Let’s see… how about a little background about me and what I’m trying to accomplish here. Three years ago, before a skiing injury left me a quadriplegic, I was living in Utah working as a controls engineer for a large ski lift manufacturer enjoying the outdoorsy life, but still staying true to my dorky roots with my profession. I loved the challenge of a complex controls problem and thrived on the systematic approach to make them happen. This stuff I still enjoy just as much, but maybe in a little different way now that I am paralyzed and can’t use my hands completely. So my project… what I am trying to accomplish over the next 6 months is to build a passively solar, completely accessible, intelligent home, designed from the ground up that will help make everything easier for me. I want automation of all the important appliances/lights, a house-wide media distribution center, and a way that I can control it with not only my hands, but also my voice. And… I need this all out of necessity, not just because it’s convenient. I want to be able to safely be as independent as possible, and this home will definitely be a huge, huge step in that direction.
So there it is! I’ve got some experience in various different things… controls, audio/video technology, HTPCs, networks, etc. and I’m looking to all of you to provide a little of your awesome, expert advice on what has worked for you in the past, and what I absolutely should take into consideration for my project. To get as much brainpower and knowledge together I’ve posted this at a variety of forums… those for people with disabilities like me, those for the audio/video enthusiasts, home automation techies, voice recognition peeps and whoever else I can think of. The exact forums that I’ve posted to are:
AVS Forum – Audio/Video/HTPC Forum
CareCure – Spinal Cord Injury Forum
CocoonTech – Home Automation Forum
Emotiva – Audio Forum
KnowBrainer – Voice Recognition Form
Promixis Girder 5.0 – Automation Forum
Anyways, this is what I know I want to begin with. Low voltage lights leading to the front door, a video/intercom system to check out the people banging on my door, remote/electronic door locks with a powered system to open the door, controllable lights and appliances, electric shades and window operators, automatic temperature on the shower, house wide multizone video/audio, all that I can control right from my computer, wall-mounted keypads, and a wi-fi enabled cell phone/PDA.
I have experience with many of the various different automation protocols INSTEON, X10, UPB, Z-wave, structured wiring. I have dabbled with Girder 5 and NetRemote 2. I own Emotiva amplifiers, JBL speakers, and Samsung LCDs. I use an overclocked Core i7 920 for my voice recognition duties with Dragon NaturallySpeaking, and also use the system as a HTPC with 8 TB of storage. Basically, I’ve got a lot of the pieces, just need to start putting them all together to make a beautiful puzzle.
So there is a start… where do you think I should go with this new home project. I know I need several runs of CAT6 to every room for media distribution, UPB for outlets/lights, at home automation controller to make everything work… but what about specifics? I know I’m being vague, right now, but I don’t want to give too much away of what I’m thinking so that I can hopefully get some varying opinions and thoughts.