Custom Hardware: Your Help Needed!

Hi All

Like many of us, I love HA - being an avid maker and tinkerer means that HA is the perfect platform for new projects.

I also design products for fun and have been working on something which I personally think is pretty cool, and it would be great to get your feedback as it is specifically designed for the HA community.

This is a bedside table, kitchen worktop or living room shelf piece of furniture where technology meets the traditional craftsmanship of carpentry. Here are some mock up brochures I have produced -

Hopefully this is clear what I am trying to produce. It may be important to note that I have the tools and experience needed to actually produce these as well :-D!

Here is question time

  1. What do you think? Please be honest but kind :blush:
  2. Would YOU buy this?
  3. Would you support this on KickStarter or a similar platform if I were to launch it?
  4. How much would you be willing to pay for it?
  5. What would you improve? Add? Remove?
  6. How would you like to see this project? (Open-Source, Complete Closed Product, Kit Form)

Your feedback is really appreciated, and it helps me as a maker grow and hopefully, one day, add something cool to the community!


Edit: and if anyone wants more renders or info, please just ask! There would of course be software/firmware with this to get it connected nice and easily.

Edit: So, there were some questions like - what does it do and why would I need this so let me try to add the answers here :slight_smile:

It is primarily designed for a bedside table.

I designed this to build for my wife mainly - we, as tinkerers, also have other people in our households sometimes (wife, husband, partner, kids.etc.) who, like my wife, probably don’t love technology and gadgets as much as we do. My wife never has her phone on her but there are automations on the system that would really help her.

For example, the button on the left - the light, would switch on the bedroom lamps. The middle button would turn the heating up 1 degree for a certain period of time (this could even be defined using the turn knob), the last one is the one we use every night - Night Time Mode - it is an automation that is linked to a Widget on my phone and a button on my HA Dash. It switches off all the lights in the house and sets the alarm. We use this every night…well…I use it every night.

I always have my phone and normally at least 1 laptop with me at all times (toilet included), my wife does not. She sometimes leaves home without her phone. This doesn’t fit well with our automations as you can imagine.

What does it do?

Well, this is just a mock-up to show some examples, but you have an OLED and a TFT to display whatever you want. The hardware is the simple part, the hard part would be the customization software to go with it. but here are some ideas

  • Display a certain entity in the small Oled (CPU Temp, Load, Alarm Status, Temp.etc)
  • Wireless charging with a battery level indicator in the small Oled Display
  • Control basic components - heating, arm the alarm, lights, automations.etc.
  • Have a larger TFT, again which can be customized displaying more information, maybe in graph form or as graphical images
  • The LED at the bottom acts as a Bedside lamp
  • Sensors to automate the room, for example the PIR could be used to switch the displays on.
  • A one box for all that looks nice and isn’t another “lump of plastic crap” :smiley:

For a living room a lite display is nice; however for a bedroom I prefer e-paper that has no backlight.
If the display turns off its backlight on low light then that I could live with.
It is not something I would buy with the current sensors.
I have temperature, humidity, and lux sensor already.
I would get this if it had PM 2.5, CO2 and allowed me change the display.

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I haven’t used a pi4, only 3. however I would not buy anything SD card based.

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Thanks @GlennHA
I agree, the e-paper could be a really nice addition as opposed to OLed or TFT.
The sensors are more like a little bit extra, the original idea was to provide an easy way to switch all the lights off at night without using your phone. It then morphed into this :-).

Of course the idea would be to make everything customizable and ideally using Lovelace components.

Just to be clear, what I imagine is you create a dashboard for this device and each card is scrollable on this device. Something like that.

@nickrout, thanks for taking the time to reply. This I understand and that’s why I didn’t really focus on offering a bundled version, these are all very early stage ideas. How about the normal version as an addition to your HA system?

If had something like that i’d want it to be able to replace my squeezebox boom (which would involve amplifier and speakers.)

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I agree completely, in fact I have two pi’s right now with USB speakers running Kodi for my TTS. This was the cheapest way to get a smart? speaker. I also utilize them for bluetooth tracking.

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Definitely a speaker is a recurring theme. The only issue is space. The box is such a nice size for a bedside table or kitchen worktop it would be a shame to make it bigger. I am going to pull apart an old JAM speaker I have to see if I can’t fit it in somehow. Thanks for replies!

The form factor is nice.

Perhaps an added extra to get a nice pair of matching speakers that simply plug in, for those that want them. Or for that matter simply an output for your own speakers.

Given that your platform has a pi inside, are aiming this to actually run HA? Or just be a client?

I think this is great! Perhaps along with the wireless charger (or even another model), you could include a HA tag reader?

I would support it and would probably pay up to $75.

You didn’t pick a very good name for your topic here. (I saw it a few days ago and planend to answer later but it was not easy to finde (took me like a few minutes)).

I like your design. I can imaging having it here instead of my old alarm clock. And I always wanted a wireless charager for my phone but never got to buy one.

In general I think that they are not enough good options for good cases for DIY smarthome/sensor projects. They mostly look very DIY. But: I think everyone needs something else and it will be hard for you to make it fit for all the different usecases and find enough people interested.

For me I see two different variants/use cases I would find intereseting:

  • With a Rhassberry PI 4 to house my Rhasspy (Voice Assistent software) installation. I would need a way to integrate a microphone (some cutouts/openings for the sound to enter) and a way to attach a speaker (or a small integrated speaker?)
  • With a ESP32 inside it. I would just use it to house a few sensors and mainly use it as a way to charge my phone and use the buttons to control things.

I think for most of the use cases you propose you don’t need a PI so an ESP8266/ESP32 seems like an obvious choise. A Rhasspi costs much more and needs constant updates and work. The firmware could just be an ESPHome yaml that everyone can change to their needs. All the parts would need to be supported by ESPHome or a custom component needs to be written.

Regarding sensors in such an enclosure: They need good airflow.

I think your best bet would be to try to make the case as modular as possible. Meaning: Build it in a way that one can either put an Rhasspy or an ESP32 (ESP32 Mini board for example) inside of it and provide places where on can put the sensors.

I don’t know if there is a big enough “market” to start a Kickstarter but you can try. I would like to see it as Open Source and as a Kit. You can also think about selling it on Tindie. I am not sure how much I am willing to pay for it but I general I would buy/back it. It depends on what’s included and how the final product will look. But I fear it will be less then you would need to make it.