Tech contest highlights diversity of automation ideas in the home
In an enthusiastic show of collaboration, two IoT-centric brands joined forces in April to host a global contest in search for the most creative home automation projects. Arduino, known around the world as one of the most user-friendly platforms for hardware automation, and Cayenne, the world’s first drag-and-drop IoT project builder.
The contest, seeking a smooth interplay between hardware and software, featured a simple rule: use Cayenne to control an Arduino-powered home automation project. Twenty winners received a range of prizes, including cash and hardware, and one grand prize winner was awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to Maker Faire Bay Area to exhibit the winning project in Cayenne’s booth. The entries were reviewed and judged by a panel of industry experts.
Grand Prize Winner: IoT Aquarium
All-Expenses-Paid trip to exhibit project at Cayenne’s Maker Faire booth
Cayenne user “vapor83” built a self-regulating aquarium featuring temperature, water flow, and energy consumption monitoring, as well as automated lighting and feeding. An OLED screen displayed from 3D printed housing showed status information for quick glance, through the Cayenne dashboard and mobile app also enabled detailed data visualization and remote control. Considering the amount of coding that would have been required to manage such an assortment of sensors, vapor noted that, “Cayenne allowed me to ‘put a face’ on the data and made it that much easier to manage.” This project was controlled by an Arduino Mega, along with an ESP8266-01S, and a Mega Protoboard.
First Runner Up: Automated Home Vegetable Garden
$200 USD and Arduino LoRa Node Shield
In this automated garden, user “ognqn.chikov” sought to have IoT to control every aspect of his vegetable garden–except hand picking the actual vegetables. He used an Cayenne with an Arduino Uno and Raspberry Pi, along with a host of varying sensors to control moisture and temperature, artificial lighting, and ventilation. In searching for an IoT platform, Chikov appreciates Cayenne’s ability to connect with and control diverse hardware, noting that “Cayenne gives the possibility to connect almost anything…LoRa, MQTT, or other.” For his hardware choices, Chikov immediately quipped, “Arduino boards are ideal for prototyping because they are simple to use and yet very powerful.”
Second Runner Up: Living Room Control System
$150 USD and Arduino LoRa Node Shield
Tired of searching for remotes and switches in his living room, Cayenne user Benjamin Notteghem used an Arduino UNO and Cayenne and employed infrared and radio frequency communication to control his TV, several lamps and LED light strips, and various other components of his entertainment system. Toggling a device on or off manually or via schedule, or even turning everything off is now a simple task with Benjamin’s control system. A web developer by trade and self-proclaimed novice in electronics, Benjamin explained that, “I didn’t know anything about electronics or wiring, but Arduino is user-friendly.” Of his choice to use Cayenne to simplify the programming and control his hardware, Benjamin advises IoT beginners, “don’t be afraid…three months ago, I didn’t even know how to turn on a simple LED!”
Cayenne’s team would like to thank Arduino for co-hosting this IoT automation competition, and also thanks the four judges who volunteered to review dozens of projects submitted by users from around the world: Andrew Miller, founder and CEO of Makerspaces.com, Chris Aviles, edtech speaker and Google Innovator, Ken Burns, founder and president of TinyCircuits.com, and Giovanni Gentile, IoT maker expert and founder of 0lab in Italy.