UlNo's Smart Home Solutions - Your eHome

This is the entrance page to all my ideas and solutions to help you get started in inspired to find affordable solutions to automate your own home. I will collect all the material around my home automation activities on this page.

Feel free to fast forward with this navigation:

Installations | Vision | Presentations | Resources


I already did my PhD about home automation. This was a long time ago (from 2002-2007), but I enjoyed working on it - especially the hands-on part. However, when finishing, I had the feeling, my colleagues and I were slightly ahead of our time. At that time, I called a smart home or an automated home:

eHome - a home with supportive electronics

Now, more than 10 years later, the smart home is back and popular again. Maybe this time it will stay. Hopefully, you can be a part of it.

Inspired by recent developments and in search for good hands-on application cases for the Internet of Things, I have once more set out to help you automate your home. Configuration is still an issue (as in my PhD), but price has come down significantly and connectivity of devices has - thanks to the ESP8266 - never been easier.


Already during my PhD, I built two show pieces to demonstrate smart home technology and its interplay to offer value-added services. I recently built another show piece for presenting at the NoVa Maker Faire 2017 for our local university Makerspace, the GMU Mix.

These are the three versions on another page:

  • eHomeDemonstrator v3: the new updated and relatively inexpensive version, built in two weeks at the Makerspace

  • eHomeDemonstrator v2: the legoEHomeDemonstrator light and portable, and defining for writing up and defending my PhD

  • eHomeDemonstrator v1: an impressive wooden monstrosity, still defining the breakthrough for our home automation research group and financed by the Graduiertenkolleg with support of Prof. Otto Spaniol


These are the services and their ingredients which are installed:

Smart Light Switch Robot

Button remote

  • Devel-board-mqtt adapter for three buttons (and three leds)

One color led controller

  • Devel-board-mqtt adapter with three leds (red,yellow,blue) ()and three buttons)

Smart lock

  • Solenoid version on eHomeDemonstrator v3

  • Motor-based version for home

  • NFC triggerable Android app to open and close

RGB Led and Led-Strip

With mqtt driver

  • Single rgb-led

  • RGB strip with neopixel driver

Multi media center

  • Based on kodi

  • Allows text to speech

Voice Control

  • Via home assistant conversation module

  • Through Amazon Echo Dot or Google Home and emulated hue


First, I want to walk through all different small installation possibilities and services which are present in the different installations and in my own home and show and teach you how to build and integrate these.

If time allows and the feedback is encouraging, I will start writing a new gateway software to eventually replace or augment my current favorites home assistant and openHAB.

Why a(nother) new software, you ask?

I want to offer a non rule-based totally imperative solutions for configuring your smart home. This would introduce predictability and finally (I tried it already during my PhD) allow me to prove that imperative control systems are simpler and easier to maintain than rule based systems.

I have several suggestions for a naming this new software, please share your opinion with me and help me decide:

Ideas for Names for UlNo’s New IoT and Home Automation System

The discussion on the name is temporarily settled (it might though re-open at any time). My students and I have decided to use the name UlnoIoT (speak "You'll know IoT").

With building up our IoT Community group IoT Empire, we rebranded UlnoIoT as IoT Empower.

The respective project is here: http://github.com/iotempire/iotempower

Other name suggestions for potential other IoT projects:

  • UNIT: UlNo Internet Things

  • CIT: Connect Internet Things (cit the library and citman the house manager)

  • KIT: Konnect Internet Things (better word recognition, sloppy spelling like lots of KDE programs)

  • DomU: with the house (from latin domus, house) or merge of domus and UlNo

  • doMoose: play on words on domus (latin house),

    voice control: “Moose, turn on the coffee machine!”

    or “Do Moose! Start the coffee!”

    Would come with free logo (House with antlers)

  • iotu: like iota, small, but with U for Ulno and could be pronounced like “You do” - similar as ulno becomes “You will know”

  • ciot

  • USI: Ur Secure IoT

  • SOA: Secure Open Automation

  • USA: Ulrich's Secure Automation (USA)

  • SHOW: Secure Home Open World (SHOW)


  • 2018-06-28: Affordable DIY Home Automation -- From light switch robots to privacy concerned voice assistants. at Campus Party 2018, Brasilia, Brazil

    In this talk, we will take a look at the re-emergence of home automation in light of affordable micro electronics. We will especially focus on the impact of the Raspberry Pi and the inexpensive Arduino-like wireless ESP8266 chip on Do-It-Yourself (DIY) home automation projects with plenty of examples. We will also extend our scope to the Internet of Things (IoT) in general and check on recent developments in IoT open source software frameworks supporting and facilitating home automation projects.

    Come and collect some unique ideas to implement at home and learn about inexpensive, private, and secure DIY home automation solutions.

  • 2017-03-27: IoT programming education and presentation of the eHomeDemonstrator v3 at Hampden-Sydney College

  • 2017-03-19: A Maker's Approach to Home Automation -- From DIY light switch robots to affordable synchronous multi-room audio. at the Nova Maker Faire 2017

    I will take a look at the re-emergence of home automation in light of the Maker movement and IoT. Come and collect some unique ideas to implement at home and learn about inexpensive DIY home solutions based on the Arduino-like wireless ESP8266.