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2.1 Introduction

This chapter gives a description of the various elements that have relations with home

automation such as Android and its operation system as well as its development tools, the

technology of Bluetooth and its module, and Arduino. Also, the chapter will give some examples

of projects affiliated with home automation systems.

2.2 Home automation system

Home automation refers to the use of a computer to control home functions and other

features of the home remotely and is also sometimes known as smart home. The home

automation system can be utilized in the controlling of various process in the home such as

turning lights on and off, programming appliances such fridge among others remotely. Currently

installing a home automation system is still expensive, but it is believed that there may be a

decrease with as the home media devices continue to become cheaper and therefore more people

will opt for the system. Home automation is very much important in many broad areas, and to a

greater extent, it can be used to improve the quality of life in people. One importance of home

automation system involves its application in security aspects. Security cameras and sensors can

be connected to home automation system and used to monitor activities around the house

remotely. Another use of home automation system is in the elderly who have been impaired with

physical mobility. Simple tasks may seem harder for people who are less mobile. The automation

system can link up the tasks performed on a simple control panel thereby easing work for the

elderly. For instance, opening and closing of curtains can be eased through using a motor that is

controlled remotely using a phone line or a computer [1].

Home automation system example 1 [2]

Home automation system 2 [3]

2.3 Arduino

Arduino is a physical processing device based on a microcontroller board and an

integrated development environment for the programming of the board. Arduino is an open

source hardware technology one of the best platforms out there that can be used to build home

automation system. This technology can be used to control such applications as lights and

sensors through reading them as inputs and turning them as outputs like activating a motor,

switching on lights or online publishing of something. It is possible to tell the board what needs

to be done through sending s eat of instructions to the microcontroller . to effectively achieve this

the programming language of Arduino which is based on wiring and the Arduino software (IDE)

which is based on processing must be used. The program forming Arduino can run on various

operating systems such as Windows, Macintosh, and Linux [4].

An example of Arduino board with Arduino logo [4]

2.3.1 Reasons for choosing Arduino

The program is simple and accessible; thus, it has been used in numerous projects.

Arduino is easy to use for novice and also flexible enough to cater for advanced users. So anyone
can use it including children, programmers among others by just following the step by step

instructions of the kit. Teachers and students sometimes use it to develop low-cost scientific

instruments so as to prove the principles of chemistry and physics or at times to get started with

the programming involved in robotics. There are several microcontrollers and microcontroller

platforms used for physical computing such as Netmedias BX-24, Parallax Basic Stamp,

Phidgets, and so forth. Arduino makes the process of working with microcontrollers much easier

and provides several advantages for all the individuals interested over other systems such as:

Cheap compared to other microcontrollers with some modules costing as low as $50.
Uses various platforms of making a cross-platform. For instance, it can work in various

operating systems, unlike other microcontrollers which only work with windows.
Simple to use with a clear programming environment making it suitable for any person

who would wish to become well acquainted with it.

The program is an open source whose language can be expanded through C++ libraries

so as to suit users preferences.

Easy to improve as it is an open source and extensible hardware and therefore,

experienced circuit designers can easily their own versions of the module and improve it

as deemed fit [4].

2.4 Bluetooth

2.4.1 Bluetooth Technology

Bluetooth refers to the foundation for transformative connectivity that uses wireless

feature. A Bluetooth device uses radio waves to connect to the computer or a phone. Most

devices contain like headsets or watches contain a tiny computer chip with a Bluetooth radio that

enhances connectivity. Bluetooth technology can be used in various places such as homes,

schools, cars, and so forth. Despite all these uses, one major interest for focusing on Bluetooth is
its application on home automation systems. There are advantages that come along with using

Bluetooth such as beings secure, strength, low consumption of energy, low cost, and ease of use


Image credit: Bluetooth

2.4.2 How Bluetooth functions

Like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth uses the FHSS technique which involves the splitting of the

frequency band of 2.4 GHzinto 79 channels referred to as hops, and each one of them has 1MHz.

Bluetooth has the ability to switch channels at 1,600 times a second thereby making it avoid

interferences with other signals of the radio [6].

2.4.3 Uses of Bluetooth

As already mentioned, Bluetooth can be used in many appliances ranging from cars to

cell phones all the way to headsets. With the Bluetooth innovation, it is possible to text, listen to

music and even control data between gadgets remotely.

Uses of Bluetooth

2.4.4 Importance of Bluetooth in creating home automation system

Bluetooth has turned out to be an ideal solution for home automation. It is easy to control

temperature and other electronic devices using Bluetooth although to a greater extent a computer

may be involved. It is possible to use a remote mobile with a host controller to communicate to

several home appliances using Bluetooth as a wireless device. This involves use of a wireless

network. Client module and the host controller communicate through enabled Bluetooth in a

smartphone [7].
Home automation using Bluetooth [7].

2.4.5 Bluetooth Module

Bluetooth module is important in connecting the Arduino-UNO board and an Android

device. The hc-05 module of Bluetooth is more compatible as it consists of a serial interface and

a Bluetooth adapter. The module is user-friendly as it does not require any setting after purchase

apart its AT mode which is used to switch between master and slave mode. In this project,

however, the slave mode was used [8].

Bluetooth module [8]

2.5 Android

2.5.1 Introduction to Android

Most of the contemporary phones, TVs, tablets, and set boxes use Android. Android has

been in business since 2008, and there is a likelihood that it will soon penetrate the motor vehicle

industry and other industries that use entertainment. Andy Rubin developed the Android system
for phones, and he was later made the director of mobile platforms when Google acquired the

Android Inc [9].

All Android phones come with an application known as play store (initially known as

Android market) and it is used to download Android applications. Play store contains numerous

Android applications which can be used to execute various functions as required by a user.

Android comprises various layers where the applications need to follow to get to the

hardware. There is a few accessible libraries and ARM architecture which forms the principle

equipment platform for Android.

Android design [10]

2.6 Examples of Home automation in the real world.

Loxone does most of the house automation systems as part of their project. For instance:

The Bluegrass Smart Home

This was the first Loxone Smart home opened to the public. All that is required is to book

an appointment and get to know the kind of comfort this house offers right away from security to

energy saving [11].

The Victorian Townhouse

This house is nestled in a quiet street some distance away from Richmond-upon-Thames.

The exterior may look traditional, but the inside is modernized, sleek and stylish smart home that

has all the controls affiliated with home automation system [11].

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vol. 204, no. 2728, pp. 36-39, 2009.

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Dec- 2016].

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Dec- 2016].

[6]"Bluetooth - How it works", CCM. [Online]. Available:

how-it-works. [Accessed: 11- Dec- 2016].

[7] B. Malik, "Bluetooth based home automation system using android phone", Microcontrollers

Lab, 2016. [Online]. Available:

automation-system-android/. [Accessed: 11- Dec- 2016].

[8]"Bluetooth Controlled Home Automation System Using 8051

Microcontroller",, 2016. [Online]. Available:

using-8051. [Accessed: 11- Dec- 2016].

[9] A. Goransson and D. Cuartielles Ruiz, Professional Android Open Accessory with Android

ADK and Arduino, 1st ed. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley, 2013.

[10] D. Han, "Android, at a glance | CUBRID Blog", [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 11- Dec-


[11]"Loxone Smart Home - Media, PA, US 19063", Houzz, 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 11- Dec- 2016].