Micro Framework and Netduino Project Ideas

by newuser09876 30. October 2010 07:50

I'd been intending to write this post for ages, then one night I got asked the question on Twitter concerning what I was planning to do with my Netduino and, well, it took quite a few 140 character replies to say the basics. 

So, here for your amusement is my list of idea's for Netduino based products. I'll add to this list and  tweak the ideas as time goes on and as I get other ideas. I've set up an IImplement.Net lab (well it's wiki) so that I can flesh out the idea's further and start putting designs together and include links to my source code on Github when I write some.

Please steal as many of these projects as you want as I really don't have time to do many of these and I'd much rather buy a shield than design one and have a one off made costing a heap of money, and if you do steal one of my ideas and take the product to market, remember I'm available for consultancy work :-D

In the interest of keeping this post short (the original version was 7 pages), all the project are just a summary, more details can be found in the lab pages linked to from each project.  Some of the ideas here are a follow on from my I have a dream post over on my other blog.

Home Automation:

LED Lighting:

A replacement for the Kitchen or Ceiling halogen lamp set-up, controlled via the network, powered by POE over the network cable or an external power supply for higher power lamps.

Lab: http://lab.iimplement.net/Power-LED.ashx

Light Switch:

The traditional light switch works well but it's functionality is seriously limited and with increased usage of different lamps and more lighting places in room as well as home automation it's days are numbered for anything other than the basics.

Another issue affecting the traditional light switch is it's connection to the mains supply and the ability of the home owner to legally work on mains equipment to be able to change the light switch, or add additional light switches for other lighting. 

Typically most switches have a live and return wire, this is usable to get power where a normal lamp is installed for intelligent switches such as the currently available home automation light switches, but now that we are all changing to low power lamps the existing range of home automation light switches will struggle to be powered and switch the load correctly, and may try to dim lamps that it shouldn't.

Swap the mains switch cable for a cat5 cable and you've got a versatile switch, one that the home owner can easily swap out by unplugging the RJ45 connector and plugging it into the new switch.

The other issue with the existing light switch is that it doesn't do much. On and Off, that's it. You can get dimmers but they won't work with the new lights and if you need to control more than one light, the switches multiply as does the wiring, making it ugly.

So here's the idea. A light switch replacement, powered by POE over a cat 5 network cable that naturally also provides all the networking connectivity.  Lights are controlled using the previous high power LED lighting project (or a version of for simple switching), or other already available home automation devices.

The light switches should be able to work standalone but also communicate with a central server for more advanced functionality (i.e. controlling lights in other rooms, pre-defined lighting plans, etc.)

The switch has at it's centre a touch screen LCD screen.  This provides one touch on/off control of the light to replicate the simplicity of the existing light switch so that my nan can still work it, but  with the correct “key” combination can bring up more screens to allow for better control of lighting, or other home automation control.

Being powered by POE which provides a simple and central place for backup power supplies the light switch could also provide basic low level lighting to the room in the event of a power failure.

Lab: http://lab.iimplement.net/Light-Switch.ashx

Home Easy RF Interface:

The home easy range of products is really nice, but sadly lacking a PC based interface and macros.

Hook up a 433.92MHz receiver and transmitter, either USB or Ethernet connected (again, awesome to have it POE) and give it some macro's to execute when certain situations happen, as well as being able to control it from the PC.

Lab: http://lab.iimplement.net/Home-Easy-RF-Interface.ashx

Power Minder:

The original idea of for this is a small device sitting inside the home owners firewall / ADSL/ Cable router that provided a basic web page and service to the internet and with appropriate instructions sent a Wake-On-Lan signal to computers and also provided a way to communicate through installed software on the PC to start a shutdown/hibernate sequence at the appropriate time.

A use case for this would be if you were out of town and wanted to get access to your computer through something like GoToMyPC but your computer was powered down because you didn't want to leave it running eating electricity just in case you might need it.  A quick click on a button on the power minder devices web interface and that instructs the PC to switch on.

Lab: http://lab.iimplement.net/Power-Minder.ashx


Food Buddy:

4th Screen style implementation for the kitchen to help with managing grocery shopping, meal planning and food wastage, hooked up to the owners ThreeTomatoes account.

Lab: http://lab.iimplement.net/Food-Buddy.ashx

PC Fan controller:

Basic design to monitor system temperatures in the computer and provide better fan control as well as feedback to the desktop of heat and fan status'

Lab: http://lab.iimplement.net/PC-Fan-Controller.ashx

AirTunes (AirPlay) clone:

I'd been thinking about getting a Arduino hooked up to the hifi and in the kitchen so that I could stream music across the network to various audio devices.  It turns out Apple had the same idea some time ago and have the AirTunes/AirPlay package, sadly limited to being through iTunes which I really don't like, but most of my thoughts of how it should work have been implemented. 

However for fun, it still might be good to get something going, maybe even cheaper than the Apple hardware, hooked up to some cat5 cable and again getting power from the POE switch as well.

Lab: http://lab.iimplement.net/AirTunes-clone.ashx

See also: AirFoil

Growl indicator:

Drive the outputs from Growl, such as the snowman build indicator

Lab: http://lab.iimplement.net/Growl-indicator.ashx

Science Instruments:

My background is in chemistry and I've always loved instrumentation, I have a masters degree in Instrumental Analytical Chemistry, so I've got a few ideas that I'd like to see the Netduino put to good use for.  These might even make great school projects...

Temperature Logger:

A simple project.  Measure temperate, connected to a network connection, using POE to power the netduino, send the data back to the cloud.

Lab: http://lab.iimplement.net/Temperature-Logger.ashx

pH Meter:

Use the Netdunino to measure pH.

Lab: http://lab.iimplement.net/pH-Meter.ashx

Power Over Ethernet (POE).

You've probably noticed many of my ideas are intending to take advantage of POE, sadly the Netdunio and Netduino plus aren't going to support that at the first release (fingers crossed for an Netduino++). 

Lab: http://lab.iimplement.net/POE-Notes.ashx

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Project Ideas


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This blog is a .Net based wrambling, mainly focused around the .Net Micro Framework.

I am a C# software developer with a background in Chemistry and a hobby in Electronics.

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