h00 (JDLL openning)
  • Rewards will be given to the participants only during JDLL 2012 event (17 and 18 November 2012).
  • Data gathered during the contest will be used to send you information emails about the DomoTab project.
  • According to the law, you have the right to modify or request removal of your personal data from our databases.

Techno-Innov at JDLL 2012

Techno-Innov will present the DomoTab project during JDLL 2012 on 17 and 18 November, in Lyon (Maison pour tous – Salle des Rancy)

For the curious ones : global presentation of the whole DomoTab project, display of the first prototypes of the DomoTab control unit and it’s variants, and pre-sales of the DTPlug (Modular home-automation bridge).

Of course, if it happens at JDLL, it’s because the ahrdware is open (licence Créative Commons – CC-by-sa-nc) and the software “libre” !

DTPlug

DTPlug is an extension box for DomoTab intended to provide a bridge between the tablet versions and wired networks.


dtplug

Originally planned as a simple extension card to be integrated in the tablet’s power supply, we finally decided to make DTPlug a stand alone product. Like DomoTab, this is a modular product that can be used independently, uses the same module format and an ARM Cortex-M3 micro-controller,NXP‘s LPC1764.

While the LPC1764 doesn’t have a lot of memory (128KB of flash memory, 32KB of SRAM), it has enough to control an IP stack (such as lwip), a mini OS (such as CoOS) and all connected modules.

On top of its Ethernet 10/100 Mbps, USB Device port and SD card slot (to store temperature readings or read configuration data for instance), DTPlug has 4 UEXT extension ports (two of which have extra GPIOs) and a PLC port (power line communication).

In order to fulfil its primary function (power or recharge the DomoTab tablet), DTPlug includes a MeanWell EPS-35-5 Power supply which can provide 30W of useful load, shared between the USB charge sockets. When used with our custom USB charge cable, DTPlug can provide up to 5A of charging current, as defined by USB Battery Charging Specifications (be aware that D+ and D- signals aren’t connected on those two ports).